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Afternoon Tea is the new black

posted 1 Jun 2011, 11:52 by Mpelembe   [ updated 1 Jun 2011, 11:55 ]
An increasing number of people are taking up the British tradition of afternoon tea.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM -  In England, it's a time-honoured tradition.

The British have been taking afternoon tea since the eighteenth century.

Once the preserve of visitors and ladies who lunch, London hotel Claridge's says afternoon tea is becoming increasingly popular for those seeking business, and pleasure.

Thomas Kochs, Claridge's general manager, saying

"You see a great deal of the fashion industry, you see a lot of our female business clients using the afternoon tea period for meetings, you see a lot of celebrations, be it a birthday, an anniversary, and I guess for each party it's interesting to be part of the other."

Claridge's recently won the Tea Guild's award for best afternoon tea in London for the second time.

It serves a traditional combination of savoury sandwiches and sweet scones and cakes, with a choice of tea, or champagne.

Beverly Elliott is having afternoon tea to celebrate her 50th birthday.

Beverly Elliott, customer, saying

"It's nice to get dressed up and it's nice to come somewhere special for a special birthday."

Claridge's executive chef Martyn Nail says afternoon tea used to be for the elite - but not anymore.

Martyn Nail, Claridge's executive chef, saying

"I've noticed a change in the style of guest that comes to the hotel, I think it's more accessible now to everybody, which is a lovely thing, because I think people in the past would have looked and thought, gosh, I wouldn't go in there, so part of the battle is getting them in."

Jeanette Green, communications director for luxury sports carmaker Aston Martin, says she prefers to do hard business over a cup of tea.

Jeanette Green, Aston Martin communications director, saying

"It encourages you to relax and talk and that's what, from an Aston Martin perspective, we like to do rather than the formality of formal lunches or dinners."

A sign of the times that a classy kind of cuppa is now in vogue.

Gemma Haines, Reuters.