Modern Tea Party
by Michelle Hereford,
Apparently, you never outgrow a tea party. My adult daughter and I are having one and we are so excited. This is a great idea for Mother’s Day. My sister and I did something similar one year and invited all the moms in our families to celebrate. As a special touch, we purchased colorful and inexpensive vases and filled them with fresh flowers for each attendee as a favor.
Even though this is just a small party for just the two us, we are sticking to a fairly traditional feast. Crustless sandwiches, cucumber and otherwise. We have petit fours and scones and a variety of cakes and cookies, a hot sweet onion tart, lemonade and of course tea.
To make these sandwiches, I am following a few suggestions I came across when looking up recipes. First, use thick bread; second freeze the bread for a little bit before using so that it doesn’t tear or flatten as easily. If you prefer very uniformed sandwiches, use a large cookie cutter for all the components, bread, meat, and cheese (if you so choose) so that they appear uniform in size when you build your sandwich stack. We decided to make cucumber, egg salad and roast beef. All of the sandwiches used thick white or wheat bread, micro greens and salt and pepper and do not have more than 5 ingredients each. Please see the simple menu below.
Afternoon Tea Party Menu
Cucumber Sandwiches (we used small Japanese cucumbers and a cheese spread. This recipe usually calls for butter and chives instead of the cheese spread)
Egg Salad Sandwiches(boiled eggs, chopped and mixed with mayonnaise)
Roast Beef Sandwiches(we used deli sliced roast beef and a horseradish spread for a little kick)
Sweet Onion Tart (we wanted something hot, it was a Trader Joe’s find)
Variety of Tea
Sweet Lemon Mocktail (lemon juice, simple syrup, shot sweet potato vodka, lemonade, shaken with ice)
Once we had our menu together, we set about ensuring that this was also a feast for the eyes. We found edible flowers to embellish our desserts and we used a stacked tray to display our delicious food items.
For the tea, we used Earl Gray to stick with tradition and a mint tea because it’s one of my faves and always refreshing. See some tips below from Chatelaine for brewing the perfect cup of tea.
Tea Party Tea
- Choose your tea. Traditional choices are Earl Gray, English Breakfast or Darjeeling.
- Use loose-leaf tea. Never use a tea bag for Afternoon Tea. (We broke this rule with the mint tea)
- Fill the kettle with freshly drawn water. Never re-boil the water because water loses oxygen left standing and this noticeably when affects the taste of the tea.
- Warm the teapot by swishing boiling water in it, I do this to my teacup or mug too because I like my hot beverages scorching hot, like the last sip must be hot. You can also warm the teapot by leaving it near a hot burner.
- Add the tea leaves to the tea pot. Never use a tea ball though. Instead, use a strainer held under the spout as you pour.
- Let the tea steep for the proper amount of time, depending on the type of tea you’re preparing. Most, like Earl Gray take from 3-4 minutes.
- When serving the tea, no mugs allowed. Tea must be served from a teapot into teacups.
All that’s left is to enjoy and sip the tea for your modern day tea party!