Thursday, November 7, 2013

Afternoon Tea Planning Tips

I have favorite recipes I've used many times.  
I also have many recipe books collected from tea room visits,
 books about tea the beverage, and ceremony of afternoon tea
on my book shelves. I have saved every issue of Tea Time Magazine
since Hoffman Media began publishing Tea Time 10 years ago.
When I began planning the Christmas Tea, the first thing I did was to
pull out all the past Christmas issues of Tea Time Magazine as a resource.
I find everything from reading the recipes to thoroughly examining the photos
helpful as I plan menus and tablescapes for my tea party planning.  
 Diane AmEnde's Tea Cozy Cooking and Baby Cakes
are full of recipes and how-to tips.
Bruce and Shelley Richardson's Elmwood Inn series of recipe  books
are favorites I always find helpful. Shelley Richardson is talented food artist
and Bruce is an expert on all things tea! 

Afternoon Tea Tips:
From the book, An Invitation to Tea by Denise Whipple,
"When presenting food, it is important to offer a variety of shapes, tastes, and colors on the plate. 
"When food items appeal to the eye, they usually will appeal to the taste buds."
The first course served on the bottom tier of the three tiered server is the sandwich/savory course.
The middle tier serves the scones, the second course. 
The top tier serves the dessert course.  
Linda's Sandwich Tips:
When planning finger sandwiches/savories, I plan for a total of five sandwiches or savories per  guest. This equals 1 1/4 sandwiches per person. Finger sandwiches need to be made from different breads with crusts removed, in different shapes and with different fillings,
 and include a combination of meat and vegetarian.  
I usually include a traditional English cucumber sandwich on white bread.
Spread a thin layer of softened unsalted butter on the bread before putting on the sandwich filling,
to prevent the sandwich from becoming soggy.  
Scones are served with clotted cream (or mock clotted cream in the USA), and jam or curd.
Clotted Cream is native to Devon and Cornwall in England. If you can't find it to purchase,
you may make thick whipped cream or one of many recipes for mock clotted or mock
Devonshire Cream online.
English scones, by the way, are not the sweet cake-like, fruit-filled scones American bakers make.
IF the scones are served warm, it is suggested those be eaten as the first course, while warm.
Miniature Desserts:
I serve a variety of shapes, colors and flavors.  I usually serve four mini desserts and choose from a bar, tart, pastry, cookie, cake and candy. I include one citrus and one chocolate.
My husband does not eat chocolate, and I'm not a chocolate lover.   I dislike afternoon teas where most of the desserts are chocolate. 

Tea the Beverage:
I remember reading in one of my many tea books, to plan to serve 2 1/2 cups of tea
for each guest at afternoon tea.
Well, whoever wrote that, doesn't know my tea-drinking friends
and family! Each of them can easily drink 5 cups of
properly brewed, good quality loose leaf tea
while sitting around the tea table.
I believe I have taught them well!  *smile*
Note from Linda: 
My recipe for mock clotted cream will be posted in the recipe
section of this Christmas Afternoon Tea for Kentucky Living Magazine series.

Link to the November issue of
Kentucky Living Magazine


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