How to Host the Best Afternoon Tea Party
The afternoon tea party has been a staple in British culture for as long as time itself (okay, maybe not that long). It has long been a symbol of ‘elegance’ and ‘high class’. It has long been a pastime enjoyed by women. But just because there are traditions in place, it doesn’t mean that only certain people can practice the ways of the afternoon tea party. You don’t have to be British. You don’t have to be of a high social class or ‘elegant’ in anyway. And you certainly don’t have to be a woman. If you want to host an afternoon tea party with your family and friends, no matter who you are, you do it! Just make sure to take heed of the advice below to make sure your tea party is the best one ever.
First of all, you need to get your time frames and menu correct. A tea party is generally held a short time after noon, so therefore after lunch but before dinner. This is because the object of a tea party is not to fill those sat around the table but to merely give them something to snack on between their set meal times. Because of this small, savoury pieces of food should be laid about the table. You should whip up a batch of delicious finger sandwiches that won’t fill your guests but will satisfy them. You could go traditionally British and serve up cucumber sandwiches. Or you could a bit more modern and provide mini BLT sandwiches. Just make sure that no matter what recipe you go for, they should be both savoury and small.
When it comes to a menu, you need not actually draw up one. Your menu is your table, so therefore it should be set in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and showcases all the delicacies you’ve whipped up clearly. There is a table setting etiquette when it comes to afternoon tea parties that should be adhered to no matter who you are or what you’re serving. More than anything this is just to make it feel like an afternoon tea party rather than just a run-of-the-mill gathering between friends. So, don’t be afraid to get out your finest china! You can’t be serving your tea in mugs — it has to be in small, dainty cups with floral patterns and it must have the saucer to match! Importantly, the tea pot should be the focal point of the table and sit slap bang in the middle of it so it is in easy reach for all your guests.
And you can’t forget the afters. The best tea parties deserved to be ended by the best cakes. And when it comes to the cakes you choose you want them to retain the home made feel of the party (even if you bring them in). So, rather than going for your local supermarket’s signature toffee cheesecake, go for something like an apple and blueberry pie. Go for an apple pie lattice. Or if you don’t like apple, a blood plum tart. Even if you don’t bake these cakes yourself and you do order them in, you can still retain the ‘homemade’ feel.
Just don’t let your afternoon tea party slip into an afternoon of drinking and debauchery! It can easily be done when a bottle (or two) of wine, or a bottle (or three) of champagne, are plonked on the table right next to the tea pot! Maybe save that for the next party you host.