Filipino Afternoon Tea: A First in London

The traditional English afternoon tea took a Filipino turn when infused with Filipino flavors. (Stacy Garcia photo for the Philippine Embassy London

LONDON 06 March 2019 — “We wanted to introduce Filipino cuisine in a stylish and innovative way to those who have never tried it,” said Madame Linda F. Lagdameo, spouse of Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo, during the first Filipino afternoon tea on 26 February 2019 that was organized in London under her patronage.

The Filipino afternoon tea is one of the major events for diplomatic spouses under the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN London Committee (ALC).

Scone-desals with Cornish clotted cream and gritty ube were paired with a mild jasmine tea for a smooth start to the three-course Filipino afternoon tea.(Stacy Garcia photo for the Philippine Embassy London

Together with the Cultural Diplomacy Unit of the Philippine Embassy in London, Madame Lagdameo led a series of activities to promote Philippine design as well as culinary arts.

Apart from the afternoon tea, a talk called “T’nalak: Unravelling the Secrets of the Dreamweavers” and a capsule exhibit on the traditional and contemporary uses of the traditional textile of South Cotabato’s T’boli community took place at Kensington High Street on London Fashion Week.

The Filipino twist on a beloved English tradition was well-received by guests representing London-based diplomats, lifestyle media, and design museums and galleries.

Introduced in Britain in the early 1840s, afternoon tea is a heavy afternoon mini meal, similar to the merienda cena, which was originally intended as an appetizer in anticipation of the evening meal.  The traditional setup is usually composed of a combination of sweets and savories such as mini sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of bite-sized pastries and cakes.

Ube cheesecake was paired with Coco and Joe, a special tea infusion made from coconut and kape barako. (Stacy Garcia photo for the Philippine Embassy London

Romulo Café, a multi-awarded Filipino restaurant in London, facilitated the afternoon tea pairing which started with scone-desals (scone pandesals) smothered with Cornish clotted cream and gritty ube.

The result was a sumptuous version of the original scones served in the traditional English afternoon tea setting.  Instead of sandwiches, a selection of chicken, vegetable, and lamb empanadas were served and for the pastries and cakes, bite-sized sans rival, mango float, and ube cheesecake accounted for a sweet ending.  Each course of the afternoon tea was paired with a corresponding tea infusion.

A significant number of guests during the Filipino afternoon tea event claimed to have never tried Filipino cuisine before, and said that they were inspired to try other Filipino dishes, drinks and desserts in the future.

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