“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” ~ Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Afternoon tea is a wonderful tradition we’ve adopted from the British. While it is typically associated with bridal and baby showers, a gathering at a hotel with the ladies, or a youth’s Teddy Bear celebration at school, a number of people are actually hosting teas at home for their family and friends, and gentlemen are joining as well. The events are often traditional English teas, but also those more modern and with an international flair are being hosted, offering items such as samosas, mini quiches, dim sum, tiramisu, and baklava for example.
I prefer a more traditional menu and serve tea sandwiches (chicken salad with cilantro, sultanas, chopped walnuts and a mango chutney mayonnaise; curried egg salad; softened brie with cranberry jam and a sliced Granny Smith apple; horseradish cream cheese with Scottish smoked salmon and capers, and Boursin cheese with smoked turkey breast), scones with my version of clotted cream (whipped cream and cream cheese) and strawberry jam, shortbread, petit fours, strawberries, and maybe a carrot cake. Once I made individual portions of trifle. I’d really love to make a Prince Regent cake for my next tea.
If you live in the Princeton area, and would like to host your own afternoon tea, you have a few options.
- Host your tea at the Chauncey Hotel and Conference Center so all you’ll have to do is make a reservation, and invite your friends.
- If you’d prefer to have the event in your own home, but don’t want the work, contact Taking Tea in Style. They have a few packages to choose from. The Royalty menu includes fine china and silverware, food and tea for the perfect occasion. They can even arrange to have live music at your event for an extra fee.
- If you would like to host an afternoon tea in your home and prefer to purchase items à la carte, consider items from below to enhance your afternoon.
- Taking Tea in Style – A nice collection of loose teas. The Ice Wine Delight is delish!
- Teavana – Located in the Bridgewater Commons or Menlo Park Malls. My fave is the Samurai Chai Maté.
- Cox’s Market – They offer a wide selection of traditional and specialty sandwiches.
- Simply Nic’s Artisanal Shortbread – This is absolutely divine, and different from others. I love the Cardamon-Ginger and the Lavender shortbread.
- Jen’s Cakes and Pasteries – Their signature Lilliepies are the ultimate comfort food!
- Ladybug Luggage Gourmet Cookies and Cakes – Their cookies are gorgeous! These will surely impress the crowd!
- Halo Fête – They have a small selection of cakes and tarts.
- House of Cupcakes – A large selection of beautifully decorated cupcakes.
- The Little Pastry Chef – Wonderful cakes and tarts.
- Witherspoon Bread Company – Very nice tarts.
- Harry & David – The petit fours are a perfect size for an afternoon tea.
- Trader Joe’s – Frozen cakes and tarts from European recipes. The chocolate ganache is decadent.
“Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.” ~ Author Unknown