Coffee & Tea

Tea party: report and advice


Coffee & Tea 20

Tea party: report and advice

Ruth Lafler | Feb 9, 2009 09:58 AM

I was inspired to invite several of my chowish "girlfriends" over for tea Sunday. My thought was that it would be fun to have a chance to use my nice china and have a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Of course, me being me, I turned it into a foodie extravaganza! By the time I was done I'd gone through almost three pounds of butter!

The menu:

Tea sandwiches:

Carrot-ginger on white (cut into fingers)
Salmon-dill spread and cucumber on rye (cut into circles)
Extra-sharp white cheddar and onion chutney on brown (cut into triangles)
rabbit hazelnut pate on slices of baguette


Cream scones with homemade meyer lemon curd (and various jams)
Cinnamon tea cake
Mince tartlets
Chocolate "mousse" in mini shortbread tart shells garnished with cocoa nibs
Oatmeal shortbread
Cherry-Almond bread with Amaretto glaze

A selection of teas, from white to black -- I turned this over to my sister and Windy (the tea mavens), who organized them from lightest to heaviest, brewed them appropriately and suggested food pairings!

I was really happy with the way all the sweets turned out. I used a chowhound tip of freezing the butter and using the microplane to grate it into the dough for the scones and it worked well (I've always been intimidated by recipes that call for cutting in the butter!). The oatmeal shortbread is an old standby. I had homemade mincement in the cupboard from last year and made tartlets with pie dough in a minimuffin tin. Same with the shortbread shells that I filled with faux chocolate mousse (actually just whipped cream and dark chocolate). The cinnamon tea cake was rich and cinnamony and the cherry-almond bread was nice and almondy.

I was less happy with the sandwiches, though. I'd had carrot-ginger at tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC and they were delicious, but this recipe was lacking something (perhaps some lemon juice to sharpen the flavors a little). The salmon turned out different than I expected and I didn't actually try it myself, so someone else will have to comment. My favorite was the cheddar-onion chutney (using onion chutney my sister made).

Does anyone have any great finger/tea sandwich recipes? Any other tips for great recipes for a tea party?

I didn't take any pictures, but Melanie did, so hopefully she'll post them.

Recipe links:

Cherry Almond bread:

Cinnamon teacake:

Cream scones:

Meyer lemon curd:

Shortbread tart shells: (I used a filling of 1 cup heavy cream, whipped and folded with four ounces of melted medium dark chocolate)

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