If you want to have company over but you don’t want to entertain them all night, you should think about asking them to come over for a tea party. An afternoon tea party is an excellent occasion to have a relaxed conversation over hot drinks and scrumptious bites. Get ready to send out your invitations, break out your nicest teacups and follow these tips on how to throw a modern tea party.
An afternoon tea ceremony can often be confused with a British high tea ceremony—while they both sound similar, the high tea is in the early evening and features heavier dishes with meats and vegetables. A traditional afternoon tea includes lighter fare like delicate finger sandwiches, elegant pastries, and other assorted desserts, along with teapots filled with piping hot tea. If you are going to host an afternoon tea party, you should set out teacups, cutlery, tiered cake stands, serving plates and cloth napkins. It’s also wise to have more than one teapot for guests who want a different type of tea — a thoughtful party host doesn’t force someone to drink something that they don’t like or let them drink nothing at all.
A traditional afternoon tea party usually has certain staples from British cuisine like scones, clotted cream, lemon curd, tea cakes, biscuits and sandwiches with the crusts cut off. There is no reason that you should have to follow these unwritten rules in order to throw a lovely occasion—as long as the food you serve is light and delicious, your guests will not mind. If you are looking for great dessert ideas to replace regular biscuits and tea cakes, try out mochi ice cream—this dessert will wow your guests with an assortment of unique and exciting flavors. The brilliant flavors like vanilla bean, mint chocolate chip, and strawberry mochi ice cream will pair well with tea and their pastel colors will look beautiful on display. This is an ideal option for those who don’t have time to bake trays of scones, biscuits, and cakes, but still, want to impress their friends with dainty sweets.
If you want to throw a modern afternoon tea party, you can also stray from the drinks that are traditionally served. You don’t have to set out Earl Gray or English Breakfast in teapots on the table—you can steep whatever types of tea you want to give to your guests. One helpful tip from tea sommeliers is to choose teas that pair well with the food that you are serving—these experts are similar to sommeliers who choose wine pairings at restaurants. They recommend pairings like black teas with decadent chocolate and cream desserts and oolong teas for light and fruity sweets.
Afternoon tea parties are rooted in pomp and ceremony, but you aren’t obligated to stick to the unwritten traditions. Ignore the old rules and make up your own modern ceremony with different snacks, desserts, and flavors. The only thing that matters when throwing this kind of party is that you have hot tea, good food, and warm conversation.