Cream Teas & Coffee


Afternoon tea?  Morning brunch?  A dance in the rose garden?

Selected Dances

(click for more food folklore and background information)

A Piece of Cake

Cheesecake Day

Fond of cheesecake? Do you prefer New York Style, Pennsylvania Dutch Style, Country Style (Buttermilk), or the mid-century modern flavours of the Unbaked Cheesecake? Some people, though they may like both cheese and cake, are repulsed by the dessert solely because its name inspires a revulsion from strong mental associations with the two separate foods in combination. These individuals are clearly the exception as cheesecake has been loved for centuries - so much so that the term "cheesecake," in connection with a beautiful woman has origins back to 1660! Verse published in 1662, after the death of Oliver Cromwell (whom it is supposed, did not care for such desserts), in Poems and Songs Relating to the Late Times, was used to regret the occasion of Cromwell driving certain ladies (of questionable repute) out of the town: "But ah! It goes against our hearts, To lose our cheesecake and our tarts." 🍰

Golden Eccles Cakes

Cake Day

There are few cakes that carry a warning with them, but Eccles Cakes are one of them! Eccles Cakes recently received notoriety for several incidents involving fires resulting from heating them in the microwave. The prevailing theory is that the Demerara sugar used for decoration heats and ignites! Be careful out there!

Marmalade Sandwich

Marmalade Awards

A staple of a British breakfast, English and Scottish migrants took marmalade with them to Canada with them, where it remains popular to this day. Americans, on the other hand, are less enthused by it perhaps because sweet oranges, rather than the more bitter Sevilles, are readily available.

Petticoat Tails

Shortbread Day

Shortbread was an expensive luxury in times past and for ordinary people, usually reserved for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas and New Year celebrations. In Shetland it was traditional to break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride on the threshold of her new home! Although shortbread fingers and petticoat tails are the most common baking shapes, Walker's Shortbread, one of the most easily recognizable brands, sometimes creates special edition shapes, such as camels!

Swiss Chocolate

World Chocolate Day

Switzerland is particularly renowned for its chocolate, especially its milk chocolate. In 1875, a Swiss confectioner, Daniel Peter, developed the first solid milk chocolate using condensed milk, which had been invented by Henri NestlΓ©, who was Peter's neighbour in Vevey. A few years after in 1879, Rodolphe Lindt perfected the conching machine (a special chocolate polisher, mixer and agitator which improves the quality, texture, and flavor) after a happy accident which left one of his mixing machine on overnight, yielding a flavorful smooth mixture which ultimately allowed chocolate to be utilized in confectionery, rather than just as a gritty hot beverage flavouring. Prior to that, the gritty solid chocolate was not popular!

The Foula Reel

Bird Day

The island of Foula, part of the Shetland archipelago of islands, is one of the United Kingdom’s most remote permanently inhabited islands and named from the Old Norse Fugla-ey, meaning "Bird island." Seabirds and moorland birds, including 'Bonxies' – the Shetland dialect name for the Great Skua – as well as Puffins, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Arctic terns, red-throated divers, Fulmars, amongst others, inhabit the sandstone cliffs and open moorland. Foula remained on the Julian calendar when the rest of the Kingdom of Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, keeping 1800 as a leap year, but not observing leap year in 1900. As a result, Foula is now one day ahead of the Julian calendar and 12 days behind the Gregorian, observing Christmas Day on the 6th of January and New Year's Day on the 13th! The traditional fishing grounds for fishermen from the isle of Papa Stour (lying roughly a mile off the west coast of Shetland) lay way off into the Atlantic. The fishermen would row west to the point where the cliffs of Foula would disappear into the horizon . This was "Rowing Foula down." πŸ¦… πŸ¦† 🐦

The Muffin Lady

Muffin Day

Do you like muffins with your tea? In the United States, muffins are similar to cupcakes and are available in sweet and savoury varieties. While in the UK, a muffin (referred to as an English muffin elsewhere) is a type of yeast-leavened bread and cooked in a griddle and flipped, resulting in the flattened shape. Other muffin-like variations such as crumpets (griddle cooked on one side from a simple batter with no yeast) are equally delicious and join the group of tea-time treats whose names also figure prominently as terms of endearment or even cheeky admiration!

Cream Tea

Cream Tea Day

Afternoon tea, a light meal composed of three course offerings of tea sandwiches and savories, followed by scones with clotted cream and jam, and ending with sweet pastries, is the heartier version of a Cream Tea, with just the tea and scones course. Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her. The afternoon pause for tea became a fashionable social event and by the 1880’s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea and delicious gossip which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock, often on elegant low-backed chairs (leading to its other name, low tea). It's always time for tea!

Helen's Shortbread

Shortbread Day

Shortbread originated in Scotland, with the first printed recipe appearing in 1736, from a Scotswoman named Mrs. McLintock. Shortbread was so popular, early Scottish bakers fought to prevent shortbread from being classified as a biscuit to avoid paying a government biscuit tax! Do you have a family or favourite shortbread recipe with just the right proportions of butter, sugar, and flour (and maybe some salt to enhance the flavour)? Or maybe you fancy the occasional addition of chai, rosemary, lemon, or chocolate - flavours compatible with a sweet biscuit. Some recent shortbread trends may not be for everyone. One trendy addition is adding the flavour of Katsuobushi, a smoked, aged and dried skipjack tuna, which gives an unusual umami character! Hmmm ... you have to draw a line in the flour somewhere. Although we have not found the namesake recipe referenced by the dance, included are traditional regional variations such as: Pitcaithly Bannock (almonds, caraway seeds, crystallized orange) and Yetholm Bannock (chopped ginger)! 🧈

Mint Truffles

Chocolate Mint Day

Truffles originated in France in 1895 or 1920, depending on various sources, as a ball of chocolate ganache dusted with cocoa, and was given the name truffle for their resemblance to the dark and rumpled prized mushrooms of the same name. Besides the classic French truffle, there are now regional variations such as Swiss truffles, European truffles, American Truffles, California Truffles, and even Cannabis truffles! But mint is always nice!

