True story of the High Tea

Dear Readers,
As you well know, when we speak about England or the English, one immediately thinks (by association) with Tea or High Tea. But anyone really knows why is England is so fun about Tea or how Tea itself arrived in England?
Well, Tea is believed to have its origins in China, during the Tang dynasty, while the first Westerns (Europeans) to have experience with Tea were the Portuguese (when they have arrived in Asia in the 16th century). Soon after that Portuguese started importing Tea to Europe, especially to the upper class of France and the Netherlands. The introduction of Tea in England is linked with Catarina de Bragança, a Portuguese princess that married King Charles II of England. Apparently Tea was the Princess’s favourite drink, and there is an episode that explains her ordeal of the first experiences in British soil. When she arrived in the Britain, while expecting her husband-to-be, she was offered by the locals Ale. Imagine an upper class, young princess experiencing warm Ale. She hated it and sent her maiden back to the Ship and fetch her favourite drink (Tea). Such episode (or legend) happened at . So, at least we have a nice tale to explain the origin’s of the high Tea. Apart from the legend, it is a known fact, that the Princess while Queen of England introduced the habitute of Tea Parties. Tea was associated, at the beginning, with women and only after some time Man also acquired such taste and habitude.
The Chinese word for Tea is Tchai, So Portuguese started calling it Chà which basically has exactly the same sound. While importing Chà or Tchai from Asia, Portuguese Merchants painted a huge T in the transportation containers so that it could be easily identified in the middle of all the goods. It was such fact, which led English to call it T (Tea) instead of Tchai or Chà.
You gourmet lovers or foodies know for a fact that paying a visit to a Tea Room is a wonderful experience, not only in terms of luxury/relaxed atmosphere but also for the elaborated service, presentation and passion that surrounds such wonderful places. I will never forget my visit to Vienna or Budapest Cafés where Princess Sissy used to enjoy her Tea with wonderful and delicious pastries/cakes, or my visit to Harrods, where one can choose any blend of fresh Tea while eating warm Scones clotted cream and jam.
Now-a-days Tea enjoys an overwhelming popularity, one reason can be the recent  re-discovery of one of the many virtues of Tea; Loose weight while drinking green Tea. It works as a charm in an increasing oversized and overweight western population, Tea has become a must drink.
But not only Green Tea is now-a-days popular, the explosion of alternative medicine is supporting Tea’s proliferation amongst common Men, that is Tea used for Therapeutic reasons.
Tea simply is wonderful, not only as a social habit but also as a medicine. Did you know that drinking Tea has direct effect in your organism? You see, Tea can help fighting Cancer, improves your metabolism, reinforces your immune system, reduces Stress, helps bad breath, even has effect in HIV patients. Beware that some of this benefits lack of scientific and reliable confirmation, some of the claimed attributes are closely linked with Tea Production (especially from China) with clear economical interests behind it. As a fact, drinking Tea in large scale can have some negative impacts in your health, Tea has Fluorites, Caffeine.
Never-the-Less, upon all described information Tea effects is more positive than bad (in a normal consumption average). It is a wonderful relaxed social experience that brings people together in wonderful environments.
Bon Apetit,
Chef Gourmet Du Art

Curiosities: 1) The most rare and expensive Tea is the White Tea, only can be collected manually at a certain period of the Plant’s life 2) Tea Plants are native to the Subtropical Regions that are affected by Monsoons 3) In Europe Tea is only cultivated in the Portuguese Azores Islands since 1750, in fact Gorreana and Porto Formoso Teas are amongst the most famous and expensive in the world.

Places where you can enjoy a wonderful Tea: Ruszwurm Café – Budapest/Hungary, Oberlaa Café – Vienna/Austria, Bea’s of Bloomsbury – London/England, The Tea Rooms – London/England; Harrods – London/England, Quinta do Lapidario – Setubal/Portugal, Avenida Palace – Lisbon/Portugal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info Ched Du Art,I am presently organizing a tour of Europe and will profit from your suggestions.
A reader from the States.