Afternoon tea – what could be more English? But did you know that tea came to England through the Portuguese?
When Catherine of Braganza – daughter of Portugal’s John IV – married England’s Charles II, she brought with her a large dowry from exotic ports of call, which included spices and teas. Tea at that time came exclusively from China – tea from India would not be known until the 1830s – and the British did not have trade with China. The Portuguese, however, did have a direct trade route to China by way of Macau, and tea had become popular among the Portuguese aristocracy.
Initially, tea brought to England was prohibitively expensive and only accessible to the very wealthy. But as we know, the habits of the elite are soon emulated, and the aristocracy began consuming tea, drinking it from small beautiful cups and pairing it with other exotic foods from Portugal, like marmalade made from Portugal’s exquisite oranges.
Feel like getting royal? We provide the teas, antique tea sets, and exquisite spread to celebrate your next baby shower, book club gathering or other special occasion. You’ll be the Cat’s Miao!