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Hosting a Traditional Tea Party

One of my favorite types of events to host, or attend as a guest, is a tea. I personally have had many types of teas around the world. Here in the Valley, my favorite place

to have tea is at The Phoenician. They have it in the lobby every day during tea time, 2:00 to 4:00, of course.

I host tea parties for my lady friends and their daughters and granddaughters at my home from time to time.

A great way to host a tea for large groups is to have table hosts. That host would supply all the teacups, saucers, tiered stands, luncheon plate, butter plate and spreader, and the teapots for their own table.

A traditional tea would start with the hot and cold tea. The tea- pots could have the hot water. Also include a small assortment of tea bags or loose tea with tea balls. Offer a bowl of sugar, lemon wedges, honey, and cream. A nice mint cold brew is a good option for children or for those who don’t care for hot tea.

The first food course would be a couple of varieties of small scones. I prefer lemon blueberry, cinnamon, current with lemon curd, or Devonshire cream and jam.

Next comes three to five kinds of tea sandwiches. Options include cucumber and butter with dill, chicken salad, egg salad, asparagus and prosciutto, beef and watercress ... and the list goes on. If you’re having kids, plan a few they like: cream cheese and straw-berries, Nutella and banana, and pimento cheese. I like to plan four or five small sandwiches per person.

Then the sweets. Tiny, bite-sized, decadent sweets. My rule of thumb is to cover the basic three: something fruit, something like cheesecake, and something chocolate. Plan three or four per person.

Serve the tea in courses, never buffet style. It’s all about taking your time, visiting, and nibbling.

I like to suggest to my guests to wear a hat, just for the fun of it, and maybe white gloves. Think Jackie O!