An afternoon tea party is one of my favorite parties to give. There is a certain traditional casual elegance to it that really appeals to me. And I love how it inspires conversation among the partakers. At one point, a long time ago, I wanted to go into the afternoon tea business, catering to bridal showers and other celebrations. Over the years, I have collected quite a cache of tea party paraphanelia - a lot, I received as gifts from friends and family who appreciate my love for tea parties.
Today, I had one of those tea parties here at home for my girlfriends from my former workplace, Boise Cascade Office Products (now OfficeMax). It surprised us how much we remembered of old co-workers even going back to the mid-70s. We had quite a laugh about how different things were when we first started at Boise in 1976 - it was the time of IBM punch cards, columnar pads, cigarette smoking in the office and free health insurance.
Any way, back to the tea party. I find tea parties simple to prepare. For this one, I served two kinds of tea - Peach and Berry Nice. I use loose tea so I provided tea strainers. I used my mom's old Royal Albert Flowers of the Month tea set with the month on the cups corresponding to the birth month of my guests. They all thought this was a nice touch.
I made my scones from an old recipe and kept it plain - served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and cherry preserves. For sandwiches I made, cheese pimento, ham and pepper jack cheese with thin slices of red radish, chicken salad with thin slices of tomato, egg salad on pumpernickle bread and an open faced shrimp sandwich.
I ordered a variety of mini pastries and butter cookies from a bakery in Geneva, Illinois called Cocoa Bean . Check them out at http://www.cocoabeangeneva.com/. To round it off, I also served some Godiva chocolates and sparkling pomegranate wine.