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Tea time at Alberton again

December 23


Tea time at Alberton again

A favourite time-honoured English institution will take place once again at Alberton – the Mt Albert mansion cared for by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT).

The historic building will serve as the backdrop to a series of Classic Luncheons and Devonshire Tea Parties that will run from late February through to early March.

“Our series of Classic Luncheons and Devonshire Tea Parties have been very popular since they began a few years ago, and are now a regular fixture in people’s social calendars,” says the Manager of Alberton, Rendell Mcintosh.

“We’re offering the full tea and luncheon experience, with delicious freshly made food served on English bone china in one of the most beautiful heritage settings in Auckland – so people should get in and book early.”

The idea of Afternoon Tea originated among the upper classes in England in the 1840s, and was popularised by Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford who also happened to be a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria.

“Over time, dinner had come to be served later in the day – usually between about 7pm and 8.30pm,” says Rendell.

“Luncheon had evolved as a midday meal, though this was fairly light. Another meal was needed between lunch time and the rather late dinner hour – and so afternoon tea was born.”

The Duchess found that a light meal of tea – usually Darjeeling – together with sandwiches and cakes, was the perfect snack to bridge the gap between main meals.

“She soon began inviting friends to join her, and so afternoon tea quickly became a social occasion as well as a meal,” says Rendell.

Afternoon tea was an idea whose time had come, and was widely adopted by the upper and middle classes of Britain and beyond – including New Zealand. It continues in various forms to this day.

“The Kerr Taylor family – who built Alberton – regularly hosted afternoon teas and other similar occasions for Auckland’s colonial elite, so we’re really just continuing that fine tradition of hospitality,” says Rendell.

Alberton’s Classic Luncheons – including freshly made sandwiches, savouries and dainty home-made cakes and biscuits – will take place between 12.30 and 2pm on February 20-23; and February 27-March 2. The Devonshire Tea Parties – featuring freshly made sandwiches and scones with jam and cream – will take place on the same days between 2.30pm and 4pm.

Bookings are essential. For more information – or to make a reservation – contact Alberton on Ph (09) 846 7367 or email alberton@historic.org.nz.

For more information on NZHPT properties in Northland visit www.historicplaces.org.nz


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