How To Organise A Tea PartyWhat you'll need:
* planning - the key to hosting an amazing soiree
* A Menu
* Decent Tea Making Skills
* Brush up on Tea Etiquette
Afternoon Tea is a great social occasion for a hostess who is not skilled enough in the kitchen to compile a more complicated menu, it is also wonderful if one is not yet confident enough to put together an event bigger than a Tea party:
* Send out invitations weeks ahead of the set date
* Only invite guests you know you'll be able to manage, this means in number and in temperament
* Prepare ahead of time but be careful not to make sandwiches more than an hour before your guests are due.
* Ensure that there is more than enough boiling water available
A typical Afternoon Tea Menu will consist of the following:
* bite size sandwiches
* a variety of cakes
* various pastries
An example of a Menu
* Chicken Mayonnaise and Avocado, Lettuce and Feta Sandwiches
* Shrimp Seafood Sauce Lettuce and Cucumber sandwiches
* Bacon, cheese and Mushroom wrap
* Cheese, salsa and Avocado Quesidillas
* Malva Pudding / Caramel Cheesecake
* Custard Eclaires
* Victoria Spongecake
* A selection of 2 or 3 fine teas
* Ice tea (in the summer or for outdoor occasions)
All this can be served buffet style, that way you can have a rest and guests can serve themselves. Don't be afraid to buy some of the treats.
This is a great opportunity to show off your best China, so ensure that you put out all your finest:
* serving platters
* tea pots
* table clothes
If your party is an outdoor occasion - prepare for a change in weather, so consider a tent.
These are really non specific but it may be worthwhile to set your guests up in small groups in circular tables. Don't forget your neat table clothes, a flower arrangement of your choice and your best accessories.
How to Make Proper Tea:
*Have a decent selection of popular teas unless the point of your Tea Party is to try the more exotic ones. 2 or 3 is enough for a party of less than 12
* Use a ceramic pot because it won't affect the taste of the tea
* Bring a kettle of fresh cold water almost to the boil. Pour a little of the water into the teapot to warm it, and then discard the water. For cleaning and warming purposes
* If you're going to use teabags : 1 tea bag per cup. If you're going to use leaves, one teaspoon of leaves for every cup you intend to serve. And an extra one just for the teapot.
* Let the tea brew for 3 to 5 minutes (this of course depends on how strong you like it)
*Pour the tea through a tea strainer into a teacup which is sitting on a saucer - lifting the cup is bad manners . Don't over fill the cup. Offer fresh milk or lemon, and sugar cubes for sweetener - or canderel for the weight watchers.
* Empty the teapot after 15 minutes of the tea will become stewed
Notes on Etiquette:
* Traditionally afternoon tea is served at 4pm and runs for no longer than 2 hours - most people are at work at that time, so for the purposes of sticking with the times - its can run between 3pm and 6pm.
* Smart casual clothing is acceptable
* Always lift both the teacup and the saucer when taking a cup of tea - it is not necessary to lift the pinky finger too.
* Take small sips
* Don't blow on the tea to cool it
* Don't slurp loudly... Actually don't slurp at all
* Use decent size tea plates
* Don't over fill your plate
* Very small, bite-size pastries can be eaten without cutlery.
* Larger pastries should be eaten with a pastry or dessert fork.
* Sliced "dry" cakes such as fruit cake or Madeira cake can be eaten by breaking off a small piece one at a time with your fingers.
When leaving the party, always thank the hostess and remember to send a thank you note shortly afterwards.
* Most of all - don't fret, enjoy the occasion
* Dilute the tea with hot water if it becomes too strong
* Popular choices of tea are Darjeeling,Earl Grey, Assam and Lapsand Souchong
* If the party is being held in the garden, it is preferable to lay the food out indoors where it will be less affected by flies and heat.
* If you don't have something, go buy it, rent it or get creative
* Get some assistance if you can't manage (note assistance and guests are not the same thing in this case)