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Tea Time in London: Worth Crossing the Pond For

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I don’t know about you, but at 4 PM, no matter what day it is, I’m checking the second hand as it inches toward that magical hour when I can head home. While I was traveling in London earlier this fall, though, everything stops at 4 PM. Kettles are filled, cakes and sandwiches are plated, and tea – delicious, fragrant and strong black tea – is doled into cups. The next hour is spent in restorative relaxation. Needless to say, I liked this idea, and was soon participating in this lovely tradition every day. Here are some delicious photos from my tea rituals in and around London – I hope they inspire you to start a tea ritual of your own. It’s a great way to bookend your day (plus, it takes up enough time just before 5 PM, so you can drain your second cup, wash up, grab your bag and slip out before anyone notices).

One of the many delicious pastries I consumed on my first afternoon in London; it was one of the many incredible baked goods on sale at Broadway Market, a mind-boggling farmer’s market located near the Embankment tube station.

A landscape shot of my favorite tea service, at the Roald Dahl Museum in the village of Great Missenden. From left to right: a cup of Darjeeling, Bruce Bogtrotter cake (inspired by the character from ‘Matilda’), a scone with clotted cream, butter and jam, and a strawberry cupcake. I am drooling at the memory.

Tea service at the Victoria & Albert Museum. (Photo’s a bit blurry because I was starving and couldn’t wait to eat.) From left to right: chocolate cake, a cup of Darjeeling, a scone with butter, jam and clotted cream. Don’t worry – I walked off all the calories. I hope.

I, without shame, ordered the Tea for Two, for one, at the Canteen Spitalfields. The restaurant is located in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London.

From left to right: Victorian sponge cake, scone, Bakewell tart, and clotted cream. The sponge cake was nice and crumbly, the scone pillowy and submissive to the even more pillowy cream, and the Bakewell tart… oh, the Bakewell tart: Toasted almonds, pound cake, and a base of raspberry jam. It’s even better than it sounds.

This needs no description but I’ll give you one anyway: silky shards of smoked salmon, cream cheese and lemon on rye, and creamy egg salad and bright crunchy arugula on white bread.

Strawberry-blackberry jam and butter on my scone. You’ll notice all the sandwiches are gone.




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