Be sure to click on each of the links below to see elegant pictures of items for tea parties.
Afternoon Tea… Low Tea…High Tea… Many caterers, party planners, tea rooms, hotels and protocol and etiquette “experts” are confused on the time of day for each type of tea party. Below explains the difference between Elevenses, Afternoon Tea, Low Tea, High Tea,and Dinner.
AFTERNOON TEA– Usually held the late afternoon it is referred to as “low tea” because it is normally enjoyed while using low tables (such as coffee tables or tea tables) and a dainty meal of tea, scones, finger sandwiches and sweets.
An Afternoon Tea can be given for bridal or baby showers, retirement parties, a birthday or graduation parties, in honor of visiting friends, new neighbors, anniversary party, a housewarming, entertaining business clients, fund raising events, graduation, holiday, post-wedding, just catching up with good friends, or as fun way to teach children etiquette.
Food, having been prepared before your guests arrive, can be presented buffet style or can be as casual as a pot of tea and some cookies. The only thing you need to serve is the tea itself.
The three basic types of Afternoon, or Low Tea:
- Cream Tea- Tea, scones, jam and cream
- Light Tea – Tea, scones and sweets
- Full Tea – Tea, savories, scones, sweets and dessert
HIGH TEA– American hotels and tea rooms, unfamiliar with the tradition, incorrectly refer to afternoon tea as “high tea” offering tidbits of fancy pastries and cakes on delicate china. In reality “high tea”, or “meat tea” is dinner with heartier fare than the tea sandwiches and scones. A true high tea, is a a light elegant yet full evening meal served between a light lunch and late dinner. Fare includes at least one meat or fish, bread and butter, potatoes or vegetables) complete with an assortment of teas and a dessert, such as a cake or trifle.
DINNER– Dinner is the evening meal served at the end of the day.
WHAT TO SERVE:
- Teas, such as green, black, Earl Grey and herbal teas. Accompany with cream, sugar, artificial sweetener and lemon slices along with a choice of iced tea, lemonade and ice water.
- Pastries, such as scones, biscuits, croissants, petit-fours, cupcakes and sweets
- Finger sandwiches. (Suggestions: Egg Salad, Cucumber and Cream Cheese, Chicken Salad, Smoked Salmon, Ham Salad, Marmalade, Tuna Salad, Watercress and Goat Cheese, Cucumber Mint) Many times the hostess will choose to remove the crust from the bread.
Many in-store bakeries and delis have pastries and sandwiches available or will allow you to special order.
A Tea is a tradition of refinement and elegance so use your best– whatever it is: bone china, tea cups, tea service in silver, trays, cake stands, servers, tea caddies, tea strainers, teapots, tea tables flowers and linens to add polish and grace to the occasion.
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An article I love: tea and civility