Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to throw a traditional British Afternoon Tea party

I was invited by Laura @AboutLondon to attend the filming of VisitLondon Afternoon tea video at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, which has courses on British baking and traditional afternoon tea treats. We whipped a delicious and very light cake, scones, mini lemon curd pies, old fashioned cucumber sandwiches, baked bread and much more! In the end we had a massive feast!

How to Host an Afternoon Tea Party in Your Home
Afternoon tea originates from England, and it was a preserve for the high and mighty. The tea was indeed light, and it was served between 4pm and 6pm. To this date, many people around Britain still celebrate this old tradition. The only difference between now and old days is that nowadays people have afternoon tea in restaurants, hotels and at their homes as opposed to the past when it was only available in palaces and castles. Quite recently,  I learnt how to host a proper afternoon tea party at home.

Getting Started With The Afternoon Tea

The mid-late afternoon is the ideal time for celebrating afternoon tea. It's the gap between lunch and dinner.  On the other hand, confusion still looms between afternoon tea and high tea. Though both teas are celebrated in the afternoon, high tea stands out because it’s a bit heavier and is taken early in the evening usually between 6pm and 7pm. During such gatherings, you should have various flavours of tea including Earl Grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Jasmine, orange pekoe, chai, green and peppermint. It is advisable to have the individually packaged tea bags so that your guests can pick their favourite. Besides that, you should have a lot of hot water ready before and during the party, so your guests can top up their cups or teapots as required. 

  Afternoon Tea: the table

An afternoon tea party should embrace style, and that is why you should acquire classic teapots, cups and saucers, cake forks and knives, sandwiches plates and serving trays. In case you don’t have serving trays, you don’t need to worry because you can use large plates and because the cups and sandwiches plates used in the afternoon tea party are somehow small, no one will notice unless, you tell them! So this will be your little sweet secret. To spice up the table, you can go for a varied designs or traditional matching sets. The table should be neatly arranged, and a nice tablecloth laid on top. If you have several tables, you can place three lit candles on each table just to give your party an more atmospheric feel.

  Afternoon Tea: the food

Afternoon tea gets sweeter when taken with snacks such as cakes and scones. Homemade is best!  Try to use fresh and good quality ingredients for better results. Sandwiches, in particular, are so easy to prepare because you only need a few loaves of bread, spreads, smoked salmon, cheeses, and some vegetable toppings. The three traditional sandwiches for an afternoon party are: cucumber, egg and salmon. They should be small, with the crust removed and cut into either fingers, triangles or squares are all popular choices. By all means, have more delicate flavours if you wish.

Pastries sweet and savoury, as well as biscuits are so comforting.  Scones, jam and clotted cream are a must. You can also throw in some cupcakes, simple cakes, fancies, mini tarts and marshmallows just to add variety.  Pending where you are in Britain, you might find local specialities on the table as well. Champagne is quite popular nowadays. A bubbly always brings a touch of glamour to any occasion. 

 Making bread

Making scones

the lightest cake batter

Champagne  Afternoon Tea

freshly made egg sandwiches and cheese and chives scones

 cucumber sandwiches and simple delightful cake

Scones and homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream

Here is the beautiful video from VisitLondon:

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