Menus for tea parties are the key to a successful experience. I’ve had 7 years in preparing menus for my tea room and have discovered a few basic rules. It’s fun to plan the menu around a theme, but be careful not to get too carried away. What you enjoy and love to eat, may not be exactly what your guests enjoy. Feel free to be creative but always keep your guests in mind. While a themed tea for Cinco de Mayo sounds like a great idea, if your guests aren’t wild about Mexican food, it may not be a big hit. However, if your guests love to eat spicy dishes, then it’s fine. Just remember who you are inviting.
Because my customers have such varied tastes, and I do not always know their preferences, my staff and I have determined these guidelines when preparing our menus.
First, decide what kind of tea party you are having. Will it be a dessert tea or the entire “full” afternoon tea? Will you serve your guests individually, on 3 tiered trays or will it be buffet style?
Next think about the menu. I love creating menus for tea parties. Search through old cookbooks, family recipes and magazines. Don’t worry if it doesn’t specifically say, “tea sandwich,” keep your mind open to new ideas and tastes.
Be careful not to use the same ingredient in everything throughout your tea party menu-especially nuts, garlic, seafood, fruit and the same spices. Think about your guests’ tastes and possible allergies. Unless you know them extremely well, plan your menu around someone not liking a certain ingredient. For example, if you use pecans in the Jamaican Banana Scone, don’t use nuts in the other scone. If you are using cinnamon, don’t use it in all of your desserts.
Color is another important element when planning your menus for tea parties. Use a variety of breads-dill rye, dark rye, buttermilk, white, wheat all work well for tea sandwiches.
Use a different shape or look for each sandwich-open-faced, closed, cut out, etc. Choose different garnishes for each one.
For sample menus ideas, click here.
Check out our newest book, Twelve Teas to Remember. In here you will find afternoon tea party menus with recipes and tips all designed around each month.
You will have a successful tea party experience when you keep menus for tea parties in mind!