Recently two friends and I had the pleasure of attending a high tea event at Tracycakes Bakery and Cafe in Abbotsford B.C. Canada. The event was hosted by Jolienne Moore who, with Lynn Cris, wrote a book titled ‘Etiquette for the Career Woman, all the Wisdom, Wit and Advice you will ever need to attain Personal and Professional Excellence’. The event focused on the proper way to take high tea so I was very interested in polishing up my manners. Tracy, the owner of the cafe, addressed all the guests and introduced Jolienne Moore.
Ms. Moore showed us the proper way to greet someone, no wishy-washy handshake! How to hold a purse, how to remove a jacket and how to properly approach and sit in a chair. It was so refined and it made me realize how lacking in social graces most of us have become. Tea was served, I ordered a nice loose leaf Earl Grey all the while Jolienne explained how to properly hold a tea cup, the history behind high tea, the do’s and don’ts of taking tea and restaurant manners in general. Soon the food was brought to the table on fabulous tiered trays, Jolienne explained that we were to take only one item off the tray at a time starting with the savory treats. Then it was the scones and finally the desserts. With the scones, it is bad manners to slather the cream and jam onto the whole scone, the proper way is to put the cream and jam onto the plate, break off a piece of scone, add a touch of cream and jam then eat a small bit at a time. Tea is meant for conversation so eating in small bites allows one to easily finish what we have in our mouths and still be able to engage with our guests. Our food was amazing, I especially enjoyed the lavender cupcakes!
High tea was originally a meal tea with hearty servings of meat and bread, it was consumed after work at high tables. The elegance of high tea as we know it is correctly termed Afternoon tea or Low tea. It was taken in a parlour with low tables like the modern-day coffee table so the term low tea because one has to lean down to reach the items on the table. The event was taken in the afternoon as a light meal meant to satisfy hunger until dinner later in the evening.
After we finished our trays of treats Jolienne showed the guests the proper way to stand when having a picture taken, it was a really special afternoon spent in the good company of my friends Louise and Alicen.
The term Pinkie’s Up dates back to Roman times when the common people ate with all the fingers on their hands while the upper classes ate with only the first two fingers and thumbs, with the outer two fingers extended. It’s not proper to fully extend your pinkie when drinking tea but a little bit is OK!
Here is a link to the divine Tracycakes bakery and Cafe http://tracycakesonline.com/high-tea Jolienne Moore’s website is firstname.lastname@example.org
Personally I learned a lot, I look forward to taking high tea again and I won’t slather my entire scone with jam and cream!