Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

Capabili-Teas: teatime with a Georgian twist

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Take afternoon tea like a Georgian and help celebrate 300 years of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, England’s greatest landscape gardener

Authentic 18th Century ‘Capabili-Tea’ recipes available to help you give the great British teatime tradition a Georgian twist – at home, on a picnic or by hosting your own event

The Capability Brown Festival 2016 is marking the extraordinary life, work and legacy of 18th century landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with hundreds of events across the country. As part of these activities we are encouraging as many people as possible to join in and celebrate the 300th anniversary since his birth with a Capabili-Tea.

Working with Hudson’s Historic Houses and Gardens 2016, the Capability Brown Festival Team have made a number of authentic recipes available for anyone wanting to have their own Capabili-Tea. You can try the recipes at home, host your own event or even take them on a picnic to enjoy in a splendid Brown landscape.

The recipes are all available to download from the Capability Brown Festival website and include:

  • The famous Sally Lunns – History leaves no evidence of a flour-dusted, apple cheeked baker named Sally Lunn, rather this English version of brioche was probably brought by Huguenots fleeing persecution in 17th Century France and the name is a corruption of Solimemne, a sweet bread from Alsace.
  • Jumbles – A popular biscuit flavoured with aniseed, shaped into a knot which derives its name from gemmel or twin. A gemmel ring, fashionable at the time, was a ring with two interlocking sections.
  • Seed cake – Modern raising agents have replaced the use of yeast which was required for nearly every Georgian cake, and here it is flavoured with caraway seeds
  • Gingerbread – Nutmeg, ground cloves and ground mace and candied peel give this ginergbread a distinctive flavour.
  • Georgian Sandwiches – The Earl of Sandwich’s legendary snack was almost certainly beef and one myth for the origin of mayonnaise places it in Mahon in Menorca, an important British Mediterranean port for most of the 18th Century. Here is a delicious updating of a Georgian sandwich.

Ceryl Evans, Festival Director said: ‘It was not until the Georgian period that tea became cheaper and more easily available and it quickly became the nation’s favourite beverage – served in cafes, coffee houses, tearooms and tea gardens, which reached their popularity in the mid-18thCentury.

‘Given the impact of tea at the time of Capability Brown, we have created Capabili-Teas as a fun way for people to get involved in the Festival, whether they are visiting a Brown site or not and to get people thinking about life in Georgian times by trying out the recipes for themselves.’

During Brown’s amazing career he advised on around 250 sites covering an area of around 200 square miles, running a business stretching across England and Wales. The Capability Brown Festival runs throughout 2016, with 100s of events over 60 sites, helping to tell the story of the impact and importance of this landscaping genius. There is a focus on events from March until October 2016.

We are keen for people to share their Capabilli-Teas stories by following us on social media and sharing your stories and photos: @BrownCapability or #CapabiliTea

Visit for more details of recipes and how to get involved. You can also find out more about events that are part of the Festival.

Some Capability Brown sites involved in the Festival will also be taking part in Capabili-Teas in the coming months. Details of these sites will be available on the website.

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