Shortbread Fingers

Shortbread Day

Regardless of shape, some traditional Scottish variations on shortbread are Pitcaithly Bannock (made with almonds, caraway seeds, crystallized orange) and Yetholm Bannock (which includes chopped ginger)!

Tea Time

Cream Tea Day

Fancy a cuppa? How times have changed! While a tea break is now considered an essential pick-me-up for morning or afternoon refreshment or a genteel ceremony with delicate sandwiches and pastries as accompaniments, in early 19th century Britain and Ireland, poor women who drank tea were considered as irresponsible and morally debased as whisky or gin drinkers! Women who drank tea, it was said, wasted their time and money, drawing them away from their duty to care for their husbands and home. Good heavens!
Pamphlets were even distributed to working and middle-class households lambasting tea drinking as a luxury poor women could not afford with dire warnings about possible addiction, illicit longings and even revolutionary sympathies! Throw caution to the wind, ladies! It's tea time! 🍡

The Lightnin' Bug

Firefly Day

Fireflies or "Lightning Bugs" (which are actually beetles) produce their fascinating flashes of light through a cold chemical reaction known as bioluminescence in order to communicate with each other and to attract mates. In some species, even the larvae and eggs of these beetles emit light! Though each species has its own unique flashing pattern, there are two places in the world have synchronous flashing where the fireflies flash in unison - southeast Asia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Most fireflies flash a light which ranges from a red color to yellow or a green, but for two to four weeks a year, "Blue Ghost" fireflies make an appearance around Asheville, North Carolina! Their bluish light is actually a shade of green but is perceived as blue as part of the dark adaptation of eyes to shift toward the blue end of the color spectrum at low illumination!
Flash! Flash! πŸžπŸ’™πŸ‘€

The Nut Loaf

Nutting Day

Hickory nuts, Chestnuts, Walnuts, Nutting parties! A classic autumn harvest activity, Nutting parties were a much anticipated outdoor event for young people in Victorian times for socializing and fall picnics. Baskets and blankets would be collected and a search mounted for the groves with the best nut trees. Shaken branches would yield a shower of nuts which could be eaten on the spot or brought back for an indoor party. Nut gatherers made sure to save some nuts for the month of October, when nuts tossed in the fire could be used for fortune telling or romantic divination, especially near or on Hallowe'en's Nutcrack Night! 🌰

Doughnuts Reel

Doughnut Day

Do you dunk your doughnuts? Doughnuts have a disputed origin with several countries as claimants for being the first to develop this delicious treat. One of the earliest known recorded usage of the term in literature dates to American author Washington Irving's "History of New York" in which he described "balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks." By the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair - which was billed as "A Century of Progress" - doughnuts, now with the characteristic hole, were given the lofty title of "Hit Food of the Century of Progress," because they were fresh and the automated machines made them quickly. The cheaply produced doughnuts became a staple of the working class during the Depression. 🍩

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie Day

Unlike apple pie (the first recipe of which hails from Chaucer-era England) , Key Lime Pie is a uniquely American dessert. This pie is considered the official pie of the Florida Key (although ironically, the majority of Key Lime trees introduced by the Spanish in the 1500s were wiped out during the hurricane of 1926 and replaced by Persian Limes)! At any rate, recipes for Key Lime Pie were not recorded until the 1930s. At this time, fresh milk, refrigeration, and ice where not available in the Keys until the arrival of tank trucks with the opening of the Overseas Highway in 1930. Because of this lack of milk, local cooks relied on canned sweetened condensed milk, a key ingredient which makes this pie so smooth and delicious. Recipe included: Key Lime Bars!

Peter Hastings' Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse Day

Alexandre Viard, chef to Louis XVI and Napoleon, first described this dessert, later referred to as "mousse au chocolat" in the 1820 edition of his culinary encyclopedia, Le Cuisinier Royal. But the popularity of this tasty chocolate dessert really began to surge when the French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), who was also known for his culinary skills, came up with a recipe he first named β€œmayonnaise au chocolat.” Peter Hastings' actual recipe included!

Strawberry Fool

April Fool's Day

Fooled you! The classic puree of fruit and custard, the fruit fool (whether it be strawberry, gooseberry, raspberry, rhubarb, or blackberry) has nothing in particular to do with April Fool's Day! And although food historians do not agree on the origin of its name, fool/foole is first mentioned as a dessert in 1598 with recipes beginning to appear in cookery books by the mid 17th century. There are even two classic fruitless fools dating from the 17th and 18th centuries - the Norfolk Fool and the Westminster Fool (which have the addition of cake, similar to trifles, with and without the addition of sack sherry). Regardless of ingredients, these are fools to suffer gladly. Be a dancing fool today! Recipes included!

The Auld Blether

Cream Tea Day


The Marmalade Maker

Marmalade Awards

A staple of a British breakfast, English and Scottish migrants took marmalade with them to Canada with them, where it remains popular to this day. Americans, on the other hand, are less enthused by it perhaps because sweet oranges, rather than the more bitter Sevilles, are readily available.

Afternoon Tea, Coffee, Dainties & Small Bites Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Jun    Jul    Aug    Sep    Oct    Nov    Dec

The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the


Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 


Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

Follow us on social media

  • Facebook - Grey Circle

Β© 2021 Curious Magpie Designs