Caroline Hope first got excited about tea when she was a very young girl, growing up in Chelsea, Her mother would dress her up in a Harris tweed coat, white socks and little red shoes and take her out to tea. This - along with Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - would be her first introduction to the magical world of English tea.
It wasn't long before she started looking past tea etiquette and wanted to know more about the history behind the social custom. She was intensely curious about why 'taking tea' was considered to be so English, given that the tea plant is not indigenous to this country (although it is now grown in small quantities in Cornwall), and how afternoon tea has now become popular in London despite being almost completely irrelevant to everyday life by the 1970s.
In 1993, Caroline started running her own workshops on traditional baking and tea tastings. Since then, over 4,000 visitors (many visiting from Japan) have travelled to London to attend her workshops and learn more about English teatime. Her workshops and classes now cover everything from practical baking lessons for cakes, scones and the Parisian style macarons through to tea tastings and guided tea tours of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
So whether you want to find out why tea is regarded as being so English (interestingly it might even be linked to the sequence of events resulting from Charles 1 being beheaded in 1649) or how to bake perfect Parisian style macarons (Caroline has made well over 10,000 of these by now!) then you can find the perfect workshop to satisfy your curiosity. If your enquiry is more of an advisory nature please check out www.carolinehope.co.uk.