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How To Find Authentic English Tea Biscuits For Your Tea Parties

December 14, 2012

A tea party is suitable for many celebrations. It’s an ideal format for parties, formal occasions and even casual gatherings. The tradition of afternoon tea developed in Great Britain in the 19th century and was mainly confined to the aristocrats and their leisurely lifestyles. In England today, both men and women of all classes enjoy tea parties and it is often used as an occasion for entertaining business clients. Before the custom evolved into an elegant affair with sandwiches, scones, cakes, pastries, fruit and a selection of jams and preserves, the standard menu items of any proper tea party were the English biscuits.

The tea biscuit is a staple of English tea drinking rituals. In Britain, the English tea biscuit has a strong cultural identity as the traditional accompaniment to a cup of tea. Unlike an American version of the biscuit, which is more like a scone with soft leavened bread, the English tea biscuit is a small hard, sweetened flour base, similar to a cookie. The typical English tea biscuit is made with real butter and contains coarse brown wheat flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. They are flaky, whole-wheat biscuits with a great crumbly taste. Many of the drinkers dip their biscuits in tea, allowing them to absorb liquid and soften just a bit before eating.

In the United States, English biscuits are widely available in imported food sections of grocery stores. Many stores have a section devoted to ethnic cuisine where foods from other countries can be found. English teas are also available in the beverage aisle of most grocery stores. Albertson’s is one of the larger supermarkets that carries English tea biscuits. Sometimes the biscuits are sold under a particular chain supermarket’s name. Stores like Walmart and Target also carry basic British foods, such as snack foods, crackers and cookies, as well as European candies. Walmart produces a brand of tea biscuits called Mary B’s. Cost Plus World Marketplace, known for its selection of international artifacts and food products, sells a variety of products suitable for tea parties, including English tea biscuits. Specialty food stores, more commonly located in major cities, are another great source for finding the perfect box of English tea biscuits.

A much larger selection of foods can be found online. If you plan well enough ahead, online retailers are the best way to go when you’re looking for specific British food items. Several great websites sell beverages, desserts, seasonings, preserves and many other everyday cooking ingredients. A few carry spices, preserves and snacks.

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