Friday 21 December 2012

How To Host The Perfect Christmas Afternoon Tea Party

The Perfect Xmas Afternoon Tea Party is more than easy to offer to your lovely friends and family, no matter how pushed for time you might be or how leisurely you may be in the build up to this relaxed and festive affair.

This Christmas, I wasn’t going to enter into the festive spirit without having an afternoon tea party, it would have been rude not to! Starting with an Elderflower Sparkling Drink with Fresh Cranberries for a little flavour on arrival, it's the perfect non-alcoholic beverage to kick off a civilised affair such as this ; )

Queue an invite to some very supportive Secluded Tea Party Guests as a thank you for their encouragement and inspiration throughout the year, for one reason or another. One of my lovely afternoon tea guests was even a world record breaker which I (and my fellow guests) were in awe of and very excited to hear all about. Jane received the Guinness World Record for the most people eating a good old English Cream Tea and she has an equally crazy fascination with all things Afternoon tea related... a girl after my own heart!

Two of my lovely guests had to pull out at the last moment due to illness (Feel better very soon my lovelies : ) which left us with 5 people, mostly strangers to one another, but with my introductions, they were all very quickly nattering about their love of food, social media and local business. With so much in common, the conversation did not stop, snuggled up comfortably within my very own Secluded Tea Party Boudoir (In other words, my cosy living room ; ) the chatter didn’t stop until everybody left a good few hours later.

My boudoir had been suitably decorated with a colorful tree, lots of colorful LED lights flashing around my stairwells and baubles hanging prettily from my windows... Even a candle on a vintage plate, surrounded by glittery Christmas Baubles 
(Enough *I saw You Coming* - based tat to decorate an entire grotto  - I can 
thank Pinterest for that decorational idea!

So that my guests who hadn’t been to my HQ previously could find my location, I ensured that they knew they were at the correct door by putting a little sticker of my Tea Party Logo above the doorbell, which made them all chuckle. 

No Christmas Tea Party is complete without background Music – The token play of last years’ Michael Buble Christmas Album with an added bonus of the new Rod Stewart Xmas album. What more could you ask for? ; )
If you don’t like the cheesier Christmas tunes, then you can always do what I did and go for some more relaxed Indie Tunes too.
Saying that... the conversation was so loud between guests at some points, that you couldn’t actually hear the music - That is the sign of a superb Afternoon Tea Party!

So to the Christmas Afternoon Tea menu. It wasn’t snowing today, but it has been and will most likely again very soon. So it was time to freshly bake my “Pick Me Up” Scones for a chilly Saturday Afternoon... Cranberry & Dark Chocolate with a hint of Mixed Spice.
Served with Jersey Butter Curls at room temperature or if you fancy going that little extra mile to spoil yourself, make up a batch of Orange & Cinnamon Curd to smother your warm scone with in front of a fire or Christmas tree this winter. Perfect comfort food, truly. My guests loved the Orange Curd and it made plenty for a second round of afternoon tea the following day for my mother too, of which she also adored, being a Lemon Curd fanatic.

For a savory twist, I made some of my open-top sandwiches on a gorgeous Cranberry & Pumpkin Seed Bread (Of which all guests were wanting the recipe for afterwards ; ) with a Tuna & Cucumber topping on some and Cream Cheese (Full fat of course!) and Cucumber on the others. One of my lovely guests just fancied some of the bread on its own, so I toasted it and she spread a little butter on instead which is an equally great way to enjoy this appetiser.

No Christmas Tea Party is complete without a traditional Bûche de Noël, of which mine was in fact authentically French, having cheated, but supported a local business in the beautiful Corrine at, based in Cottenham. This gorgeous creation was almost too pretty to cut into, with a French Génoise sponge filled and a chocolate ganache filling and frosted with a chocolate orange syrup & dark chocolate glaze. It was beyond amazing, I couldn’t beat it or get anywhere near, so sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself as well as your guests to something a little special at Xmas time, especially when pushed for time but still need to fill a table for your afternoon tea guests. I won’t tell anybody else I cheat, if you don’t ; )

Tea, naturally was offered from my lovely suppliers at The Kandula Tea Company, with a varied selection of loose leaf tea to choose from, there is an option for every tea drinker, be they a *normal builders tea* kind of guest... go for the Assam or English Breakfast to match their tastebuds, or the Earl Grey Drinkers... Who might enjoy this from Kandula, or their Ceylon or even Chai Tea (perfect with a dark chocolate truffle for maximum afternoon tea pleasure)
I always like to try new teas, so I like to offer them to my guests too, their pink tea also goes down very well, which is in fact a green tea to confuse and excite you. 

It doesn’t matter what tea you serve, so long as it’s a good quality, loose leaf, poured from a good pouring teapot.
A little tip, I serve my tea on a tray with a little cloth to catch any drips from the pot, it just helps to not get it over your guests or over your precious tablecloth or carpet!

By the end of my Christmas Afternoon Tea Party, there was no room left for any more food, so the cute little Mince Pies I had ready for my guests were wrapped in cellophane, along with a Christmas card and finished off with a pretty purple curled ribbon to take home for a mini tea break of their own later in the day, or for hungry husbands to nibble on and enjoy. There’s always room for Mince Pies!

What are you waiting for? 
 Make the most of this weekend, wrap up warm, invite your friends over and have a Xmas Tea Party of your very own!
... And if you do, post some photos to Facebook and show them off on our FacebookPage or leave a comment below.

Have a very Happy & Safe Xmas.

Miss Sue Flay

PS - If you fancy trying a recipe or two, one of my fabulous guests, Miss Aggie Redpath, has written a lovely guest blog post here, complete with recipes from the bearded man himself!... Give them a go if you fancy a naughty tipple on Xmas Eve!

1 comment:

  1. Looks lovely Sue, home baked bread even, goodness me you were spoiling them! Merry Christmas xx