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Tea Arrives in England :pson :pson
The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654, and it became popular enough to replace ale as England's national drink. As in Holland, it was the nobility that gave tea its stamp of approval. Both King Charles ll and his wife, the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza were both tea drinkers. And, although tea prices were kept fairly high, tea mania swept through England just as it had the other countries.
As a matter of fact, prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, breakfast and dinner were the two meals that were commonly served. But it didn't take long before Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, adopted the European tea service format and invited friends to join her in an afternoon meal. The menu centred around small cakes, sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course, tea. This practice proved so popular that soon she was sending friends notes that invited them to her London home for Tea Time and a walk in the fields. Likewise, this idea was copied by other hostesses and serving tea became a common thread for almost all families in England. Tea was made in a heated silver pot and brought to the guests and was served in the finest porcelain from China. The food, which almost always included most desired crumpets, wafer thin crust less sandwiches and shrimp and fish pates, was also served on the fine china. The tradition became most pleasant!
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