Tea Sandwich


Tea Sandwich is a mini, bite-sized sandwich that makes for a light anytime snack. A party favorite, owing to its consumption convenience, it is made in different shapes that are interesting to the eye.Tea sandwich as the name suggests are meant to be eaten at tea time as bite sized snacks. Tea sandwiches are traditionally made from white and thinly sliced bread which are slightly buttered on the inside. The fillings in tea sandwiches are usually very light and consist of finely shredded lettuce, asparagus, chopped olives, watercress, thinly sliced cucumber or radishes. The filling is very light to compliment the serving time and style of the sandwich and may also contain light meats like salmon or curried chicken. Tea sandwiches are very dainty and should be small enough to be held with two fingers and eaten in two bites.


History of the Tea Sandwich

The origin of the mid-afternoon tea and the tea sandwich tradition is credited to Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857), Duchess of Bedford, England, who started the practice of having tea and bread sandwiches at four in the afternoon to stave off hunger pangs. She then invited friends and relatives over to her Belvoir Castle to enjoy the same tradition. And by the 1880s, afternoon tea along with tea sandwiches became the norm. Tea shops also came into vogue where the traditional accompaniment for different varieties of tea was tea sandwiches and tea cakes. Social hostesses of the time picked up the same style and asking friends over for tea and tea sandwiches quickly became very popular.


Tea sandwich recipes – Commonly Suggested Ingredients and Preparation Overview

Essentially, there are just two rules to making a good tea sandwich. The bread has to be as thin as possible with the crust removed. The actual fillings of the tea sandwich recipes vary considerably nowadays but the traditional filling is butter with thin slices of cucumber. Thin slices of cucumber are prepared by scraping off the skin and layered on to bread. The butter prevents the cucumber juices from soaking into the bread. Usually, the traditional tea sandwiches are served in triangles or fingers which have the crust removed. Modern tea sandwich recipes have fillings like cream cheese with watercress and nuts, or chicken salad and tuna salad, etc. Dark, light and flavored breads are also used to create distinctive tastes in tea sandwich recipes.  


Serving and Eating Tea sandwiches

The tradition of eating tea sandwiches was started by the Duchess of Bedford but afternoon tea with tea sandwiches and cakes is still a very British tradition. Most British afternoon teas have three courses where the guests are served tea sandwiches in the first course, hot baked items like crumpets and scones along with jam and cream as the second course followed by sweet tea cakes, and cookies as the third course. Ceylon, Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe or Darjeeling tea is usually provided with the three courses.  Traditionally, the sandwiches are cut down to threes or fours shapes as triangles, rectangles or squares to make them easier to eat. It is customary to allow six tea sandwiches per person for tea. 


Health Aspects

Tea sandwiches are filled with cucumber, bread and butter. The nutritional value is high and the only fat is from the cucumber. If cream cheese is added, it increases the calorie count of the sandwich. The ingredients of tea sandwich recipes are registered and  the calorie count of each calculated to find out the nutritional value.