Afternoon tea, a quintessentially English custom, traces its origins to the innovative idea of the 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna, a close friend of Queen Victoria.
Seeking a delightful treat to tide her over before dinner, she unknowingly gave birth to the cherished afternoon tea ritual. In this celebratory tradition, Champagne emerged as a staple, with its roots deeply intertwined with the opulent royal courts of Europe during the 18th century, signifying luxury and prestige.
Rosé Champagne: A Perfect Pairing for Scones and Delight
Indulging in the delightful afternoon tea essential of fresh scones accompanied by strawberry jam and clotted cream finds its perfect companion in Rosé Champagne.
The versatility of this Champagne style pairs seamlessly with the sweetness of the strawberry jam, complementing it with fresh and complex wild berry fruit notes. Beyond the exquisite taste, the visual appeal of this pairing adds an extra dimension of beauty to the occasion.
Demi-Sec Champagne: Embracing Sweetness with Cakes and Tarts
When it comes to delectable afternoon tea cakes and tarts, opting for a sweeter Champagne like a Sec or Demi-Sec proves to be a winning choice.
Ranging from 17 to 50 grams of sugar per litre, these Champagnes strike a harmonious balance with desserts, particularly those featuring the lusciousness of pistachio. The pairing creates an experience of delightful sweetness that lingers on the palate.
Blanc de Blancs Champagne: Elevating Vegetarian Picnic Sandwiches
For those relishing vegetarian picnic sandwiches during afternoon tea, the ideal Champagne companion is Blanc de Blancs.
Crafted exclusively from white grapes like Chardonnay, this Champagne style boasts brightness, refreshment, and liveliness, emphasizing finesse. Notes of white flowers, citrus, and exotic fruits dance on the taste buds, enhancing the enjoyment of the humble sandwich. A delightful suggestion would be to pair it with an egg mayonnaise and cress filling, adding richness and creaminess to the experience.
Blanc de Noirs Champagne: A Robust Pairing for Strong Flavours
When confronting the robust flavours of coronation chicken or salami sandwiches during afternoon tea, Blanc de Noirs Champagne emerges as the perfect match.
Crafted solely from black grape varieties like Pinot Noir or Meunier, this Champagne style exudes strength, density, and structure. With a sensation of heat on the palate, these Champagnes impress with their “vinosity.” The pairing is sure to leave a powerful and explosive impression.
Vintage Champagne: A Touch of Prestige and Complexity for your Afternoon Tea
For afternoon tea celebrations that warrant an extra touch of prestige and depth of flavour, the choice is Vintage Champagne.
Distinct from other styles, Vintage Champagne hails from a specific harvest and matures in the cellar for at least 36 months, often longer. This ageing process infuses the Champagne with pronounced aromas, ranging from undergrowth and gingerbread to dried fruit, coffee, cocoa, and raisins. The result is a uniquely memorable experience that elevates any special afternoon occasion.
Elevate your afternoon tea experience with the perfect Champagne pairings, adding a touch of elegance and celebration to this cherished English custom. Whether you delight in the freshness of Rosé Champagne with scones, embrace the sweetness of Demi-Sec Champagne with cakes, savour the finesse of Blanc de Blancs with vegetarian sandwiches, indulge in the robustness of Blanc de Noirs with flavorful fillings, or celebrate with the complexity of Vintage Champagne, each pairing promises an unforgettable journey of taste and refinement.
As you explore the rich heritage and traditions of afternoon tea, let these Champagne selections enhance your joyous gatherings and create cherished memories for years to come.