Maybe it’s the success of Downton Abbey or Canada’s own Murdoch Mysteries, but suddenly everyone is having a love affair with the elegance of a traditional English tea.
- Have an afternoon wedding followed by afternoon tea.
- Host a shower at a Sunday afternoon tea party.
- Have bridesmaids receive their gifts at a tea party.
Whatever the occasion, an afternoon tea (usually served from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) will charm your guests, says Kathleen Finlay at Loic Gourmet in Toronto.
The traditional tea might start with an aperitif (perhaps a dry sherry). Then, the tea party menu will include:
- a variety of interesting teas
- a variety of tea sandwiches
- warm scones with clotted crème and jam
- petit tartlets,shortbread, petit fours.
Sandwiches are on thin, untoasted bread with crusts removed and cut into quarters or fingers plus a few pinwheel and open face sandwiches.
Fillings may include traditional cucumber, mint and cream-cheese; chicken curry, goat cheese and watercress; smoked salmon with onion and capers and grated carrot, cream cheese and walnuts served on cinnamon raisin bread.
The entire tea is presented on three-tiered plates, usually with scones on the bottom tier , sandwiches on the middle tier and desserts on top. Have one tiered tray shared by two people. Guests will serve themselves, split their scones and help themselves to the clotted crème and jam toppings.
The piece de resistance is to have teapots and plates in vintage English fine china in a variety of patterns.
Set the stage
Have a colour theme in accessories such as flower centrepieces, tablecloths and napkins.
Steal these DIY ideas
- Bottle your homemade jams and use them as a placecard.
- Fold brightly coloured tea towels, tie them with a ribbon and give them as thank you gifts.
- Make biscotti (or your favourite cookie recipe), package them in a cellophane bag and seal with a thank you sticker.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Spring/Summer 2013.