A Modern Mother’s Day Tea Party

Skip the frilly cards and stale bouquets. CHOW’s all-new, all-improved afternoon tea is the perfect modern Mother’s Day treat: fun, momlike without being prissy, and delicious. Demonstrate your devotion with from-scratch buttermilk cream–filled tartlets and homemade rhubarb compote for the scones. Not so skilled in the cooking department? Mom still loves you! Buy a nice jar of preserves for the scones, and spread store-bought hummus on your cucumber and lemon tea sandwiches and ready-made chutney on the cheddar ones. We’ve also got some tea pairings, courtesy of our tea expert, James Norwood Pratt, author of New Tea Lover’s Treasury and The Tea Lover’s Companion. Mom will be so impressed, she won’t even mention your bad manners.

Pick one tea you like, or two. Steep and enjoy.

South Indian Nilgiri black tea is sprightly, medium-bodied, and flamboyantly fragrant, with an appetizing greenness to the flavor. Available at Chadotea.com.

Chinese Lapsang Souchong has a smokiness like Scotch or Irish whiskey: syrupy, rich, and a powerful ally of salmon, dill, pickles, and chutney. Available at Jing Tea or Mark T. Wendell.

North Indian Darjeeling black tea captures Darjeeling’s elusive “muscatel” flavor: delicate and complex. Available at Upton Tea Imports.

Chinese Jasmine Yin-Hao and Jasmine Pearls are handmade and intensely scented. For the best flavor, they must be steeped for less than two minutes in water about 30 degrees below boiling. Get them at SpecialTeas.

Taiwanese Bai Hao (also known as Formosa Oolong or Oriental Beauty) Oolong tea is famous for its “peach pit” aroma and flavor, and it has no astringency or bitterness. Find it at Imperial Tea Court.

Tableware courtesy of Kárikter and Crate & Barrel.

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