Afternoon Tea Top Tips

Afternoon tea is a British tradition dating back to the mid-1800s and has since become a beloved pastime around the world. It was originally intended as a stop-gap between formal meal times but is now enjoyed as an occasional indulgence or to celebrate a special event. If you’re celebrating the Kings Coronation Bank Holiday on the 8th of May, putting on an afternoon tea could be a perfect way to bring a touch of royalty and elegance to your own home.

Afternoon tea typically involves a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of sweet treats such as cakes and pastries, all served alongside a steaming pot of tea. It is a lovely way to spend time with friends or family and to indulge in some delicious treats. To make the experience even more special, creating the perfect table setting is key.

Joules Bee Cake Stand

Here are some tips to help you create a beautiful and inviting table setting for your next afternoon tea

A beautiful table setting begins with the right tableware. Choose your favourite set of plates, cups, and saucers (if you have them), if not any selection of mugs will work just as well, along with a teapot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl, serving platters and a cake stand.

1. The setting
Elegant and timeless pieces will elevate any tea-time setting. But you don’t have to opt for a traditional setting, you can reflect you own personality by adding as much colourful or patterned tableware as you like.

2. Add some texture
A tablecloth or table runner is an excellent way to add texture to your table. You could choose a simple white or cream-colored cloth to provide a clean canvas for your decor or go for a bold colour or pattern to add some personality.

3. Set the scene with florals
Fresh flowers or greenery make a beautiful addition to any tea-time setting, by adding colour and elegance. You could choose a small bouquet of fresh flowers to place in the centre of your table or use individual stems as place settings. If you don’t have access to fresh flowers, you can always use some simple sprigs of greenery foraged from the outdoors.

Joules Bee Glass Jug

4. Personalize with place cards
Personalized place cards are a thoughtful touch that will make your tea party guests feel special. You can create simple place cards using cardstock and a pen, or you can get creative and use natural elements like leaves or small twigs to create unique and personalized place cards.

In addition to creating a beautiful table setting, it’s important to also think about the menu for your afternoon tea.

Traditional finger sandwiches with fillings such as cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg salad or ham and cheese, are a staple. Followed by, scones with clotted cream and jam, or with other spreads like lemon curd or honey depending on your preferences. Other treats might include a selection of mini quiches, mini tarts, mini cakes, or macarons.

MissPrint Teapots

You could also add a personal touch by incorporating family recipes such as grandmas beloved Victoria Sponge. Or shake up the traditions and add some unique and creative flavour combinations to your menu.

No Coronation inspired afternoon tea is complete without a delicious trifle, and there are many variations you can choose from. Although, for this truly special occasion, you can take inspiration from a Royal Celebration and make an Official Coronation Trifle. This trifle was created in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, and it’s a classic British dessert that’s perfect for an afternoon tea.

Here’s how to make the Offical Adam Handlings Strawberry and Ginger Coronation Trifle:

For the Yorkshire parkin
150g golden syrup
150g unsalted butter
40g black treacle
150g soft brown sugar
150g self-raising flour
115g oats
2 whole eggs
8g ginger, ground
1.5 tsp nutmeg, ground
1.5 tsp mixed spice

Melt the butter, syrups and brown sugar in a saucepan. Place all the dry ingredients into a mixer, on a low speed, and combine them. Add the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. Finish with the eggs and beat for 5 minutes, until smooth and pale. Bake in a lined 900g loaf tin, at 160°C, for 25 minutes

For the strawberry jelly
350g frozen strawberries,
defrosted and blended
125g caster sugar
6 gelatine leaves

Soften the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and squeeze to remove all the water. Warm the blended strawberries in a saucepan with the sugar and the gelatine. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve or coffee filter, to make the liquid become clear.

For the ginger
8 egg yolks
130g caster sugar
100g plain flour
500ml whole milk
1tsp ginger, ground

Place the milk and ginger into a saucepan and heat until just before it reaches the boil. Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together, add the flour and then add the milk. Pour into a saucepan, cook on a low heat and whisk for 5 minutes until the custard thickens. Chill down in a tray and cover with greaseproof paper, to cool.

For the cream
300g double cream, cold
50g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped

Add the icing sugar and vanilla seeds to the cream. Whip the cream to stiff peaks, then transfer to a piping bag for serving.

For serving
150g frozen strawberries,
defrosted and chopped
Nuts, chopped

Dice the Parkin into chunks and add it to the bottom of the glass. Place a few of the defrosted strawberries on top. Pour the strawberry jelly into the glass, over the defrosted strawberries and diced Parkin, and transfer to the fridge, to set. Spoon a layer of ginger custard onto the top of the jelly. Pipe dots of the cream on top, until the whole glass is covered. Garnish with the chopped nuts. And serve!

And of course, wash it all down with a selection of teas, whether it’s an English Breakfast tea, Earl Grey or herbal tea.

Afternoon tea can be a wonderful tradition that allows us to slow down and enjoy the company of others while eating some yummy food. With a little attention to detail and some creativity, you can create a beautiful and memorable experience for your guests in a way that suits you best.

Kew Mugs

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