BACK TO ALL

Tea Time

The quintessential British custom

Tea time is one of England's most characteristic traditions. Tea first appeared at the English court in 1662, when King Charles II of England married Catalina de Braganza, a tea-loving Portuguese princess.

However, the concept of tea time was defined in the early 19th century when one day the Duchess of Bedford, Lady Anna Maria Stanhopela, was unwell before dinner and asked for tea with sandwiches and cakes. It suited her so well that she decided to include this change in her daily routine, inviting her friends every afternoon to enjoy this exquisite and delicate moment. This was the beginning of the English tradition we know today as afternoon tea.

A daily habit with a marked protocol, where dipping the pastries in the tea is unthinkable, while taking the saucer with the left hand and the cup with the right is essential to taste it in small gulps. For us, it is always a delight to enjoy the famous "five o'clock tea" in an iconic venue such as The Dorchester Hotel in London.

We share the beauty of traditions and the way to enjoy with our loved ones the everyday moments of life.

Group of friends in the countryside drinking tea.

Queen of England, Elizabeth II, having breakfast in bed.

Portrait of young woman drinking tea.

Two women enjoying tea time in the garden.

Mary and Violet Crawley drinking tea, scene from the English series Downtown Abbey.

Tea service at the Ritz hotel in London.

Tea Leaves, by William McGregor Paxton, 1909.

El arte de servir la mesa

The art of serving the table

the French-style, English-style, Russian-style table and American service

During the reign of Isabella the Catholic, men and women began to share the same table to eat. From this moment on, a great interest in etiquette and protocol was born, and "good manners" became very important.   It was Catherine de Medici in 16th century France who introduced the use of "cutlery" at the table, referring to the set of knife, fork and spoon. Until then, only the use of the knife was common.In 1642, his son Henry III drew up the first set of rules to be followed at table, such as the use of different types of plates and cutlery.   From then on, the art of setting the table evolved over the years, and different ways of serving the table emerged in different parts of the world.Today, four types of table service can be distinguished: French, English, Russian and American. French table service during an episode of the British series Downton Abbey     FRENCH-STYLE SERVICEAt the end of the 18th century, during the French Revolution, the nobility's cooks had to give up their jobs and decided to open their own restaurants, serving the table in a more sophisticated and elegant way, with a more personalised service. This is how French table service was born and, over the years, it became an emblem of French gastronomy.The process:The waiter stands to the left of the diner, presents the serving platter and cutlery, and the diner serves himself on his plate.The first to be served are the guests, starting with the women and ending with the hosts, who face each other in the centre of the table. This service is slower because the diners are part of the process. French table service during an episode of the British series Downton Abbey Arrangement of the tableTwo plates are placed: a plain plate as a base and a salad plate on top of it.The cutlery is arranged from the outside in, in the order of the meal, four centimetres apart, the forks to the left of the plate and the knives to the right of it. On the left side, first the fish fork and then the meat fork, and on the right side, following the same order, the soup spoon, fish knife and meat knife are placed. The dessert cutlery, fork and spoon, are placed on top of the plates, the fork with the tines facing to the right and the spoon facing the opposite side. The forks are placed with the tines facing downwards, the spoons with the tines facing upwards and the knives with the blades facing the plate.The napkin is placed to the left of the last fork. The bread plate is placed in front of the forks, with a butter knife on it. The glasses are placed in the order of the meal, from left to right, the water glass, the red wine glass, the white wine glass, and the champagne glass.           ENGLISH SERVICE English-style service emerged in the 15th century during the reign of Henry VII of England. The tables of the English nobility used to be very crowded, with up to nine glasses and a large number of dishes, cutlery, shovels and tongs. This new service freed up space on the table, as it was the servant who presented and served the dishes. Process The waiter stands to the left of the diner, holds the platter in his left hand and uses his right hand to serve. He does this with a spoon and fork, a shovel or tongs and serves the same amount to all the guests. The main course is served in the centre of the plate, the garnish is served on the sides and the sauces are placed to the left or behind the main course. The waiter removes the plates from the right side.The first to be served are the hosts or the guest of honour, placed at the head of the table. The waiter then serves to the left in a clockwise direction.   Trainee waiters during a class at the London Waiters' School in 1934 Table arrangementA flat plate is placed as a base and an appetizer plate is placed on top.As for the cutlery, it is placed from the outside to the inside, in the order of the meal. Three different types of cutlery are used, all four centimetres apart. For the starter course, spoon, fork and table knife; for the main course, fork and meat or fish knife; and for dessert, fork and dessert spoon. Forks are placed with the point upwards, spoons with the concave side downwards and knives with the blade facing the plate.The napkin is placed to the left of the last fork. The bread plate is placed in front of the forks, with a butter knife on it.The glasses are arranged diagonally. The glass of water is placed above the knife and slightly away from the guest, and the glass of red wine on the spoon, slightly closer to the guest than the glass of water. The white wine glass is placed to the right and a little lower than the red wine glass.         RUSSIAN-STYLE SERVICEThere are different versions of the origin of the Russian service.Some say that it was during the reign of Louis XIV, when he had a servant called Gueridon, who, because of his short stature, would hold the tray standing until he had finished serving the cakes.Other theories tell that at the beginning of the 19th century, Prince Alexander Kurakin ordered the dishes to be prepared in front of the table where he ate. Nowadays, the side table where the cook carves, cuts, slices, chops, dices, cuts up or flambées the food and finishes cooking the dishes so that they can be served freshly cooked is known as a gueridon. The gueridon is placed on one side of the table and does not move during preparation.ProcessAfter the dish has been prepared, the cook serves each dish one by one in the gueridon and the waiter takes it to each diner, starting with the most important guest and then in sequential order, with the host being the last to be served.At tables with a large number of diners, the cook serves the base dish in the gueridon and the accompaniments or salads are presented by the waiter and served by the diner himself. Russian table service (Gueridon) during the preparation of "canard au sang" at the restaurant La Tour D'Argent in Paris Table layoutA serving plate is placed on the table.The cutlery is arranged from the outside to the inside, in the order of the meal, forks to the left of the plate and knives to the right of the plate. First the appetizer fork, then the fish fork, then the meat fork; and on the right side soup spoon, fish knife and meat knife. The forks are placed with the tip facing downwards, the spoons with the concave side facing upwards and the knives with the blade facing the plate. Dessert cutlery is not placed on the table.The napkin is placed on top of the serving plate. The bread plate is placed in front of the forks, with a butter knife to the right of it.The glasses are arranged diagonally, as in the English style. The water glass is placed above the knife and slightly away from the guest, and the red wine glass is placed on the spoon, slightly closer to the guest than the water glass. The white wine glass is to the right and a little lower than the red wine glass. AMERICAN TABLE STYLE It is inspired by French table service, with a number of modifications introduced by the French chef Auguste Escoffier. Escoffier was a pioneer in incorporating the à la carte menu, which allowed dishes to be prepared quickly, while maintaining an equally elegant service, although faster and more practical. ProcessThis style combines different characteristics of the previous ones.The dishes are prepared and plated in the kitchen, and the waiter serves them directly to each diner from the right-hand side. English service is used for serving soup or cream dishes, whereby the waiter holds the dish with his left hand and serves the diners with his right hand. For salads or starters, French service is used, so that the waiter presents them and each diner serves himself.     Arrangement of the tableA flat plate is placed as a base and an appetizer plate is placed on top of it.As for the cutlery, only a fork, a knife and a spoon are initially placed for the starters. The cutlery required for the various subsequent courses is placed by the waiter before being brought to the table. The forks are placed with the fork tip facing upwards, the spoons with the fork tip facing downwards and the knives with the knife edge facing the plate.The napkin is placed on top of the appetizer plate. The bread plate is placed in front of the forks, with a butter knife to the right of it.The glasses are arranged diagonally, as in the English and Russian style. The water glass is placed above the knife and slightly away from the guest, and the red wine glass is placed on the spoon, slightly closer to the guest than the water glass. The white wine glass is placed to the right and a little lower than the red wine glass. We share the desire to discover the origin of our traditions.Elegance and quality in the art of setting the table.

