General

High tea goes social

KIARA BONASERA

High tea is a traditional culinary pursuit that around Perth is being served with a modern twist.

The origins of high tea or as it is traditionally known, afternoon tea, can be traced back to the 1800s with Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and her desire to be served tea and a light snack between lunch and dinner.

The high tea we know today began at The Langham Hotel in London which started serving afternoon tea 140 years ago.

High tea traditionally includes the serving of loose-leaf tea along with savoury foods such a sandwiches, petit fours, scones with jam and cream and cakes all provided on tiered cake stands.

Michelle Milton, who edits the Perth-based High Tea Society, a website and online community with a following of more than 30,000 people, said she noticed high tea becoming popular in Perth three years ago.

“There were a lot more venues offering the services,” Ms Milton told Inkwire.

“There were so many more choices and so many more venues.”

The High Tea Society lists more than 20 venues across metropolitan Perth that offer high tea.

“It has moved away from just being the traditional five star hotels that would offer it and I started to see that more of your little boutique cafes, wine bars and National Trust buildings [were] running a special afternoon event,” she said.

“Not everyone can afford to be staying at those five star, glamorous hotels but to go there for high tea for a couple of hours is insight into that experience.

“It is a very, very big business opportunity”.

Ms Milton said social media had played a big role in the success of the High Tea Society website.

“[High tea] is one of those experiences that people want to share,” she said.

“I would say the success of the website has been proven by people sharing their photos on social media”.

Marketing lecturer at the privately-run Taylors College in Claremont, Jacinta Goerke, said social media was important in making marketing decisions.

“If you were to review social media statistics and the power of influence and persuasion you would see why outlets promoting high tea … at their venues are encouraging social media users to ‘talk about’ their experiences,” she said.

“People like sharing their experiences … and if something looks good then they will take photos with their phones and upload these photos to their favourite social media sites.”

Rochelle Adonis Cakes + Confections is known around Perth for its modern take on high tea with a menu that changes weekly and uses seasonal ingredients.

Rochelle Adonis said there was a lot of creative potential in what could be served at a high tea.

“[High tea] makes an occasion out of any get together, much more so than just having lunch or dinner,” Ms Adonis said.

“It connotes an occasion for which [guests] can come together, frock up and indulge in a most elegant manner.”

Photos: Kiara Bonasera

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