The epicurean art form of high tea is as close to a high society custom as the everyday person can achieve.
This deliciously indulgent pastime is as age-old in splendour as it is popularly patronised in Australia’s finest hotel and restaurant settings.
Adrenaline can tempt the taste buds in high tea experiences to savour at premium dining venues and to suit most budgets.
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The Sydney Harbour High Tea at Sea Cruise experience is an affordable and delectable event that takes place at one of Australia’s if not the world’s premium natural settings: Sydney Harbour central.
This relaxing and reviving package, available online at Adrenaline, includes an afternoon cruise aboard the prestigious MV Sydney 2000, a selection of sweet and savoury gourmet treats and glass of sparkling wine, with landmark harbour sights in view and a soundtrack of ambient music.
For delicious fare with a party flavour, you could also purchase the Family Lunch, Tapas and Drinks For 4 – Mornington Peninsula. This generous spread includes two estate-grown wines or cold drinks for two adults, farm-made cordial for the children, a chef’s selection of farm-grown olives, olive oil, tapenade and freshly baked ciabatta upon arrival. This tempting appetiser is followed by a selection of six tapas dishes or your choice from the menu to share between four people. The vineyard setting, complemented by its farm garden and ducks on the dam, complete this perfect lunchtime experience.
High tea is not what it used to be. It has developed in today’s society as a lighter and infinitely more appealing selection of delicate finger foods, bite-sized scones, cakes and other sweet treats and, of course finger, sandwiches filled with cucumber, artisan cheeses and fresh tomato or chicken and mayonnaise.
The taking of high tea at all the city’s best hotels invariably includes bottomless cups of loose-leaf tea and freshly ground and brewed coffee. There is also the added appeal of a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne, which makes the finest accompaniment to sweet-and-savoury gourmet foods.
High tea menus generally include items for food lovers with specific preferences and food intolerances. Gluten-free recipes and vegetarian high teas are gaining in popularity for health appeal and also taste-tempting items. You can have your cake and eat it too with the range of dairy-free, wheat-free or low-sugar cakes, biscuits and savoury offerings on the menu of most diet and wellbeing-focused high tea menus.
Smart casual is the typical dress code for most high tea settings, with an emphasis on ‘smart’ attire. You should dress for high tea as if you were attending a restaurant lunch, dinner or daytime soiree.
Dresses of modest length, comfortable but stylish footwear, even designer jeans and a smart jacket will have you looking the part for the art of indulging in the finest high teas.
The contemporary concept of high tea has acquired fresh relevance, with an assortment of the sweet and savoury finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and pastries normally associated with traditional afternoon tea fare.
Contrary to its upmarket appeal, high tea was historically served in the late afternoon as a substantial meal designed to fill the hungry stomachs of the tireless working class. This usually consisted of a cooked dish, such as steak and kidney pies or a fish-based main course, served with baked goods such as crumpets or fresh bread. In the winter months, heavier dishes, including cheesy casseroles and meals made with baked beans or other legume dishes were commonplace, accompanied by a fresh vegetable, such as potato or onion cakes.