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The Tea Sandwich

As you are enjoying your afternoon cup of tea, you may be contentedly munching on a tea sandwich. This tradition began, as you might imagine, in Britain. Credited to an inventive British Duchess who found a genteel way to enjoy an afternoon snack, the tea sandwich comes in a variety of trappings, but there are several things that are universal between all tea sandwiches.

Cucumber tea sandwiches
Cucumber tea sandwiches

A tea sandwich can be consumed in two bites. It may be long and narrow, sometimes called a finger sandwich. It may be in a triangular shape, biscuit shape, or cut with a cookie cutter into a decorative shape. Since it is only aesthetic, the shape is not important, as long as the diminutive sandwich can be consumed in two bites.

A tea sandwich is usually served on thinly sliced white bread. The bread is buttered, the filling is added, and then the bread crust is cut away cleanly revealing the delicious filling within. Modern permutations of the tea sandwich can also include other varieties of bread including choices like rye, wheat, or sourdough.

Typically light and on the more delicate side, the sandwich is filled with cream cheese, or a mayonnaise mixture topped with fresh vegetables. For example, the cucumber or watercress is probably among the most popular of the tea sandwiches. A tea sandwich can also be filled with a heartier filling such as jam or egg salad.

There are no flavor rules when it comes to assembling a tea sandwich. Simply look for flavor pairings that you enjoy. And remember that you are pairing your bread to your filling and the whole sandwich pairs with your tea. So do consider the flavor offerings of your sandwiches as they relate to the tea that you are serving, and you will be certain to create an afternoon tea for all to enjoy.

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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