Afternoon tea catering doesn’t need to be stressful. Read our top tips for serving the best British Afternoon Tea and give your guests a party to remember!
Afternoon Tea is a great British tradition, introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon and would ask that a tray of tea, bread & butter and cake be brought to her room. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her and so the traditional Afternoon Tea was born.
An Afternoon Tea party is suitable for many celebrations from baby showers, weddings, birthdays, a graduation or even just a catch up with friends.
The trick to good afternoon tea catering is to have the food prepared before your guests arrive, the only thing you will need to serve is the tea itself, giving you time to relax and enjoy the party.
What you will need for your Afternoon Tea party:
- Scones (preferably homemade)
- Finger Sandwiches
- Sugar Cubes
- Teacups, saucers and spoons
- A selection of teas
- Lemon Slices
- Selection of cakes
- 3 tiered stand to serve on
- Preparing for your Afternoon Tea party
- Decide on your guest list and send out invites. The invites can be very casual or formal, depending on the type of celebration.
- Purchase your Afternoon Tea accessories for your party. You don’t necessarily have to buy your tea set; there are local companies that offer a hire service especially for these types of occasions.
Afternoon Tea Catering
Planning your menu is the important part and the most fun. There will be three courses that you will need to plan for;
First Course: Sandwiches
There are no rules when it comes to the sandwich fillings but it’s always best to keep it quite light and delicate so easier to serve. The traditional white bread and cucumber sandwiches are still popular. Other traditional favourites are:
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, Egg and Cress, Tuna…
TOP TIP: Use good quality bread and a light spreading of butter to prevent the bread from going soggy. Only serve four to five different sandwich fillings and always cut the crusts off then cut your sandwiches into three fingers.
Second Course: Scones with Jam and Cream
Serve fresh clotted cream with fruit scones and a handmade jam.
TOP TIP: Scones are best served warm.
Third Course: Cakes
It’s entirely your preference when it comes to the cakes. Éclairs are always a popular choice as well as chocolate cupcakes, rich fruit cake and marbled coffee cake.
TOP TIP: The three courses are best presented on a 3 tiered stand.
Selecting the tea itself
Use your favourite tea leaf type in a pot with a strainer, never use teabags. The list below contains some of the top teas to include.
Earl Grey Tea, Assam Black Tea, Darjeeling Black Tea, Chamomile Tea
TOP TIP: Pop in the sugar first, this is because the sugar will melt before you add the cold milk allowing for better taste and ALWAYS add the milk after the tea. While you drink your tea, think superior thoughts and lift your little finger!
A few little facts that you may not have known about Afternoon Tea
- As a nation we drink 165 million cups of tea per day
- The world’s most expensive Afternoon Tea is priced at £550 for two at Cliveden House, Berkshire
- The Teabag was born in 1904
- If you would prefer to just enjoy the party (and we don’t blame you) and not worry about planning the menu, we can help.
We have three different but equally delicious Afternoon Tea menus to choose from. Not only do we provide the food, we can also provide the necessary equipment to make your afternoon tea catering experience extra special and so that you don’t have to worry about a thing.
For more information please visit our Afternoon Tea Page or call Nick on 01502 573457.