When you hear the term ‘afternoon tea’, it is generally treated as the British tradition. However, it is now known that it was first used in China, and it was due to Duchess Anna that tea was introduced to Queen Catherine. You can imagine Dukes and Duchesses sitting around the table in 18th century England, and enjoying a cup of tea. While it may have been the beginning of a new trend at that time, it has now become a widespread practice all over the world especially in the countries that have remained British colonies.
As you know, afternoon tea is not complete without the delicacies to go with it. Arranging an afternoon tea party every now and then has become a significant part of my life and it is something I look forward to every other week. Here is your guide to planning the best afternoon tea party with some delicious and easy to cook recipes.
The Beginners’ Tips
- Choose a date according to your schedule and send out the invites for it.
- Keep the reason for throwing the party in your mind when selecting the invitation theme.
- Make sure you have all the crockery and related accessories.
- Serve a large pot of tea, freshly brewed along with the tea selections that include white and brown sugar, whipped cream, lemon slices and more.
- Think about the menu and plan it according to your guest list.
Choosing an Afternoon Tea Menu
Planning a tea party menu is something tricky. You need to prepare food items according to everyone’s taste; therefore, it is a safe option to stick to both sweet and savoury. Here are a few wonderful recipes that you can try:
If you’re looking for a new sweet cookie recipe, then making Pizzelles is the best option. They’re flat and round cookies of Italian origin. Not many people make them, even though they’re really easy to make. While you’ll surely have all the ingredients at home, you’ll have to buy the appliance to make them.
They’re made in a pizzelle iron which looks like an engraved waffle maker. It takes 40–45 minutes to prepare and is exactly what you’ve been looking for to impress your friends at the next afternoon tea party.
Quiche is also one of my all-time favourite savoury delights that are presented with afternoon tea. Smoked chicken and pepperoni mini quiches are an amazing option to add to your afternoon tea menu. The ingredients are readily available at any nearby store, and it doesn’t take much time to cook either.
The best part about it is that 20 quiches can be made in 30-40 minutes. One tray takes about 10–15 minutes to cook in a preheated oven. Once they’re done, all you have to do is garnish them with whatever you like best. Some other options are ham and bacon, egg and pepperoni, spinach etc. Start from the one I mentioned and then experiment with the ones you think you and your friends will like.
Another great option you should go for is canapés. If this isn’t your first tea party, then you should know what it is. Canapés have three layers, a base made of a cracker or a puff pastry, a spread which can be anything ranging from goat cheese to margarine, and the topping, which in my case is always smoked ham or chicken.
Apart from that, you can use different spices to give it your own touch. The best experience I ever had was when I went to a friend’s place in the US, and she made canapés using Doritos. Not only did they taste amazing, but they were also quite different from the ones you get at fancy hotels.
While everyone loves lemon and red jam tarts, savoury tarts are also a delicacy I’m sure that everyone would like. While it might not be that common, it is something you should try. Some of the best options you can go for are tomato tarts, bacon and cheese, salmon and herbs etc.
Depending on the ingredients that you’re using, a tart can take 20-45 minutes to cook. I had a sweet tooth for tarts, and the first time I was introduced to a savoury tart, it took me quite a while to wrap my head around it. Once I tried it, I loved it immediately, and it has been a part of my afternoon tea parties for the past three years.
A tea party cannot be complete without at least two to three types of salads. Some options that you can never go wrong with are egg and avocado salad, Mexican kale salad and chickpea salad with smoked ham and pepperoni. Try to keep the dressing on the side so that everyone can add it according to their taste.
Try to have at least three kinds of dressing, ranging from mild to hot. You should always keep your guest’s preferences in mind. Granted that you can’t keep everyone happy, you should at least try.
SandwichesView this post on Instagram
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While sandwiches may seem a little old school, they are one of the most preferred savoury snacks. This is a snack most of us are already experts in. We have most of the ingredients at home at all times. So, you should start experimenting before your next tea party.
The best option you can go for is smoked salmon sandwiches as they’ve been one of the most popular tea-time snacks. Remember to buy fresh bread and fish if you want your sandwiches to be perfect. Anyone can tell if you’ve used stale bread, and that is against the tea time etiquette.
Last afternoon tea tips
If you make the above-mentioned recipes a part of your next afternoon tea party, you are surely going to be the talk of the town. Remember to try these recipes before you serve them to the guest as they can be a little tricky. Your afternoon tea menu should have a different variety of sweet and savoury food.
Making food and art are alike, and with tea delicacies, you can be creative. However, you should try to stay authentic to the food and not change it completely. Remember to learn the recipe, and then be creative and make it your own.
While experimenting with the savoury items on the list, you shouldn’t forget the tea. While most people like mixed tea, according to English tradition, tea is meant to be served separately. While it may not seem like a big deal, certain tea etiquette should be followed. You should always mix your tea at a 180-degree angle rather than in a circular motion, after shaking your tea, you should still place the spoon down before you start drinking.
If you’ve arranged a tea party before as well and have any recommendations, feel free to mention in the comments below.
About the Author:
This post is written by Line Arias, who has been working as a nutritionist for more than ten years now. She recently collaborated with health and fitness spa, NYC, and since then, she has been working on weight loss’ meal prep plans.