You’ve all heard of St. Patrick’s Day but what about St. George’s Day? Being from England I thought I’d share this special day with you.
St. George’s Day is England’s equivalent to Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day. It’s celebrated on April 23rd and according to legend, good old George slayed a dragon and rescued a princess which is as good a reason as any to celebrate right?
Nothing screams England like high tea, a tradition started in the mid-1700s served in the afternoon. Whilst originally a meal for the working man, I like the later vision of ladies with big dresses, towers of cake and huge pots of tea – think Buzz Lightyear as Mrs. Nesbitt. Traditionally, high tea includes a selection of small cakes, scones, and sandwiches- big dresses, and Buzz Lightyear optional.
Starting with sandwiches, some customary options would be cheese and cucumber, cream cheese and smoked salmon, and cheese and ham. However, you can get fancier with the BBC good food website here. Usually the sandwiches have the crust removed and are cut vertically or into triangles.
Next are the essential scones! Well-made scones are quite hard to come by stateside, so I recommend making them yourself. You can buy a premade mix off Amazon. You will also want to buy some Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam (jelly for you Americans) for your scones. All are also available at World Market. Cut the scone in half and spread on some of the jam. Then, add the cream on top of the jam. There is a passionate debate on whether the cream goes onto the scone first but the Queen herself has confirmed the jam in first position.
Alright, lastly, but certainly not least, are the cakes. You can “Great British Bake Off” your own or buy some sweet treats from your favorite local bakery for the final tier. Examples include sweet pastries, cupcakes, macaroons, or a slice of Victoria sponge cake.
Not forgetting the all-important part of high tea and British must-have: tea! Black tea like Earl Grey would be the go-to (boil the kettle and let settle, not in the microwave!) or a breakfast tea with a splash of milk. If that’s not your (tea) bag, then try a herbal tea. For the kids, it’s just kind of fun to drink out of traditional teacups and saucers, we found a number of sets in local antique or thrift stores for cheap.
Modern day high teas have become an art form. I’ve seen varieties that include sparklers, glitter cotton candy and chocolate fondues. If Mom fancies something stronger than tea, champagne accompanies it well or a tall glass of ice cold Pimm’s. Pimm’s is an alcoholic beverage served with cucumber, mint, and strawberries. Check out this English summertime favorite. Pimm’s is available at Total Wine and More.
So, celebrate St. George’s Day this April 23rd! Get creative, pull out your best frock, (or knight and dragon costume) some good china, and cheers to Merry ole England!