My Instagram is no stranger to perfectly-placed flat lay shots of cozy Afternoon Tea spreads. If you know me, you know that I’m obsessed with tea, antiques and delicious treats, and going for Afternoon Tea checks off all those boxes.
My first experience with High Tea was when I planned my best friend’s bridal shower, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I mean, what’s not to enjoy about being served a tower of food and an elaborate menu of tea flavours? Creme Brûlée tea? Yes, please!
As much as I enjoy getting dressed up and going out to Afternoon Tea dates with my girlfriends, I’ve secretly always wanted to try my hand at hosting my own intimate afternoon tea.
I already have a pretty diverse tea stash to share, and I started a small collection of vintage teacups (yes, I’m an 80 year old English lady at heart, apparently). What’s the point of having cute little tea cups if I’m not putting them to use amongst friends?!
Hosting afternoon tea is such an easy and inexpensive “party” to plan. Since it’s a mid-day event, you’re not cleaning up and putting food away late at night when you’re tired (and possibly tipsy), and it’s very easy on the wallet since tea and jam don’t cost as much as beer and wine.
So when making plans with a friend I haven’t seen in so long, I thought that having her over for tea on a Sunday afternoon would be a relaxed and fun way to catch up, and a perfect opportunity for me to set-up an afternoon tea party I always wanted to host.
I didn’t have the time to bake, but even if I did, I would still reach out my favourite local pastry and confectionary shops to enhance my menu, because they’re just that amazing.
Nothing beats the fresh scones and jams from Kitten & The Bear, my ultimate favourite jam and tea shoppe in the city. As soon as you step in this adorable little family-run shop you are transported into a dreamy paradise of baked-goods. One of my favourite jams is their Strawberry, Raspberry & Cream jam (their Pear & Mulled Wine jam during Christmas time is equally as divine), so that is the one I served. For extra “high tea” effect, I placed the jam inside a small tea cup with a golden spoon, ready to be indulged like royalty.
Although Afternoon Tea and scones are traditionally English, I thought I’d mix it up a bit and add a little French flare by gracing my spread with delicious macarons from Delysées. What I love about Delysées is that each of their macaron tastes just as spectacular as it looks. You are not compromising quality and flavour over the aesthetics of a pretty pastel coloured macaron dusted with golden flakes. To compliment my summery afternoon tea, I picked up a medley of macarons flavours of Earl Grey Lavender, Lemon, Salted Caramel and Champagne.
To balance out the sweetness, I prepped a small tray of mini-croissant sandwiches. I kept it simple and light, with Boursin cheese and cucumber slices for half of the mini croissants, and a creamy egg salad I prepped that morning for the other half.
A proper Afternoon Tea calls for each person to have their own little tea pot to refill their teacup as they desire, but since I don’t have multiple tea pots, the tea flavours were presented in this dainty little tin box. To suit a variety of palates, I had Early Grey, Green Tea, Peppermint, Lavender and Jasmine teas available.
For decor, not much was needed since the spread and chinaware added colour and character on its own. The only thing I felt was needed to complete the spread was fresh flowers. I placed fresh carnations in an empty Sloane Tea tin box for a special ode to tea. The pastel green and the gold of the tin box contrasted beautifully with the bright corals and yellows of the carnation petals.
My friend was delighted with the spread of goodies that greeted her, and not one drop of jam, macaron or croissant sandwich remained at the end of the visit, which I took as a great sign. She also generously brought over homemade cherry cheesecake, and by the end the week, there wasn’t a crumb left of that either. What’s friendship if it’s not enjoying baked goods together? The only thing missing was fancy hats, but I think we just pretended we were wearing them as we sipped on our teas sitting comfortably on my couch.