Ever since I was a little girl I absolutely loved ‘the finger sandwich’ (or Tea Sandwich as it’s sometimes called), so dainty and so delightful just picking them up makes you feel like lifting your pinky as if your hand was gloved in lace and you were appearing in a musical society production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.
So, what is the finger sandwich all about though? Why does it appear at High Tea or Afternoon Tea and when did it all begin?
Well if you wind back the clock to 1840 a no doubt charming young lass named Anna Maria Stanhope who happened to be the seventh Duchess of Bedford thought it would be a jolly good idea if she could have a munch on something between luncheon and dinner. So, it was decided that these petite sandwiches with thin fillings and crusts perfectly cut off would be the answer to her tummy grumbles.
After awhile she thought the sandwiches that perked up her afternoons were such fun she would invite friends around to nibble and chat, so it really became a little social gathering around 4pm of an afternoon as it still is today.
Supposedly the tea sandwich should be so delightfully in proportion so as to be eaten in about 2 bites, any filling can be chosen but the traditional of course is wafer thin cucumber and butter (proper stuff no fat-free or marg stuff).
Having had the pleasure of enjoying High Tea/Afternoon Tea all over the globe from Hong Kong to Dubai and London to Sydney I must say I’ve had my fair share of finger sandwiches and although they sound simple to make it seems to take great craftsmanship to really perfect a lovely finger. At a quick thought my favourites were probably at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and the Langham in The Rocks in Sydney.