La historia del "Cocktail"

The history of the "Cocktail"

THE BIRTH OF A NEW DRINK

The first cocktails date back to ancient Greece, with Hippocrates, the father of Medicine. He created a macerated mixture of wine, wormwood leaves and díctamo (it is said that this formula is also the origin of Vermouth). He used these leaves to combat bad breath problems caused by the lack of hygiene at the time as well as to alleviate the effects of having taken some kind of poison.   Over the centuries, the macerated wine was known as "Hippocratic". The mixing of wine with other ingredients evolved. Crushed herbs, bitter almonds, cinnamon, honey, etc. were added to season the wine.   One of the theories that explains the origin of cocktails, like the ones we know today, claims that they came from Frenchman Antoine Peychaud, who used to offer his friends drinks prepared in a recipient similar to the "coquetier" cups, which were used to mix different liquors during the 19th century in France, according to the story, this word derived into the English word "cocktail".   Others say it originated in New York.   Our favourite cocktails are the ones that Manolo creates, names and prepares himself in his Santa Cristina (Coruña) bar "El Pirata".   "Perla negra" and "Morir soñando" are our favourite ones.  

Comida entre panes: el sándwich

Food between breads: the sandwich

A QUESTION OF STRATEGY

Although the sandwich is one of the most popular foods in the United States, its origin can be traced back to England. It was created by an English duke with a fearful addiction to card playing and a fondness for roast beef. In the mid-18th century, in a town in England called Sandwich, lived the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. He was so addicted to cards that he could sit for hours without eating. It is said that one day, when he had been playing for almost 24 hours straight, he asked his chef for some meat between loaves of bread so that he could eat, while continuing to play, without staining his fingers.It is said that he was inspired by the Turks and Greeks he met on his excursions to the Eastern Mediterranean. These already wrapped their meals in pita bread, allowing them to eat with their hands without getting dirty. It was Montagu, however, who succeeded in making this simple formula popular in England. Several decades later, the first sandwich recipe arrived in North America, making the dish internationally famous.We share the effort to improve everyday moments and the experience around the table. The way to solve needs in a different way.