By Lynnie Stein / November 11, 2018

Tea Time

It was a bright idea that came into Alice’s head.

“Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here? ” she asked.

” Yes, that’s it, ” said the Hatter with a sigh: “It’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.”

“Then you keep moving round, I suppose? said Alice.

“Exactly so,” said the Hatter …

If you own a tiered cake stand, dust it off and use it for the centrepiece. Otherwise, use your best crockery and make it a little more special with lace-like doilies, folded napkins and name place cards.

Charity shops are a good source for reasonably priced chintzy Chinaware to get that authentic ye olde tearoom look. Don’t worry if the patterns are mismatched – it makes the event a little more hip. You’ll need a teapot, teacups, cutlery and cake slicers for serving.

Extend your table and dress it with a tablecloth. Fabric shops sell calico and is very effective for this. Charity stores are a wonderful place for vintage Irish linen tablecloths and serviettes.

String up some bunting or, if you’re feeling ambitious, bake some edible bunting biscuits.

While you’re at it, you could make some name-place cookies, icing them with your guests’ names.

Pop them in paper bags so your guests have a little present to take away, or just snaffle them as an entrée.

Offer a variety of teas, like Earl Grey, chai, peppermint, chamomile, fruit, herbal and, of course, English Breakfast. Iced tea makes for a more refreshing tipple in warmer weather, and adding a touch of Pimm’s will really break the ice. You could also crack open the fizz and serve up a sloe gin royale or juice-based mimosa.
There aren’t any rules when it comes to the food, but a standard afternoon tea comprises a tier of sandwiches, a tier of cakes and one of scones or teacakes. However, you could also throw in healthy sugar-free brownies’, petits fours, yum balls, raw treats, or biscuits.

Get ahead by prepping your fillings in advance, then assemble just before guests arrive to avoid the dreaded soggy sannie.

Have you thrown your own afternoon tea party?

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© 2021 Lynnie Stein