A Buffet Style Tea Party
It is very simple to have a buffet tea at home.
When planning your floral arrangements and décor be mindful to choose scents that will not cause reactions to your guests. The flowers and decor are meant to complement your tea setting, not overpower the guests, nor interfere with the taste of the foods.
While a white linen tablecloth with matching 12-inch napkins is traditional, in our contemporary world it is also appropriate to use whimsical cloths of various materials and designs.
Set up opposite ends of the table with the teacups and saucers, teaspoons, plates, napkins, and the enhancers of sugar cubes, milk, honey and lemon slices.
One end of the table will serve the hot tea. If room allows, serve one blend each, decanted, of a black, green or oolong and herbal infusion. By serving the tea decanted there will be no need for tea strainers or slop bowls to remove the discarded tea leaves. The other end of the table will serve the hot coffee, with sugar cubes and milk/cream. Again, if room allows, offer your guests both regular and decaffeinated coffee.
In the middle, on one side of the table, have serving trays, each containing a different type of savory and finger sandwich, crusts off.
In the middle, on the other side of the table, have serving trays, each containing a different type of finger/bite size sweets. Lemon pound cake and brownies may be cut into bite-size servings.
On either a side table or next to your savory trays, set up baskets of mini, bite-size, scones, muffins and slice-finger style fruit breads. You may also include cheese sticks. Place bowls of clotted cream or Devonshire cream and jam, with small serving spoons, and bowls of large strawberries adjacent to the breads and scones.
You may use place cards on the tables to identify each item and tea served.
Sherry, port, and Champagne, if desired, may be served on trays or passed by the wait staff.
Alternatives to a long table may be to set up various smaller tables with stations of items to be served.
Remember to keep the menu simple with easy to pick up “finger foods” that do not require utensils. However, pre plated full-size slices of cake may be served, preferably with a pastry fork.
Guests may sit at tables both informally or with designated seating; or stand reception style.
A buffet tea needn’t be expensive, nor time consuming to prepare. There are many marvelous sources available by mail order and in your local supermarkets. All it takes for one to create a beautiful buffet tea party is imagination and a good guest list.
More tea inspiration:
A Proper Afternoon Tea