My first tea

I had my first experience with afternoon tea on May 6, 2006.  My friend, Lady J., hosted an afternoon tea for 40 ladies at her house, and I had volunteered to be one of her co-hostesses.  I didn’t know what to expect but I learned just about everything I needed to know about afternoon tea that day, from behind-the-scenes production to enjoying the actual event!

To make a long story short, I was smitten with everything about the afternoon tea experience: The delicious tea (why hadn’t I given tea a chance before?!), the guests (I couldn’t ask for better company), the lovely hats and tea attire (oh, I felt so pretty and proper!), the scrumptious and dainty epicurean delights (can it get any more delightful?), the china (I regretted not asking for china on my wedding registry!), the table setting details (who knew that a table could look so inviting?), and tea etiquette (thank goodness manners still exist in this day and age!).

Looking back, I don’t know why I had never been interested in afternoon tea before except that the price of tea houses deterred me and I didn’t really have anyone to go with.  Since my first tea, I have visited a few tea houses, enjoyed many afternoon teas, and even hosted some tea parties myself!  With this blog, I am documenting and sharing what I have learned and experienced since my first tea:

The first and foremost thing I learned about afternoon tea was to …

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From the collection of Lady J.

After relaxation, the most important thing about afternoon tea is to keep the tea brewing, flowing, and hot!  (Please learn how to brew it properly!)

teapot

Always wear a hat or fascinator to afternoon tea (unless you are the hostess)!

Lady J's hats

Lady J.’s hats

Experience the pleasure of eating and drinking out of delicate and fine china …

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Creamers and sugar bowls

Learn how to set a tea table with all the right details such as tableware, serving ware, decorations, doilies, centerpieces, place cards, tea warmers, table toppers, tablecloths, etc.

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How to decorate with non-edible and edible flowers and other plants (e.g., herbs) …

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Non-edible flowers

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Edible flowers

Food should also be a treat for the eyes …

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Brownie bites on top of nasturtium leaves and topped with organic mini roses

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Chai tea creme brulee topped with gerbera daisies (non-toxic but non-edible!)

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Chai tea creme brulee topped with nasturtium flowers (flowers, seed pods, and leaves are edible!)

Appreciate the charm of tea caddies and how they dictate the order of tea courses …

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Top tier: Desserts (chocolate dipped strawberries, brownie bites) Middle tier: Scones and creme brulee. Bottom tier: Chicken salad croissant, salami and basil on rye, tomato on bagel slice with herbed cream cheese and lemon pepper salt, smoked salmon sandwiches, calla lily apricot cream cheese sandwiches

Begin afternoon tea with a cup of hot tea accompanied by a biscuit/cookie (optional), followed by:

1. Soups, salads (optional, for “high tea”)
2. Savories/sandwiches (savories, if served, should be eaten first while still warm)
3. Fresh fruit (the palate cleanser)
4. Scones (precursor to dessert!)
5. Desserts

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Fresh fruit course

And of course, collecting recipe ideas for great food!

May 077 (Small)Every day is deserving of tea time!  Please visit Tastes like tea often!

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