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Inside the art of High Tea

Le Cordon Bleu article - inside the art of high tea

High Tea is popular dining experience created by patissiers, café owners and hospitality managers for their guests, requiring a high level of culinary flair, creativity and an eye for presentation. Le Cordon Bleu offers world-class patisserie programmes and short gourmet courses for those with a desire to learn the essential culinary techniques.

What is a high tea?

High tea originated in England, traditionally as a working-class meal served at the end of a hard day. Its name comes from the meal being served on a high table to working class men, although it evolved into a more high-brow, fashionable gathering for wealthier ladies to meet in the afternoon for a pot of tea paired with ornate snacks to see them through to dinner time.

A high tea consists of a selection of delicately sized snacks, served together to create a meal of savoury and sweet items. Served on a three-tier cake stand, all items are generally served together. Often, guests will share one serving (or stand) between 2 or 3 people.

High tea is as much about presentation - the gorgeous crockery and table setting, as the edible delights.

What makes a successful high tea?

The making of a high tea is about more than just the edible delicacies. The high tea experience begins with the setting and surrounds - a crisp white table cloth, the finest bone china and highly polished tableware set the scene.

When it comes to the menu, it's the combination of sweet and savoury snacks that distinguish a high tea from any other meal, such as:

Food items should be delicately crafted, perfectly presented and full of flavour to ensure the high tea experience is a memorable one.

The high tea is completed with a selection of fine teas. Black teas like Earl Grey and Darjeeling are traditionally served, however most venues today include a selection of herbal teas. The selection of teas must be carefully considered, similar to the task of a sommelier, with suitable pairings between food and beverages

If you’d like to learn the culinary skills and techniques to create a high tea, contact Le Cordon Bleu today to discuss our world-class patisserie programmes. For those who prefer a short culinary discovery, Le Cordon Bleu offers a range of short gourmet courses over 1 or 2-days, such as Classic French Morning Pastries or Mastering Macarons.

CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959