96 » OpenRoad Driver EXTRAS To a Tea Words by Melissa Mak Photos by Andrew Ling “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the ceremony known as afternoon tea,” once said author Henry James. » Unlike modern-day afternoon tea service, the 7th Duchess of Bedford’s idea of afternoon tea consisted only of small bites and treats. Today, we are being offered tiers after tiers of savoury hors d’oeuvres and handcrafted sweets that amount to a full-deal meal. Since the 1800s, the concept of afternoon tea has evolved significantly, but very much remains a luxury for those who take the time to appreciate it. Here are some of our favourite places to spend the afternoon and self-indulge in the luxuries of afternoon tea. Photo courtesy of The Urban Tea Merchant The tradition of afternoon tea started over three centuries ago in the 1800s in England, when the 7th Duchess of Bedford needed a pick-me-up in between meals. Dinner wasn’t normally served until 8:00 pm, so there was a long gap between lunch and the next meal. She wanted something small that would satisfy her hunger, but not too substantial that it would affect her appetite for dinner. This became the ritual we now know as afternoon tea.