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A quintessentially Chiswick guide to delights of afternoon tea
From cucumber sandwiches to cup cakes and sipping from fine china, what could be quintessentially English than afternoon tea?
I vividly recall my Grandmother insisting on using the 'good china' even when my siblings and I were far too young to appreciate such finery.
I also find old fashioned etiquette that surrounds the event enchanting and the formal titles that depict what is eaten and when.
I loved the story told by America film director Jason Winer about his visit to Chiswick born Dame Helen Mirren brewing her tea up in a microwave. Winer undertook painstaking research on afternoon tea etiquette before meeting the Oscar winning actress but his meticulous preparations proved to be in vain.
"It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. My agent was actually freaking out, he was like, 'Have you ever had tea with a British person? There are rules. There is all sorts of etiquette'," Winer told US website Collider.
"He forwarded me a link to a tea etiquette website, where I learned silly things like you're supposed to stir the tea back and forth with the spoon, and not in a circle."
When arriving at her home to discuss a film project, Winer discovered a reality of mismatched mugs, Lipton tea bags and water heated up from the microwave and his illusions of English grandeur were shattered.
Although Chiswick is known for its coffee shops, there are some real gems serving afternoon tea that in my opinion deserve a visit including Classic Image Gallery for its pretty patio and pleasant service, Patisserie Valerie for pure indulgence and Chiswick House Cafe for enjoying the summer sunshine.
If you have a favourite spot for afternoon tea, I'd love to hear about it. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish a more comprehensive guide.
April 27, 2011