Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Take Time for Tea

Last Sunday, we took time for tea here at the home of yours truly.

There were 8 of us in attendance for a variation of British tea. Ignoring any hard and fast rules dictating tea-taking, I ended up combining several styles into one rather pleasant afternoon gathering.

Result: A Springtime Tea Party.

We poured our brew into pretty china teacups, ate an assortment of delectable foods and were a most convivial group, spending hours in one another's good company.

Around the communal table, we heralded the arrival of spring, new growth and the continuity of life.

Such a celebration it was!
Absolutely lovely.
Damn good.

We sipped tea and sampled morsels of delicious teatime fare served alongside the requisite scones, lemon curd, rough-cut marmalade, double Devon cream (the real deal!) and berry jam.

Such a mouth-watering array of savouries and sweets!
Not to be believed.
A little over the top. Just the way I like our food parties to be.

We started by tasting dainty spoonfuls of cream of carrot-ginger soup served in wee bowls, then continued on to devour deviled eggs, quiche and other phyllo dough covered pastries, 3 kinds of tea sandwiches (smoked salmon on cream cheese with fresh dill, curried chicken salad, thin cucumber slices with cream cheese), fresh-baked mini cupcakes and slices of rich, moist banana bread, crunchy pea pods stuffed with garlicky goat cheese, flaky palm cookies, delightful petit fours, candied ginger, chocolate pistachio toffee candy and more...

I brewed 5 different flavours of hot tea and served iced tea as well.
There were four different sweeteners (two types of sugar, Splenda and honey), lemon wedges and milk to add to the tea, if desired.

We even had a slop basin for any residual cold tea from our cups (also for spent lemon wedges and the like).

At every place setting was a decorated party favor treat box for each honored guest to take home. The treat box contained an Easter egg (dyed with natural veggie dyes), chocolate eggs and Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Call it High Tea*, if you will - I call it Full Tilt Way Boogie Woogie Big Mama Tea! Preparation was insane: cooking, dicing, slicing, baking, took several days to prep!

Setting the table alone required almost an hour's time: choosing the appropriate dishes, washing and drying the pieces...and placing everything 'just so' on the table.

Thank goodness for a little help from my friends. Guests who help are awesome and always most welcome in my kitchen!
Even with much-appreciated assistance, I had no/zero/nada time to take photographs before, during or after the party.
Nary a minute.
A cryin' shame, that is!
Hopefully, guests took pix and will share them before long.

After all was said and consumed and done - the next day - I finally did find a moment to snap a picture of some of the teapots we used before storing them away again.

This year, I have every intention to make it a point to set aside more time for the ritual of a cup of tea (and to share that time with family/friends).

In addition, I'd like to take that tea in a variety of styles.
Tea time is observed by cultures all over the world and I hope to interpret and stage my version of a few of those traditions here in the sweet comfort of home-sweet-home.

Hmmmm.....think I'll write up a menu featuring different tea styles for my little Tea Time Corner of the dining room (really and truly, there is such a designated area).
Will include English-style tea time ~ and more.

Y'all come over for a cuppa sometime soon, OK?
(Do bring something to add to our tea time - I ain't doin' all the woik no mo'!)

* Interestingly enough, 'High Tea' (aka 'Meat Tea') was what the English working class had as their evening meal and 'Low Tea' was enjoyed by the well-to-do as an afternoon picker-upper (on a low table).


jessamynit said...

that sounds SO lovely! I have been meaning to bring double Devon (husband) by for a visit sometime... this summer maybe?

baffle said...

Yes Yes.
We'll have TEA!

Especially with double double Devon.
(Funny, because I actually did think of your Devon when I announced to my guests that we had double Devon cream on the table for the scones and banana bread.)

Of course you should visit - it is meant to be!