Afternoon Tea

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Delight in bite size morsels while you sip Earl Grey from a bone china teacup and sink into your Jane Austen reading chair.  Tea time is a satisfying indulgence to take a much needed respite alone or among friends.

Photo by Madanatka, courtesy of Shutterstock.com

The pleasures of afternoon tea are to be enjoyed by children and adults. In fact, it’s a past time that each can enjoy equally with just a few minor adjustments in your menu to make each bite delectable for everyone. Here are a few menus to model for your next at home tea party.

Shrimp and Pickled Cucumber Sandwiches
Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches
Turkey Sandwiches
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Lemon Cream Scones
Classic English Scones
Classic Shortbread Cookies
Manchester Pudding Tarts
Clotted Cream
Assorted fruit preserves
Lemon Curd

A wonderful assortment of teas are available at your local grocery or Whole Foods Market. The Republic of Tea offers some great oolong, green, black and caffeine teas. They even offer special blend teas just for children that have some fruity notes. Loose and bag teas are available.

If you are fortunate enough to live near a teahouse or hotel that serves afternoon tea you are in for a treat. One of the best afternoon teas I’ve enjoyed has been in Le Salon of the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, LA. Before tea is served guests are offered their choice of punch or cocktail.

Guava Breeze (alcohol free) Fresh Guava puree, Lemon-Lime soda
Peach Tea Cooler (also available alcohol free) Iced tea blend, honey peach syrup, Grey Goose vodka
Windsor Bellini – Peach nectar, honey syrup, sparkling wine
Cajun Milk Punch (also available alcohol free) Sweet potato brown sugar syrup, milk, spiced rum
Also offered, glass of sherry, sparkling wine, chardonnay.

A traditional English Tea Service from Le Salon at the Windsor Court Hotel
Truffle egg salad sandwiches
Cucumber sandwiches
Smoked salmon sandwiches
Smoked turkey sandwiches
Curry chicken salad sandwiches
Lobster salad sandwiches
Black currant and walnut scones
Raspberry preserves, Devonshire cream, lemon curd and vanilla bean whipped cream
Miniature cake, tartlet, chocolate covered strawberry and truffle

The Windsor Court offers a large selection of fine teas. Here are a few from their afternoon tea menu.

Black teas

Fancy Ceylon
Grown from the highest slopes of Sri Lanka’s famous Nuwara Eliya Mountains. A light delicate and, mildly astringent liquor with a marvelous aroma that is always a treat for rare tea enthusiasts. By Grace Rare Tea.

Russian Caravan
A China blend resembling the luxury teas transported 11,000 miles from China to Russia in 1689-1905 by camels. Contains chiefly Keemums for body and flavour and Lapsang Souchoug for smoky overtones. By Grace Rare Tea.

Bourbon Vanilla Chai
A sweet and spicy blend of high mountain black teas. Tahitian vanilla bean, Guatamalan ginger, green cardamom, Mekong and Ceylon cinnamon, coriander, cloves, black pepper and calendula petals. By Rare Tea Cellar.

Darjeeling
Hand picked in the high Himalayas. The stimulating taste, bright colour and rich body of this tea are a true delight. By Grace Rare Tea.

Regal Earl Grey
Proprietary blend of China high mountain estate grown black tea imbued with the finest oil of Bergamot fruit from Italy. By Rare Tea Cellar

Semi Fermented teas

Formosa Oolong
Handpicked on small estates in northern Formosa (Taiwan) only once a year when flavour is at its peak. Regarded as the Champagne of teas for its delicate taste and ripe fragrance that is often likened to ripe peaches. By Grace Rare Tea.

Magnolia Blossom Oolong
Very high in antioxidants, this high mountain oolong is scented with wild magnolia blossoms for wonderful floral notes. By Rare Tea Cellar.

Green teas

Gunpowder Pearl
Hand rolled into tiny pellets that resemble gunpowder of yore. The finest of all green teas. The colour of clear amber with a tint of green, a light fragrance and a clean, lively, bright taste that is vaguely sweet and haunting. A lovely tea for contemplation and reflection. By Grace Rare Tea.

Flowery Jasmine
Closer to green than oolong tea. The leaves are picked at their flavour peak, in the spring before the rain. Held with special care until summer when the best flowers are available to impart their rare perfume. The tea of teas – extremely fine, delicate and aromatic. By Grace Rare Tea.

White tea

White Peach
A rare subtle handpicked full-leaf Chinese white tea blended with the sweet notes of peach. By Harney & Sons.

Caffeine Free teas

Darjeeling
Hand picked in the high Himalayas. The stimulating taste, bright colour and rich body of this tea are a true delight. By Harney & Sons

Berry Meritage
This fruity blend has black and red currants for fruitiness, hibiscus for tartness, rosehip chips for smoothness, and raisins for natural sweetness. By Rare Tea Cellar.

Pure Peppermint
Aside from their centuries-old reputation as a cure-all, dried mint leaves have been brewed for their aroma, refreshing flavour and cool aftertaste. By Grace Rare Tea.

Emperor’s Camomile
This Egyptian camomile is the finest-grade of biodynamic chamomile available. The elixir will relax even the busiest and most anxious person. The deep yellow liquor has a subdued, floral aroma, and a smooth taste with notes of apple. By Rare Tea Cellar