High tea is regarded as an extremely British tradition and the height of refinery and sophistication. At the mention of “high tea”, your mind conjures up images of English gentry, the famous scene from Alice in Wonderland, Victorian décor and pinkies stuck up in the air. Well, you aren’t wrong! High tea was an elaborate and elegant affair, as was customary, but today, an afternoon tea party can include a dozen people with a lavish spread or be as simple as a pot of tea with some cookies. No matter the occasion – a birthday party, bridal shower or simply to spend time with your friends, a high tea party fits the bill. Whatever your reason, here’s how you can host the perfect high tea party!
Pick a theme
This first step is highly essential to ensuring your high tea party is a hit. Go the Alice in Wonderland way and have a Mad Hatter’s Tea party. This will allow you to use mismatched tea sets and your guests can get experimental with their outfits. A potluck theme party will take some pressure off you, as your guests will be in charge of the food. Or keep things classic with a garden tea party. Decorate tables with flowers and your guests can dine amidst nature. Deciding on your theme early on will help you in creating the perfect invitation and figuring out the décor.
Start your planning
Now with a fixed theme in mind, the real planning can begin. First, start a guest list of everyone you’d like to invite to your fabulous event. Then, it’s time to scout for the perfect venue. Will it be your garden? Your dining room? A restaurant or a hotel? The amount of space available can also decide the guest list or vice versa. And make sure you send out your invitation at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance so your guests will have plenty of time to plan.
High tea essentials
A three-tiered cake stand is quintessential to a high tea party and a must-have. You can even bring our your grandmother’s fine china set. Crockery and cutlery with floral patterns are the most desirable and will give your high tea party a whimsical feel. Go the extra mile and invest in some napkin rings, white linen or lace tablecloth, with paper or fabric doilies as coasters, and of course the most essential item on the table – your teapot. Make sure you have plenty of serviettes around as finger food (which we will discuss next!) can get messy.
Preparing the food
Catering at a high tea party is all about finger food and a perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Use your tiered cake stand and load it up with finger sandwiches. While cucumber sandwiches are a must, you can also experiment with ham and cheese, salmon and cream cheese or egg sandwiches. Don your chef’s hat and come up with a myriad of options to delight your guests. Once you’re done with the savoury, move on to the delicious pastries. These will include cupcakes, cookies, macaroons and any other confectionery of your choice, not forgetting another indispensable high tea item – freshly baked scones! Be sure to serve them along with plenty of fresh jam and clotted cream.
The almighty cuppa
The primary beverage of choice at a high tea party is without a doubt, a freshly brewed pot of tea. However, don’t let that stop you from serving coffee or other beverages that your guests might enjoy. If you’re throwing a summer tea party, a good idea would be to switch regular tea with iced tea, so your guests feel refreshed in the summer heat. For a more formal affair, brew your tea right before everyone sits down. Use classic flavours like Earl Grey, English Breakfast and green tea. Just like wine, tea can also be paired with foods to bring out its flavours. Consider serving different types of teas, maybe one each for your sweet and savoury food. For a more casual affair, you can place a box of assorted tea bags at the centre of the table, and your guests can take their pick.
Monsoon Hi-tea at Waterside
Want to experience the best of a high tea party minus the effort? Then head over the Waterside at Feathers Hotel for their Monsoon Hi-tea! Sip on some comforting garam chai and munch on some savoury Indian treats while the on-going monsoon brings music to your ears! Take your pick from unlimited beverages like South Indian filter coffee, sukku malli kapi, masala tea, elaichi tea and masala milk while you gorge on some scrumptious mini samosas, vadas and bondas. Make the most of this monsoon season at Feathers Hotel. You can also read our blog on things to do while waiting for the weekend.