Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Tea

A variety of delicious sweets for our tea

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.

Tea cups waiting to be used

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.

Tea accessories

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!

Scones

Devonshire cream and blueberry jam

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?

Enjoying the tea
My mom and husband enjoying the tea!

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21 Comments:

Blogger Dana and Daisy said...

pretty! delicious! and a novel idea!

i participated in a tea last spring for the historical society. It was so fun seeing all the different tables. You might consider doing something like this as a fund raiser in your community, too! It was a huge success.

January 25, 2010 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger KeKe said...

Your tea cup collection is just beautiful. I love the little dish with the lemons and the pink bowls too~Heck, I love everything!! lol

January 25, 2010 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger The Victorian Parlor said...

It sounds wonderful!!! I usually host two teas a year for my friends. None of my friends are Victorians but they have a great time all the same (every girl loves a good tea party no matter how old she is:). I am going to try your clotted cream recipe-it sounds delicious!

Blessings,

Kim

January 25, 2010 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger tales from an oc cottage said...

Scrumptious!!!

m ^..^

January 25, 2010 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Dana & Daisy-

What a great idea! Actually, our historical society puts on a tea every year to raise funds. It's a lot of fun. People dress up, and they give demonstrations on something Victorian that might be of interest, while you're consuming your tea and desserts.

-Pam

January 27, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Keke-

I love teacups! I started collecting years ago, but had to stop because I had too many. It was the main reason I started having tea parties... just to get some use out of all my teacups!

-Pam

January 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Kim-

I knew you were a tea party kind of gal! The clotted cream/Devonshire cream recipe is something I found on the internet. Buying the real thing here in the states is virtually impossible, and very pricy. In England, they use special milk from special cows. I made sure I tasted some when I went to England a few years ago!

-Pam

January 27, 2010 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

O.C.-

Thanks for visiting! Love your chintz teacups! I'll have to do some more looking at your blog!

-Pam

January 27, 2010 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Christine L. Mitchell said...

How did I miss the Tea??? Looks and sounds delightful!

When I was stationed in England, I really enjoyed the habit of tea and lately I've been enjoying it again. I actually got Donnie to have a cup. He loved it and I was shocked! Would have loved to have had your spread to go with it!

January 27, 2010 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

Super idea...had a Victorian Tea years ago..and so enjoyed it..about 30 ladies came and I took each one into my Portrait Studio and photographed them on my Swing that I had in there..and they loved having that done.
Each one in all their FINERY..which was a "requirement" to attend the event. Large HATS and all.
Love coming to your blog..and enoying all your photo's..and your blog background...JUST LOVE IT.

Rose
http://delightfulclutter.blogspot.com/

January 28, 2010 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

There is nothing like hosting a tea! Tea foods are so much fun and I love the tea accroutements as well!

January 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger BumbleVee said...

I'm so lazy about entertaining...but, if I get an invitation...I love to go. Even happy to take baking...but, doing here at home.... nyeh... always seems too much like work to me. ... I'm terrible...

I love all your pretty teacups....I only have 3, but they are special...they were my Mom's...

must try your recipe for the clotted cream...it sounds yummy...

January 29, 2010 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Christine-

My husband and I have both always enjoyed tea. Is Donnie a coffee drinker? I enjoy coffee now and then, but it's tea that I drink every day!

-Pam

January 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Rose-

Thank you for the nice comments! I would love to see the photos you took of your lady friends in your portrait studio. That sounds like it was a very special and memorable Tea!

-Pam

January 30, 2010 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Martha-

I looked at your site and just loved it! I'll have to look back at your older posts, but it sure looks like my kind of thing!

-Pam

January 30, 2010 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

BumbleVee-

I know what you mean about entertaining... it usually is a lot of work. But it's a great motivator for cleaning the house! Actually, hosting a tea is a very easy way to have a gathering. You don't have to do any baking if you don't want, you can do it buffet style, and there aren't that many dishes and minimal silverware to wash after. You can make it as fancy or as simple as you want. For me, it's a lot easier than hosting a family holiday meal!

-Pam

January 30, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Sea Witch said...

How lovely a spread. I adore tea and often will take high tea with my sister whenever we can. I just found our lovely blog and am really enjoying it. Sea Witch

January 30, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

A winter tea! How charming! (Love the look of the biscuits.)

January 30, 2010 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi, Sea Witch-

Thanks for visiting! I'm glad you enjoyed my tea post. How lovely that you and your sister take high tea! I think it is such a relaxing, memorable way to enjoy the company of others.

-Pam

January 31, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Elizabeth-

Thanks for stopping by! Is there a tea in your future? :-)

-Pam

January 31, 2010 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Absolutely would love to have one, BUT I think I have to *home* to do it -- story of my life: always somewhere else!

January 31, 2010 at 1:45 PM  

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