High Tea, a quaint British tradition in which all attending would bring cakes, sandwiches, fruits and other delectable treats around a single venue, only to present them beautifully and serve to their neighbors and friends. This simple act of sharing food and the British water (tea!) would ultimately bring whole communities together in solidarity. But nowadays this real piece of British culture is on its way out. Replaced with Starbucks and rushed lunches with colleagues. But what say we explore the process and do’s and don’ts of high tea.
What says old fashioned charm like a neatly handwritten invitation to high tea at your humble estate! Try using brown parchment paper and twine to really give an auspicious and old time grandiose feeling to your High Tea!
Our definition of causal, is totally in contrast to what was thought 100 years ago. With that in mind you will have to decide if you want to go the full nine yards and have an extremely formal set tea as was the case back in the day. Or whether you would like to scale it back to take into account the change of attitudes that have happened in the past century. In either case its important to make your guests aware of your intentions for the event.
Less is more when it comes to elegance. And High Tea is no exception. Try just simple and neutral table decoration such as a glass vase of flowers with an appropriate colored ribbon, paired with a plain white tablecloth and soft colored placemats. Allow the delicious food and the great company and the colorful cups and saucers to be all the decoration required!
While the name might give the misconception that you would have to be drinking copious amounts of tea in order to avoid the most dreaded British weapon imaginable, the disdainful look. Its actually completely down to you what drinks you serve, try to fit your guests tastes naturally, whether it’s a good old cup of British tea or a more modern honey and lemon infusion, coffee, fresh juice if these would be more to your guests liking. The world is really your oyster.
Traditionally there were three kinds of different foods offered on the iconic, tiered trays but were gerally boiled down to three different classes, Savories, Scones And Sweets and in British Upper Class culture, it is to be eaten in this order. Sandwiches or sometime small savory tarts or bakes would be served as the savory element, followed by freshly baked scones with heaps of clotted cream and jam. And finally the sweets. This is probably the most easily recognizable trait of a traditional “High Tea”, the colorful iced buns, the adorable miniature jam tarts and the absolutely divine meringues. However what creations you come up with can be totally your own ideas!
I recommend following this link for more information on the origins, history and modern attitude towards high tea.