I encountered this word while reading about English tea etiquette. It seems to mean a set of desserts but I didn't find any sources that'd corroborate my hunch.

With its notoriously elegant decorum, I anticipated my first afternoon tea in London would involve learning some etiquette. But the only instruction I received from my server at The Milestone Hotel was to make my way from the finger sandwiches on the bottom tray of the curate presented before me upwards to the sweet pastries on top. (source)

  • 1
    I initially read that as "corroborate my lunch". :D Commented Jun 25 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


I've never heard this term used before. But from the OED:

curate, n.

II.6 (British) a cake stand with two or more tiers. Obsolete. rare.

Something like this:

  • 24
    As an English person aged over 70, and middle class in origin, I can tell you that 'English tea etiquette' is something concocted for tourists. Commented Jun 25 at 11:45
  • 3
    @MichaelHarvey Sandwiches before cake is just an application of the convention in other meals of eating the main savoury course before the pudding/dessert/sweet. But when all your food is delivered to you at single time on a personal cake stand (as with an aeroplane tray) rather than on successive shared platters, you are free to eat in whatever order you prefer.
    – Henry
    Commented Jun 25 at 13:40
  • 2
    I bet the food on that stand came at an eye-watering price. Commented Jun 25 at 21:56
  • This curate seems to be incorrectly prepared as it only contains sandwiches instead of having sandwiches on the bottom layer and sweet pastries on top ;-)
    – quarague
    Commented Jun 26 at 11:31

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