Must be the Brit in me, but I love detailed descriptions of sumptuous teas and picnics, although I have failed to win my Italian husband over to either concept.  So abject has my failure been that when I once mentioned a picnic, he innocently asked, ‘But why do you want to eat on the ground?’ to which I had no convincing response. 

We think of High Teas as being somehow quintessentially English, so I was pleased to find examples in the other half of my cultural roots, namely Hungarian, with some minor variations such as iced coffee or buffalo milk. 

When everyone had finished greeting each other they sat down to tea.  As was the custom in Transylvania this was an enormous meal of cold meats, hot scones and cakes brought out in relays by the two old housekeepers, butter, honey, fresh strawberries, tea, and iced coffee served with mountains of whipped cream. 

And here’s another one, a hundred pages later.

It was a feast, with a splendid Kuglhopf cake, biscuits and hot scones in covered silver dishes, and several kinds of cold meats.  Next to the teapot was a large jug of coffee, with some buffalo milk. 

More tea?  Or would you prefer coffee?

Source: Miklos Banffy, They Were Found Wanting, trans. Patrick Thursfield and Katalin Banffy-Jelen (London: Arcadia Books, 2011 (1937)), p. 258 and p. 387

Photo credits: Christiann Koepke at unsplash and congerdesign at pixabay


Quotation - Miklos Banffy - They Were Found Wanting


  1. Julia Klee

    Thank you Beatrice, brings back sweet memories of being introduced to British high tea by a very proper British couple at the school where I taught in Kenya. Have been trying to reproduce the experience ever since.

    • beatriceotto

      Delighted Julia, and wish we could share such a tea! Greetings from Italy and all best, Beatrice


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