British High Tea Party
Thinking of going traditional? You can't go wrong with a traditional British High Tea Party. This party idea stems from the English tradition of serving tea and some light refreshments in the late afternoon, around four or five o'clock. This meal intended to fill in the gap between lunch and dinner. In British culture, this is called "Low Tea", but it is known here in North America as "High Tea". A basic High Tea menu includes:
- Scones - Sticking to your basic plain Scone is a great idea, as it allows you and your guests to better appreciate the jams and clotted cream.
- Assorted Pastries - Think small, bit-sized pastries such as Mini Eclairs, Cream Puffs and Lemon Cakes.
- Tea Sandwiches - Your traditional options are made from high-quality white bread (with no crust) and filled with either cucumber/cream cheese, smoked salmon/cream cheese, egg/mayonnaise, ham/mustard.
- Clotted Cream - Clotted Cream, also called Devonshire cream, has the consistency of soft butter, but with a lighter and sweeter flavour. It is made by baking high-fat cream in the oven for several hours. Clotted Cream may be difficult to find in stores, and can be challenging to make at home. However, it is a real treat if you are having this type of party.
- Jams - Get 1 or 2 high-quality jams options, such as orange marmalade and wild berry to layer on your Scones. These will go along with the Clotted Cream on your Scones.
- Loose-Leaf Tea - Having higher-quality leaves will make a huge difference. Try to have an assortment of 2 to 3 different varieties for your guests to sample. Any types will do, but some High Tea Party favourites include the aromatic Earl Grey, the malty Assam, and the delicious Darjeeling.
All you need now are some teacups and a teapot. Finer china cups and pots can get expensive, but there are quality, low-priced options that will add an elegant touch to your High Tea Party.
Indian Tea Party
If you are looking to add some deep, exotic flavours to your tea party, why not hold an Indian Tea Party? Inspired by the sights and flavours of the South-East Asian continent, what you'll need for this Tea Party includes:
- Chai - "Chai" is the Hindi/Urdu word for "Tea". It has many versions, but the most popular one involves over-steeping black tea with cinnamon, star of anise, cloves and allspice. The drink is usually finished off with milk. Instead of making it from scratch, you can buy delicious pre-made mixes. This will be the cornerstone of your Indian-themed party, so be sure to use a high-quality mix!
- Samosas - Samosas are stuffed and fried dough pastries. They are flavoured with a South-East Asian spices. They come in meat and vegetarian varieties and are bit-sized, making them perfect for even larger parties! Serve with chutney (a tangy sauce made with yoghurt blended with cilantro and mint).
- Mithai - If you haven't yet tried this Ind0-pakistani style of treats, you don't know what you are missing! These sweets are made from crushed nuts, cream and sugar. They are very sweet and dense. They are popularly eaten during any variety of celebrations, including weddings, baby showers and family gatherings. You can find Mithai at many Indo-Pakistani grocers, or buy any of the frozen varieties available in many stores.
- Salad - to balance out the richness of the Mithai and Samosas, definitely make sure you have a side of leafy-greens to munch on. Indian/Pakistani-style salad is very simple: combine roughly-chopped lettuce, tomato, carrots and red onions with no salad dressing. Serve with chutney sprinkled on top!
You don't have to use any special teapots or teacups for and Indian style Tea Party, so serve this Tea Party with any set you have on hand!
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Moroccan Tea Party
My final Tea Party Idea is from the beautiful and culturally rich land of Morocco. Moroccan food is fresh, flavourful but not as overwhelming as Indian food may be for some. To host a Moroccan tea party, here is what is absolutely needed:
- Moroccan Mint Tea - Definitely one of the world's most refreshing and tastiest teas. It is made by using Gunpowder Green Tea and adding fresh Mint leaves. The resulting tea is sweetened with white sugar and served hot. Traditionally, it is served in small glass cups out of a sliver teapot.
- Baklava - This is a traditional Arab pastry served at a variety of celebrations. It is made from Phyllo pastry, nuts, honey and can be easily found in a variety of Middle Eastern stores.
- Dates - No Moroccan party is complete without an offering of dates. Dates are extremely popular in the Arab and Muslim world, and have a delightful honey flavour.
- Oranges with Cinnamon (Limun bel-Qerfa o khayezzou) - Freshen up the food offerings with this traditional Moroccan dessert. Simply cut an orange into 1/4 inch slices and arrange them on a plate. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of cinnamon.
While you're munching on these yummy treats above, why not turn on some Arabic tunes and do some belly dancing as well?
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Tea Party Wrap-Up
That brings me to the end of my discussion on Tea Party ideas. Tea Parties are a great way to connect with friends and family around an almost universally enjoyed beverage. I hope that you found this article informative and inspirational. Leave comments below if you have other ideas!