Pancakes & Tea

Pancakes & Tea

Greetings tea lovers! It’s one of the most Hoogly dates in the calendar: Pancake Day! Every year this exciting day offers the opportunity to get together with friends and family and have fun in the kitchen creating a feast of delicious, indulgent treats. It’s also a chance to get outside and get silly with a traditional pancake race, which is so enjoyable it always makes me wonder why there aren’t more athletic activities with food involved! Jam javelin? Burger ballet? No? Just me, then…

Pancake Day finds its origin in the Christian celebration of Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, and a period of fasting. A bell would be rung to call people to be ‘shriven’ at confession, meaning absolved of their sins. The bell became known as the shriving bell or Pancake Bell, and is still in use today. 

In the past, Shrove Tuesday offered the last opportunity to use up eggs, milk and other fats before the fast, and pancakes provided the perfect mix of these ingredients. They’ve been made for centuries, and have been recorded in cookbooks as far back as 1439! The accompanying races are just as old. The most famous takes place in Olney, Buckinghamshire. According to the legend, in 1445 an Olney woman heard the shriving bell ringing out while busy making pancakes, and she rushed to church still wearing her apron and clutching her frying pan. The Olney race is now world famous; to take part you must be a local housewife, and must wear a hat, scarf or apron.

In London, at the Westminster School, they hold an annual Pancake Grease. A Westminster Abbey verger leads a group of boys into the playgrounds where the school cook throws a huge pancake into the air and over a five-metre high bar. The boys then compete to catch the pancake; whoever has the largest dollop gets a cash prize from the Dean!

Another historical Shrove Tuesday tradition is a game of ‘mob football,’ an all-action kick-about played by most of the street using pig’s bladder and with very little regard for safety! Although there weren’t always clear-cut rules, its seems one way of scoring was to boot the ball into the opponents’ church balcony! These games died out when the Highway Act of 1835 banned football on public Highways, but a number of towns have more recently resurrected the tradition, most notably in Alnwick in Northumberland, Ashbourne in Derbyshire, Sedgefield in County Durham and Atherstone in Warwickshire. I think it’s time we rallied round and got this this tradition resurrected in Sussex! Who’s with me..?

Of course, the perfect way to accompany all this fun and indulgence is with a tea that has been crafted especially with these things in mind! Why not partner your pancake with a deliciously decadent mug of our Chocolate Brownie brew, a combination of warming Sri Lankan black tea, cocoa nibs and vanilla pieces?! For fans of another famously indulgent snack, why not try Danish Pastry herbal infusion, a scintillating mix of Rooibos, cinnamon and cocoa, bringing Denmark’s traditional treat to life in a cuppa that will thrill your senses!

Whatever you do this Pancake Day, relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life with Hoogly Tea! 


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Paul Turner

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