By Pamela Brownstein
Did you know that you never pick up your saucer if you’re sitting down? And that you are supposed to pinch the handle of your tea cup with your pinky out, not up?
The Lunch Bunch learned these etiquette tips and other proper ways to enjoy afternoon tea from Manchester, England, native Collette Wright.
She has partnered with Hank Herring, the owner of the Green Herring Art & Gallery, located at 1001 Bay St., at the corner of Charles and Bay streets in the heart of downtown. Herring — a talented artist and an all-around charming person and fascinating storytelling — said it’s the perfect pairing because you can leisurely eat and drink while also admiring the art in the gallery.
Collette had brewed Yorkshire tea and decaf Irish Black tea. She instructed us to pour until the tea cup is 3/4 full. Sugar cubes, lemon wedges, honey and skim milk are all acceptable additions to your tea (except don’t mix milk and lemon). With the dainty spoon — always placed on the right side of the saucer — you silently stir by moving the spoon back and forth, not in a circle, being careful not to loudly clang against the sides of the cup. She reminded us, “This isn’t an IHOP.”
I added lemon and sugar to the Yorkshire Tea and found it light and refreshing. I even poured several cups; afternoon tea is all about relaxation so you can sip at your own pace and serve yourself.
The spread Collette had prepared was ideal for a light lunch. The variety of finger sandwiches included cheese and onion, plain cheese (made with Irish cheddar), tomato, plain cucumber, and cucumber with malt vinegar. Wedges of shortbread and English biscuits with chocolate will satisfy a
sweet tooth. We learned the proper way to eat scones, which were raisin or blueberry infused with cranberry juice. You cut the scone in half, then spread either jam, butter or clotted cream in the middle, then eat each half whole, not in pieces.
Although the portions were small, we felt full after sampling all the delicious fare. But we couldn’t pass up the dessert: Strawberries and cream over sponge cake.
Tea will be served at the gallery Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. The food is available by reservation only. Contact Collette for “An English Afternoon” at 843-812-6364, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at www.anenglishafternoon.com. She is also available for private parties.