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afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

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Oklahoma City...
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afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

Hubby and I would like to have afternoon at a posh location like the Savoy. Aside from the the dress code and reservations, are there anything else that we need to keep in mind ? Is it considered bad manners to eat more than a plateful of those teeny tiny pastries ? I am not a big tea drinker, is it ok if we just order one afternoon tea and 1 cup of tea for me but share in the treats ? Thanks.

Kingston-upon-Hull...
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1. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

This might help:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=english+afternoon+tea+etiquette

Wales, United...
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2. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

You will get a selection of finger sandwiches - depending on where you take afternoon tea the sandwiches will be presented on a platter for you to chose from or you will be provided with a plate containing a selection. You will be asked if you want more.

Then you will have warm scones (generally, from my experience, two per person are provided initially, but again you will normally be asked if you want more. Usually by the time I get to the fancier cakes and pastries I can't eat many.

Tea comes in a pot, you can have refills of this too - if you don't drink tea there is usually a selection of other hot drinks to chose from (coffee, hot chocolate). Some places will offer to box up any cakes left over for you to eat at home (or in your hotel) at your leisure.

Hayti, Missouri
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3. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

I did afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason a few years ago and I just sort of watched what others did at other tables (without overtly gawking, of course).

I definitely ate more than a plateful of those teeny tiny pastries, but I was hungry! No one seemed to mind, and they offered to bring out more, so I guess that's okay.

Also, I believe you can order coffee, instead of tea, at most places, without a problem, as well. However, trust me when I say that I am also not a big tea drinker, but I still managed to drink a pot and a half of what it was I'd ordered because it was so good! We just don't know how to make tea here in the US, I suppose.

I'm assuming when you order, though, you'll still have to pay for two afternoon teas, but you'll probably only get the tea in one pot and two cups and saucers. That's how it seemed to work at F&M.

Southwest Norway
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4. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

I would recommend you to try tea when in Britain. Like the other poster said, I don't think many Americans have tried the real stuff. (No offence..)

And if you still don't like it, you they would provide coffee or hot chockolate without a problem.

Wales, United...
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5. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

If you both choose the same blend of tea you'll more than likely get one pot and two cups, but be bold! Each of you select a different tea and share them between you! And if you do go to a hotel like the Savoy, feel free to ask the waiter for information or recommendations about the various blends of tea on offer.

Essex
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6. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

Relax. The high-end places like the Savoy have earned their great reputation because of their great service, they expect you to enjoy yourself.

OF COURSE you should dress 'nice' and be polite and respectful, otherwise they are there to act on your whim, not you to act upon theirs! However, that is why they can ask a 'premium' price and expect a certain level of decorum from their guests.

If you don't like tea, ask for coffee. Eat what you want (but don't 'pig-out' in an uncouth way). Enjoy yourselves, but keep a bit muted with the conversation etc. It is fine to 'wow' if you are amazed by what you see and find, but don't overdo it.

Know what you want, ask for what you want, be assertive, decisive but not 'demanding' or abusive, and you will have a lovely memorable time having 'fun' with the environment and the staff - piece of cake!

London
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7. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

Do eat as much as possible (skip lunch of possible) - keep reordering and don't be shy

Don't go back to your hotel without a box of scones

It's expensive so make the most of it.

Essex
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8. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

Sorry, that is what I meant, you can, in fact, eat as much as you like - I was just trying to convey that you should not 'stuff' it all into your mouth as if there is no tomorrow!! I suspect you ere smart enough to know that, anyway though, eh? :-]

Edited: 30 June 2011, 00:16
Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

When we went to the Savoy, people that were booked in for afternoon tea were not given pots. instead, you choose your tea from the list and your cup is filled and refilled by the waiter.

The food is served in courses (sandwiches, scones, cakes, petit fours) but you can ask for top ups of the food.

There may not be any rules around this but personally, I would feel uncomfortable buying one afternoon tea and sharing this with a person that just bought a cup of tea.

And as others have said, your drink choices are not limited to tea. In fact, pay extra and indulge in a glass of bubbles.

Every hotel that offers afternoon tea will have the menu and pricces posted on their website. Afternoon tea is a popular topic here, so a searhc of the forums will offer up an list of other places you may wish to consider. Also check out the tea council website for additional information.

Do go if you have the time. It may be aimed at tourists but it's a lovely experience.

London, United...
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10. Re: afternoon tea - dos and don'ts

Please and thank - you. Two things that oft get missed when eating out. When in the US my children have often been complemented just because they have been taught the importance of these these two things. Just because you are in a high end establishment doesn't preclude the requirement for basic good manners. I'm sure many people also make a point of saying thanks when the plates are cleared away too.