It’s been over a week since Tina and I hosted our lovely ladies tea. Tina stopped by the other night with the sweetest gift, a book on vintage tea parties!!! Amazing. Didn’t I say I couldn’t ask for a better neighbor? Looking at the book got me thinking… Tina and I put so much thought and research into our party and I should share it. Though we weren’t completely traditional, we tried to hit the important points. Here is a break down of what we served/ did to make our afternoon tea party a success…
We were lucky that Tina had the perfect amount of vintage China cup/saucer/plate combos to serve our six guests and ourselves. Using a mixed set of China is brilliant. It not only adds interest to the overall appearance of the tea, but it helps in determining which cup and plate are yours. For the rest of the serve wear I pulled out all my wedding gift goodies. I feel when setting the table for tea its nice to create different levels with tiered trays and pedestals for visual interest. I used cloth napkins Eloy printed for our wedding and our gold flatware from West Elm. I also was able to use some vintage silver pieces i have including a silver tea pot given to me by my mom. The only thing I felt was missing were some demitasse spoons… I will have to hunt for them for next time.
It all starts with tea, obviously. It is nice to have a variety so that everyone’s taste is suited. Tradition says that Earl Grey and English breakfast are most popular but we took a departure here. We served two loose leaf green teas, and two individual serve teas. The individuals were a berry blend and a coconut chai. We served our tea with an option of milk and sugar, honey and lemon are for when you are sick so none of that. In addition to tea bubbles are nice and get the conversation flowing. Also having a beverage server on hand with a bit of water with lemon is nice for staying hydrated.
Here is where Tina and I excel! Food! And we had no shortage of it. As far as I can tell, the key with tea time food is to have a wide variety of sweet and savory nibbles. Eating small treats is more lady like and you get to taste more when the bites are small. Here is what we had on our menu:.
Savory: Cucumber with Chive Butter Tea Sandwiches, Locks and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Openfaced Curry Chicken Sandwiches with Apricot Chutney, Fig and Olive Crackers with Goat Cheese, Mushroom Popovers
Sweet: Matcha Tea with Guava Petit Fours, Almond with Berry Petit Fours, Lavender Scones, Lemon Ginger Scones, Lemon Curd Tarts, Salted Browned Butter Shortbreads, Chocolate Mousse, Berries and, of course, Spotted Dick(pudding) with Custard
If you are not a chef or the baking type never fear!!! Trader Joes and other super markets have small sweets and appetizers for entertaining that will definitely do the trick! Try going to a local bakery and seeing if they can put together a variety of small treats for a bargain.
To me a vary important part of Tea is floral. Small, low, and dainty floral arrangements make for a pretty and colourful table. The day before our tea I made my way to the flower district to pick up some buds for our table. I stayed away from pastel flowers since our tea was a fall tea. I also looked for interesting and different flowers on special. I was able to get five bundles for just over $20 that I made one larger tall , two large short , one medium short, and three small short arrangements out of while still leaving enough to add a few accents to the serving trays and decorating the petit fours. When picking your blooms, go for the unexpected and pair it back to something a little traditional. I liked how the bright fuchsia gypsies looked with the yellow tea roses. Also picking flowers that are on the petit side help to keep the arrangements small and dainty.
Hopefully that’s enough info to get you started on hosting your own tea!!! Happy planning!!