“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Isn't it just the weather for a delightful spring tea party? For our resident High Tea Expert, Holly Herbig, every high tea includes the following crucial elements: sandwiches, tea and, of course, SWEETS! After all, without tiny morsels of delectable sweets, a high tea simply isn’t a high tea.
A high tea can be as unique as you are, whether it's an elegant affair or a wild hen’s day, or even a quirky themed dress up event.
Here are Holly's top ingredients for hosting a top-notch high tea.
1. A beautiful display
The visual display of the food is essential to creating a mouth-watering event.
Consider using the following:
Cake tiers (2 or 3 tiers)
Beautiful vintage tiers make for an elegant display, while classic white gives a clean impression.
Tablecloths or table runners
These bring the table to life, help add colour and interest and provide a backdrop for all those tasty morsels!
Claude Monet once said "I must have flowers, always and always." As well as bringing a beautiful vibrance and scent, the visual combination of flowers, tea and tiny cakes is an infallible winner!
Dainty teacups and saucers, gold cutlery, crystal and gorgeous tea pots turn your afternoon tea into a high tea fit for the Queen herself.
2. Delectable food
The key to food for a high tea is simple: make everything in tiny portions! While adding a sense of whimsy, miniature versions of cakes, sandwiches and quiches are a deceptively filling treat and will never leave you feeling empty.
Petit fours are always a winner. Never do a high tea without them!
Have a balanced plate of savouries and sweets. The volume of food in a high tea can be overwhelming and you need a balance from the potential sugar overload.
Gourmet sandwiches cut into triangles or ribbons will always be more appealing than a classic sandwich. Try vegetarian fillings or the timeless cucumber sandwich! Beautifully cut meats such as roast beef or honeyed ham always go down a treat.
Any high tea worth its weight will finish with house made scones. And…who has scones without jam and cream?
3. Plenty of drinks
While not the focus of a high tea (let’s face it, the cakes are the real hero!), drinks are a necessary element. Tea must be included, but there is so much room for creativity!
Try using flavoured black teas or bold classic teas. There is no need to stick to English Breakfast!
Herbal or green teas are also an excellent choice to soothe the palate. Choose multiple flavours of tea and share them all in gorgeous pots.
Have coffee on hand too, as not everyone is a tea drinker.
For a delightful alternative in warmer weather, sweet or soft iced teas can be most refreshing. Try peach, lemon & ginger or even a lavender lemonade.
Serve champagne! Any high tea can be turned into an extra special treat with the addition of champagne. Always serve it at the beginning, though, as by the end the guests will be so full of goodies that the glorious taste of the champagne is lost.