With the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla kicking off on Saturday, May 6, those of us who adore England and its rich traditions have much to look forward to! If you’re planning to watch at home, and you want to host your own English Tea Party, here’s everything you need to know!
Watch Live or Later:
Whether you’re planning to set your alarm and watch it live (for those of us who don’t live in England), watch the recorded proceedings later in the day, or attend a watch party or live event, there is something for everyone. For a schedule of events for this 3-day affair, you can read “The Full Schedule of Events for Coronation Weekend” (Town & Country).
People from around the world will tune in for this incredible event. In England, this is a 3-day weekend with plenty of celebrations to enjoy, including an extra Bank Holiday on Monday! If you live in England, you probably have a plan in place to either watch live with friends or perhaps you’ve traveled to London to participate in the city-wide celebrations. If so, please take photos and send them to us here at Jane Austen’s World!
If you don’t live in England, there are two major options: Either get up early and watch it live or watch a recording later in the day. If you’re a true, die-hard fan, you’ll be up early, dressed to the nines, with your tea service ready and fresh scones in the oven. If you’re like me, you’ll get up early to watch some of it live, but also plan something later in the day so that your family members can participate as well!
Ways to Celebrate at Home:
To make the weekend special (and to lure my family into watching with me), I’m planning plenty of special food and drink! If you’d like to create your own British tea party at home, you can keep it simple with tea and cookies, cakes, or biscuits or you can create a fancier spread!
To read about the difference between afternoon tea, high tea, and cream tea, check this out: “Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea vs. Cream Tea: A Brief Tutorial” (The Spice & Tea Shoppe).
I’m planning on making cream tea, which is tea and scones with clotted cream and jam. The best cream tea I ever had was in Lyme Regis on a JASNA Pathfinders tour. It was rainy and cold that day, and my friend and I tucked into a tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery for a bite to eat. We ordered a cream tea and I will never forget how good it tasted!
If you’re curious about the English tradition of Cream Tea, you can read more HERE. Cream Tea is “most often associated with the West Country, i.e. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. It usually consists of scones, clotted cream or butter, strawberry jam, and of course, tea” (The Spice & Tea Shoppe).
To create your own cream tea at home, you’ll need tea, scones, clotted cream (or butter), and jam! I prefer making my own scones, but you can also find scones at many bakeries or a mix at the grocery store.
You can drink any type of tea you like, but if you want to truly enjoy a “cuppa” the way the British people drink it, you’ll want to try something traditional. In “How do British tea drinking habits compare with other Europeans?”, you can see some of the top favorites:
Many British people enjoy milk in their tea, but usually without any sweetener. I personally enjoy honey and milk in my tea. I drink a delightful herbal tea that is everyone’s favorite in my house. I buy Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos from the English Tea Store.
If you don’t like tea (otherwise known as “hot brown water,” according to Ted Lasso), you might try it with milk and honey. I’ve turned quite a few people into tea-lovers with that special combo!
True British scones are more like an American biscuit in shape and texture than the type of scones you find at Starbucks. I’ve never met a scone I didn’t like, but if you’d like to make a more traditional British scone, you won’t be disappointed.
This scone recipe receives high marks from BBCGoodFood.com: Classic scones with jam & clotted cream.
But how does one find clotted cream if one does not live in England? Many specialty food stores and gourmet supermarkets now carry clotted cream. You can usually find it in the dairy section, the deli area, or the artisan cheese section. Pictured here is Devon clotted cream, which I can usually find at Whole Foods:
But you can also make it at home! The trick is finding heavy whipping cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized (which is sadly much harder to find in the U.S. in the past few years). Here’s a recipe if you’d like to try it by the Curious Cuisiniere: Homemade Clotted Cream.
Jam or Cream-Which comes first?
You can choose whichever jam you like. I love strawberry jam on my scones! But here’s the real debate about jam and clotted cream: Which goes on the scone first? Do you put the cream on first and then the jam? Or is it the other way around?
For most Americans, I think we’d automatically say it’s cream first and then jam, since we usually butter our biscuits and toast first and then add jam second. But in England, there’s a big debate about which one goes first: “While those in Devon typically spread the clotted cream first followed by jam, the Cornish tradition is to spread jam first followed by cream” (The Independent).
The Sun reports that the Queen herself prefers jam first. Thus, if you want to eat your scones like the Queen, you know what to do. You can read all about it HERE.
Tea with Biscuits:
If you prefer biscuits with your tea, there are many to choose from. I’m personally obsessed with chocolate Digestives and chocolate Hob Nobs. British people love their biscuits and are quite opinionated about which are the best, particularly for dunking.
Apparently, the most “dunkable” biscuits are Jaffa Cakes, according to a recent study: “The best biscuits for dunking, according to science – so is YOUR favourite on the list?” (The Daily Mail)
But if you’re interested in knowing the most popular biscuits in England, The Sun has all the answers. If you’d like to try some of the top biscuits yourself, you can read more here: “CHOCCY WOCCY DOO DAH Britain’s top 20 favourite biscuits revealed – but do YOU agree?”
If you really want to take it to another level and pretend you’re under the tent at The Great British Baking Show, you can try Mary Berry’s famous Victoria Sandwich Cake for your Coronation dessert! This is next-level baking, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I like this recipe from The English Kitchen because it lists ingredients in British grams and American measurements: “Mary Berry’s Victoria Sandwich Cake.”
If you’re planning to spend the day or weekend watching Coronation events, it’s best to plan on sandwiches as well. Otherwise, tea with scones, biscuits, and/or cake might be a bit too sweet! You can make a tray or a tiered tower of your own favorite sandwiches or prepare several classic tea sandwiches.
According to BBCGoodFood.com, here are the “15 best afternoon tea sandwich ideas.” I personally love anything with cream cheese and cucumbers, but my family likes something with a bit more protein involved!
Make it a Celebration:
If you want to decorate your table, get out your fine china tea cups, dress up, or even invite people over, the sky’s the limit. You can decorate a sun hat with real or faux flowers, cut out paper crowns, or print your own invitations.
Whether you’re planning to make a weekend of it or if you’re just going to watch the highlights, this is an event to remember.
If you’re planning something special, which I’m sure many of you are, please comment below!
Grace and peace,