Traditional Afternoon Tea.
Devote an indulgent hour every day to a Cunard tradition: our signature Afternoon Tea.
‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.’ Henry James, Portrait of a Lady
In today’s busy world, there isn’t always much opportunity to indulge in this most refined of customs - but on a Cunard voyage, no such constraints apply.
Here we take a look at how this quintessential British repast first began - and what you can expect when it’s time to enjoy the very best afternoon tea.
While tea drinking dates back thousands of years in China, it was only when Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II in 1662 - bringing the precious leaves with her as part of her dowry - that tea consumption among the wealthy classes in Britain was first established.
However, it was almost 200 years before the concept of afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, Duchess of Bedford, who in 1840 required a little sustenance to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner.
She requested that a tray of bread and butter, sweetmeats and a pot of tea be brought to her room in the late afternoon. Soon friends began to join her, and before long afternoon tea became a daily occasion in fashionable society.
Since then the time-honoured menu has evolved to include delicate finger sandwiches and savouries, warm scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of irresistible cakes and pastries - all served on fine china with starched linen.
Our ships provide a perfect environment to enjoy the ritual of afternoon tea while on holiday – the beautiful surroundings of the Queens Room, impeccable white-gloved service, and the melodic strains of a string trio or tinkling piano.
While the traditional elements are all present and correct, unique finishing touches and innovations ensure that Cunard’s Afternoon Tea stands out from the teatime crowd.
‘There’s our Cunard Macaron which is red and black, while a specially made branding iron finishes the top of each handmade scone with the ship’s logo,’ says Pastry Development Chef Alex Wibberley.
You could also have the opportunity to enjoy Cunard’s themed Afternoon Teas, such as the Japanese and Alaska Afternoon Teas inspired by these extraordinary destinations. During our Transatlantic Fashion Week event voyage, we offer a very special, fashion-inspired Afternoon Tea menu.
‘It’s this attention to detail that makes the occasion on board so memorable.’
Try your hand at baking some of Cunard's best-loved treats at home, with contributions from our executive chefs.
Recreate the quintessentially British afternoon tea experience at home with this delicious scone recipe from our Executive Chef, Nick Oldroyd.
Executive Chef Nick Oldroyd provides you with a behind the scenes look at crafting our signature Cunard scone.
Nick's top tip: "The Golden Rule is to not to over work the dough and give sufficient resting time after mixing and forming the scone dough and then again when you have rolled out and cut into the desired shape; about 5 minutes for each stage. Always use egg yolk for glazing as this gives a delightful golden brown crust and a great enriched flavour and end result."
Closely related to the traditional Bakewell tart, our muffins are the perfect sweet treat to lift the spirits: on a cruise, or at home.
Mark's top tip: "Accuracy is key! Make sure that you weigh your ingredients correctly – a batter that’s too wet will not bake correctly and become heavy."
Watch our Executive Chef Mark Oldroyd at work, creating the perfect batch of muffins using our exclusive recipe.