Thursday, November 3, 2011

Afternoon tea piping hot amid austerity

The Economist reports this week that, even in the face of Britain's own austerity measures, one thing hasn't seen a decline — and, in fact, has seen a bit of a boost: afternoon tea.

Despite the many reports that come in periodically about the decline of tea drinking in the evermore Americanized (i.e., coffee swilling) motherland — I recently linked to yet another one here — this business article reports that tea time at the Palm Court in London's famed Ritz is "thriving," and adds:

Since 2004, the Ritz has served “afternoon” tea from 11.30am to 7.30pm; it hosts nearly 150,000 people a year. Saturday slots at the Savoy are booked up three months in advance. The Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge changes its tea menu (cakes and other goodies are typically part of the package) every six months: recent offerings have included a “Valentino clutch cake” and a “Dolce & Gabbana éclair”. The economic doldrums have not hit demand; they may even have enhanced it.

Glad to hear it (even though I was not really bowled over by the Ritz experience on my London tea trip last year), though instead of bolstering the parlors of the wealthiest 1 percent I'd rather see greater growth of access to tea among the other 99.

Occupy the Tearoom, anyone?

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