SIP & TEA
Afternoon Tea Planning 101
We might not be a queen or king celebrating our Jubilee, but we can still bring a favorite pastime from across the pond here! As a young girl one of my fondest memories were going to afternoon tea with my grandma. Whether for a special birthday or during the holiday season it a moment we shared getting dressed up (and I think she also wanted me to learn proper table manners). Ever since we started that tradition together, whenever I travel abroad I would seek out a High Tea at a nearby hotel. So far I have enjoyed this experience in Victoria, Canada as well as London, England and Sydney, Australia. You would be surprised at how easy it is to find a hotel that offers this service, as the tradition is still very much alive.
WHAT IS AFTERNOON TEA? Afternoon tea is a light meal in the late afternoon around three o’clock and 5 o’clock. It was first introduced in England in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. As story goes, she would often become hungry between lunch and dinner around four o’clock as dinners during that time were not served till eight o’clock. With this long period between meals the afternoon tea was created. A traditional menu consist of thinly-sliced delicate sandwiches and usually cakes and pastries. Here is what to serve on your menu.
WHAT TO SERVE? In tradition of serving delicate sandwiches you can serve a variety such as: cranberry bread and chicken salad, white bread and egg salad, cucumber or cress as well as cream cheese, peach tart or go for an elevated tea sandwich with a thin baguette with smoked salmon & capers or lobster salad. When it comes serving cakes and pastries scones are a must, with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and jams! You can also consider pastries such as: opera cake, fruit tarts, puff pastries and roulade with a fruit chutney.
WHAT TO WEAR? This is the time to dress up and bring your inner femininity out with soft fabrics, delicate accessories and possibly a traditional English hat. It is most common to wear a dress or skirt that is at least knee-length. You can also pair a lightweight blouse and skirt together as well. I feel like Kate Middleton is such a perfect example of English style, and even-though we can’ afford her wardrobe we can find similar dresses at stores like: Show Me Your Mumu, Reformation & Anthropologie.
HOW TO CREATE A BEAUTIFUL TABLE SETTING? With every event you host you always need to think of the theme, mood and atmosphere you are wanting to create for your guests. For this event it is easy to come up with your theme as you can be inspired by your own collection of china. The china is traditionally very eclectic and has its own story, and almost becomes its own guest, often leading to great conversation of the history and storytelling. To select the mood use the table linens and napkins as your muse. If you want a more traditional color palette stick to you shades of blue, green, blush and peach. If you are wanting a vibrant palette I like to go towards yellow, green, pink and blue shades. Bow that you have your theme and mood you can start thinking about the atmosphere you want to create. You stay traditional and serve with tiered stands (mine are are from Crate & Barrel) or do a buffet set up. Don’t forget to get serving tongs as we want this to be an elegant event. Also, I would adorn the dining table with salad plates, tea cups & saucers as well as salad forks at each place setting.
Then most importantly you need the tea pots with cream and sugar centered on the table for guests to pour. If you want to do a variety of teas, you can hav the off to the side on a server with labels and guest can serve themselevs. Have fun hosting your summer afternoon tea with close friends and creating a tradition that will last a lifetime!