Now we’re getting to the really good stuff — the food! It’s at this time that we also need to think about what kind of tea we will be serving as that will influence the selection of food. I usually serve straight up british black tea, but you may prefer green tea or herbal tea. Once you make your decision you can start planning what food you’ll be serving.
I recommend serving a variety of both sweets and savory treats. I also like to include fruit to lighten things up a bit. For my most recent tea party I served:
Sweets: Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting; Pumpkin Spice Bread; Amaretti Cookies; Scones with Double Cream, Butter, Blueberry Jam and Lemon Curd; Grapes.
Savories: Cucumber and Goat Cheese on Whole Wheat; Pimento Cheese on White Bread; Teewurst* on tiny Rolls; Spiced Walnuts.
I served british-style black tea, so I went with a more traditional afternoon tea menu. Small finger sandwiches are definitely traditional but the filling is totally up to you. Similarly, scones are very traditional and easy to make. I buy the toppings that I put on them. I have seen them at local grocery stores if you don’t want to bake.
For a less formal tea, the menu can be whatever you might feel like serving. A small cake and some salted nuts can be all that you need for a small informal tea party with a few friends. Other options might be finger sandwiches and cupcakes, or cheese, crackers, and cookies.
On the surface this might all look like too much work but it doesn’t have to be! I buy what I don’t have time to make and I always buy the amaretti (little Italian almond cookies.) The key is to make things that you are comfortable making and that you like and buy whatever else you think you want to serve. This is one of those times when the KISS principle applies — Keep It Simple Sweetie!
*Teewurst is a German smoked meat spread.