During these trying times of political turmoil, both international and domestic, one may wonder why the nuances of etiquette, protocols and the rituals of afternoon tea hold any relevance in today’s world. The genres of fine dining and teatime ceremony were born to foster friendship and community. When one understands the unspoken rules of communication there are no misunderstandings and the bonds between one another are strengthened. Civility is a powerful tool to build upon.
2022 is the year the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of HRH Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne of Great Britain. I had the pleasure of first “meeting” The Queen in 1954 on Christmas morning when I received my Madame Alexander Coronation Doll.
Whilst I only was one of hundreds to be in the presence of HRH Prince Charles in the 1980s and Princess Diana respectively in the 1990s at two separate events, I did have the privilege of being invited to an intimate tea reception for the then HRH Prince Harry on his first official visit to America in May 2009.
The Platinum Jubilee will entail many festive activities. I can’t think of a better way to begin springtime than to incorporate the violet theme into a tea party to honor Her Majesty.
Violet Theme Afternoon Tea Ideas
There are so many ways one can utilize the violet theme into an afternoon tea via color, flavor and décor. Violets, pansies and lavender are all good choices whether in edible flowers fresh or sugared, royal or buttercream icings, extracts and oils to enhance cakes, scones, butter, crème, tea or to top savories and sweets.
The three courses of an afternoon tea are finger foods that begin with sandwiches and savories, followed by scones and tea breads. Berries with an assortment of sweets and nuts are the third course. If using a three- tier stand the scones are placed on top, the savories are in the middle and sweets are on the lower tier.
To be true to The Queen’s favorite, serve Earl Grey tea, either a black or green blend. Pictured are a few samples to inspire you.
Afternoon Tea Savories Topped with Edible Violas and Pansies
Lavender Butter is a nice, light touch for a freshly baked scone. Soften any butter of your choice. Add fresh lavender and mix together. Wrap in cellophane and place into the refrigerator. When ready to use remove from the refrigerator and allow the butter to soften.
½ – tsp. butter, for greasing the pan; 8 Oz. Rich tea biscuits or sweet cookies; 4 Oz. unsalted butter, softened; 4 Oz. granulated sugar;
4 Oz. dark chocolate; 1 egg.
8 Oz. dark chocolate, for coating; 1 Oz. chocolate, for decoration.
- Lightly grease a 6-inch-by-2½-inch cake ring with the butter and place on a tray on a sheet of parchment paper.
- Break each of the biscuits into almond size pieces by hand and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until the mixture starts to lighten.
- Melt the 4 ounces of the dark chocolate and add to the butter mixture, stirring constantly. Add the egg and beat to combine.
- Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all of the gaps on the bottom of the ring because this will be the top when it is un-molded.
- Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand.
- Meanwhile, melt the 8 ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler or saucepan on the stovetop over low heat. Slide the ring off the cake and turn it upside down onto a cake wire. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a palette knife.
- Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature. Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a tea plate. Melt the remaining 1 Ounce of chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake.
Courtesy of Chef Darren McGrady, The Royal Chef.
2022 ©Ellen Easton- All Rights Reserved
Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions(RED WAGON PRESS), an afternoon tea authority, lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included the Waldorf=Astoria, the Plaza and Bergdorf Goodman. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.