Every January for several years now, my husband and I have hosted our annual Winter Tea. It's a way to extend the celebrations after the holidays, and to bring our friends together for genteel conversation and warmth during the bleakest season.
The furniture needs to be rearranged for more convivial conversation, so we gather our chairs around a table where we place all the sweets! We usually hold our tea as an open house between noon and 5:00 so our guests can come and go to suit their schedules. Soft, classical and light music plays in the background as the guests arrive.
Their first stop is the kitchen, where the kettle is always on and the selection of teas is plentiful. Each guest selects his/her cup and saucer, and we encourage them to try as many teas as they wish throughout their visit! Some guests like to gather in the kitchen, and others congregate around the sweet table in the other room.
In the past we have prepared finger sandwiches for the guests who arrive first. But this year we just served sweets. Sometimes I do some baking of cookies or sweet breads and cakes, but this year we purchased mostly store bought. I'm particularly fond of the scone mix I use. It is from a company called Sticky Fingers, and all you need to add is water, and you have fresh-baked scones in 15 minutes! I also make my own Devonshire cream, which is 8 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar whipped together. That and blueberry jam is heavenly on the scones!
We had a great turnout this year, and everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves. Hosting a tea is a great way to catch up with your friends. It's an old fashioned, elegant event with modern and casual hospitality. I'm in favor of bringing back the Victorian Tea as a standard form of entertainment. Why don't you host a tea sometime soon?
My mom and husband enjoying the tea!