It's Afternoon Tea Week!
The traditional afternoon tea is a British staple, combining sweet and savoury like no other dish can. As we celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, 8th – 14th August, we're feeling inspired to recreate our own afternoon tea at home.
Follow our simple tips to recreate this British classic at home this summer.
1. Set the time and the location!
Your place or mine? Will you enjoy your afternoon tea in the great outdoors or from the safety of your own home? Will your guests arrive early and stay beyond the meal? Have you considered entertainment or decided where you'll sit to allow you to be the perfect host? These are just some of the factors that you'll need to consider.
2. Plan the menu
When preparing an afternoon tea to be enjoyed at home, not only can you surprise your guests with a beautifully presented selection of treats (on a serving platter of your choosing), but you can also make sure that those treats are perfect for your guests.
Would your guests prefer fruit or plain scones? Or perhaps they would prefer toasted tea cakes to scones? When playing host, the choice is yours.
Here are a few of our suggestions:
- Fruit scones
- Blueberry scones
- Miniature bite-size scones
- Apricot and almond whipped cream scones
- Spring onion and bacon scones
- Cheese scones
Have you thought about sandwich fillings? There are so many options but these are our favourites:
- Smoked salmon and cream cheese
- Coronation chicken
- Ham and cheese
- Cheese and pickle
Do any of your guests have a sweet tooth? Would your guests prefer fruity desserts or chocolate ones? As soon as you answer these simple questions you can then perfectly tailor your menu for everyone!
3. Store bought vs home-made
The age old dilemma! Whilst some people are confident to work their magic in the kitchen, others are somewhat more limited in the baking department, but still want to recreate that traditional afternoon tea experience at home. If that sounds like you, then of course you can buy a variety of delicious sweet and savoury treats from your local bakery or supermarket.
Many people like to find a nice balance by opting for a mix of home-made and shop-bought items to simplify the experience.
If you opt for shop-bought then you may want to indulge a little more in decoration and the cake stand.
If you to decide to make some home-made sweet treats then we recommend a mix of larger and smaller cakes. Larger cakes are much easier to prepare in advance and slice on the day, whereas smaller cakes can be fiddlier and more time-consuming.
4. Set the scene
Make the occasion extra special by bringing out your finest crockery for a traditional feel. Or for something more contemporary, double-walled coffee glasses are a great alternative and a lovely way to serve hot drinks!
You may decide to create a theme, perhaps opt for a summer theme or a Mad Hatters tea party?
Will you be serving a glass of fizz? If so, we recommend some stylish glasses fit for the occasion.
5. How to create a cake stand effect
You may already have a selection of your finest plates and cutlery to showcase your afternoon tea, or perhaps you’d like to buy some affordable or even disposable one-time-use presentation plates and stands.
You can pick up a cardboard cupcake stand for around £10 from a local craft store or from an online retailer. Perhaps buy some paper doilies for that nostalgic touch. If you’re making cupcakes, you can pick up some characterful cupcake cases in most supermarkets.
Reusable cake stands are typically made of plastic, slate or glass and aren’t dissimilar in price to their cardboard equivalent, so we’d recommend spending a few extra pounds extra so you can reuse the stand in the future. Cake stands can even be used as a great way to present a cheese board.
Failing that, you could always just use the plates you already have at home with some accompanying paper doilies and bunting!
6. Be prepared
To help you enjoy your perfect afternoon tea, it pays to be prepared, so we recommend preparing everything well in advance of your guests arrival.
If your guests are arriving at different times, keep everything covered until you are ready to eat. You could either keep everything in airtight containers and then lay them out when you are all ready to eat, or (depending on the cake stand(s) you have used) cover everything tightly with clingfilm.
Remember to keep certain food items refrigerated until you’re ready to eat.
Allocate enough time to get yourself ready, as with any event you host, you’ll find yourself far more relaxed if you only have the table and final-touches to the food to prepare on the day, so complete any housework and cooking the day before wherever possible. Make sure you are dressed and ready for your guests a couple of hours before they are due to arrive. Once you are dressed in your hosting best, you can then start to complete those important finishing touches.
7. Waste not want not
Although considered a potentially lighter alternative to a full dinner, a 3-course afternoon tea can still weigh heavy on your stomach. Some of your guests may ask to take home any leftovers, which is always a great sign that you have done well! So why not have some simple Tupperware containers ready for your guests to transport any leftovers home to be enjoyed at a later time.