For the second installment of our multi-segmented blog, our minds got us thinking—bring on the tea! Shower your mother with an elegant and sophisticated afternoon English Tea party. Don’t let the rich decor and elegant ambiance intimidate you— with our helpful tips and recipes, you can pull off this quaint celebration your mother will surely love!
Begin by assembling your décor. To bring the English Tea theme, dust off that vintage blue and white china and lay a plain white lace tablecloth. If you find yourself with an incomplete set of china from years of storing, don’t panic! The beautiful thing about tea parties is the “shabby chic” feel to it. Mix and match different teacups, adding your own vintage flair. One thing to remember though: keep the teacup and saucer matching at all times.
No worries now we’ll show you some themes you can do if you want to spicy up your decor a little, here are few images I found that I thought you would like. Country Living has some fresh new spring table setting that you may want to check out as well.
Next, what is a tea party without the tea? Did you know that tea compliments food similar to wine? This being said, the following teas are perfect for an afternoon tea party:
Assam - an Indian black tea, Assam is commonly used as a breakfast tea. However, known for its body and malty flavor, pair this tea with any beef dish.
Ceylon – can be found as black, green, or white tea. Its bold flavor goes well with vegetables.
Darjeeling - most commonly found as a black tea, this is a perfect tea to serve with desserts, due to its fruity, floral flavoring. Also goes perfect with fresh fruit.
Green – this tea has been growing in popularity, and good thing! It’s healthy— promoting defenses against heart disease and certain cancers. Pair green tea with fruits for a delicious and light snack.
Oolongs – a traditional Chinese tea, it has a bitterness to it, leaving a sweet aftertaste. For this reason, this tea goes perfect with dark chocolate desserts.
If one of these teas don’t interest you you can always choose from one of my favorites…Teavana allows you to create your own tea creations, this place is my playground.
Strawberry Lemonade with Peppermint – Irresistibly fragrant strawberries infused with tart lemon slices creates a new twist on an old favorite! This healthy, vitamin-packed herbal tisane is the delicious strawberry lemonade you’ve been waiting for infused with pure peppermint tisane that is extremely refreshing. It also makes an excellent after-dinner drink, since it helps to aid digestion and is very helpful against irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or curbing acid reflux.
Go Go Goji White Tea- Tart Goji berries are perfectly matched with sweet Lychee fruit, fragrant rose blossoms and a soft white tea in a tumultuous fusion of flavor, phytonutrient energy and vitamins. This is truly a blend which will get you go, go, going!
Peach- Cran Tango Black Tea- Join crisp cranberry and smooth peach in a delicious dance of fresh fruit and complex black tea. The pairing of sweet and sour flavors will motivate your feet to join in the rhythm of a new day!
The Teavana site also offers teas by country as well, just in case your mother has a favorite from a specific place.
Looking for a more traditional take on tea Harney & Sons offers a great selection of teas ranging from green teas to herbal mixes.
Pair these teas up with your favorite finger sandwich assortments, scones, jams jellies and clotted cream. To have a heartier meal, add in courses of soup and quiches, which are also traditional in an English Tea party.
Remember to have your finger sandwiches up to par: not too soggy of a filling, wrapped well to not dry out, and cut in unusual shapes!
The most traditional afternoon tea sandwich would be the cucumber sandwich. You can pair it with delicious smoked salmon, or just simply alone. Here are easy savory sandwich recipes:
- Large cucumber, peeled and sliced very thinly
- Salt 3/4 cup soft butter
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 20 slices bread
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pepper to taste
1. Lightly salt the cucumber slices and place them in a colander to drain for 1 to 2 hours
2. combine the butter and garlic and apply to one side of each slice of bread.
3.In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper.
4.Add the cucumber slices, coating them well.
5.Arrange the cucumber on 10 of the bread slices, top with the other 10 slices, remove the crusts, and quarter. Serve immediately. Makes 40 tea sandwiches.
Chutney Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
- 1 pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup(s) finely diced celery
- 3 tablespoon(s) finely diced red onion
- 4 tablespoon(s) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup(s) walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/3 cup(s) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon(s) Major Grey’s (mango-ginger) Chutney
- 16 slice(s) very thin white bread
- 4 tablespoon(s) butter, room temperature
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, simmer chicken 15 to 20 minutes, or just until cooked through. Drain and transfer to a plate to cool 10 minutes.
- Thinly slice chicken into strips, then finely chop. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss chicken with celery, onion, parsley, and walnuts. In another bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and chutney. Add to chicken mixture and blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Place approximately 1/2 cup chicken salad on each of 8 slices of bread; spread and press salad onto bread to make an even layer. Butter remaining 8 slices and place on top of chicken salad. Trim crusts to make even squares. Slice sandwiches in half to form 16 triangles. (Sandwiches may be made to this point up to an hour ahead. Cover with damp paper towels and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.) Arrange on serving platter.
From The Oprah Magazine Cookbook ©2008 Hearst Communications, Inc.
Now all that’s left is to brew the teas, invite the guests, and celebrate your mother with a beautiful tea party she will never forget.
Check out the next few parts of the blog in the next few days …and make sure your Mother’s Day has that special VIBE!