Category Archives: Afternoon Teas

Ruffle Cake for Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Happy Mother's Day

 

While Mother’s Day is over, I thought I would share some photos from my Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea.  We celebrated pretty much the whole weekend.  On Saturday, I made and decorated this ruffle cake.  Doesn’t it remind you of the old-fashioned ribbon candy that used to be so popular around Christmas time.

I don’t tend to use this method of decorating often because it takes a powerful amount of icing…surely enough to set anyone on a sugar high for days!  However, it is a real feminine cake style so it is perfect for Mother’s Day.  The photos are showing the color of the icing quite a bit deeper than it was in reality.

My tea this afternoon is really simple.  Just the cake and a good cup of “brew”.  I don’t worry too much about having everything perfectly matched.  Part of the eclectic charm of afternoon tea is having a mixture of china cups and saucers, plates, and teapot.  This teapot is a new acquisition to my collection.  So long as the colors blend together, they work.

This is a Sadler teapot.  I like its “perky” shape and simplistic floral design.

DSC_0739

A cut slice of cake reveals just how much icing is on that cake!

A nice sweet treat in the middle of a Saturday afternoon!

Good thing there is a huge pot of tea to go with all that icing!

 

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Easter Afternoon Tea

Even though Easter is late this year, we still have a lot of snow on PEI.  Last week’s moderate temperatures (and no new snow, thankfully) saw the snow settling and starting to melt away.  However, we still have plenty in stock!

After such a long, arduous winter, I am so ready for spring and some color other than white snow.  My Easter Afternoon Tea this year has yellow as its theme color.  I have this Gibsons (England) vintage teapot that I have been wanting to use for a long time and its colors seem to suggest a yellow theme.  I like its oval, elongated shape. I also have my Easter tablecloth square with yellow chicks and purple eggs and flowers so yellow it is with some hints of purple.

Gibsons Vintage Teapot
Gibsons Vintage Teapot

I have a little growing collection of teacups and saucers.  I am featuring a couple of newer acquisitions in this afternoon tea, both of them spring-themed.

The first is my daffodil cup and saucer manufactured by the Rosina China Co. Ltd. in England.  I love the shape and floral design on this cup including the design carried through to the inside of the cup.

The second cup and saucer features little purple violets (one of my all-time favorite flowers) with yellow accent flowers.  It’s a Royal Albert china cup and saucer and also carries the floral design to the inside of the cup.

My tea selection today from my wee table-sized tea box is Bentley’s Lemon, Honey & Chamomile Herbal Tea.

Yes, even the tea has a yellow cast to it, in keeping with today’s yellow color scheme!

One of my grandmothers gave me this [now vintage] Withernsea England Eastgate Pottery vase when I wasn’t very old.  It’s now part of my Easter collection and today it holds bright yellow and white daffodils for our afternoon tea table.

I have folded plain white napkins into bunny ear shapes for each place setting and added a chocolate to each plate because chocolate is so popular at Easter!

Bunny Ears Napkin Fold
Bunny Ears Napkin Fold

I have prepared three kinds of sandwiches for this afternoon’s tea.  The first is a triple-decker sandwich with egg filling on potato and green onion bread.  The second is honey glazed ham sandwiched between slices of Chia bread.  And, the third is a cucumber sandwich on flax bread.

I like to use different breads on my sandwich trays, not only for their unique flavors and how well they enhance the fillings I have chosen, but also for their appearance.

The old question is …. are crusts removed or left on?  I think this is really a matter of preference and also how dark the crusts are.  I prefer to remove them because I think the sandwiches plate more attractively if the crusts are removed.  I save the crusts and make them into crumbs to use for other purposes such as the stuffing for a roasted turkey as I am not one to waste food.

Even though I have a featured dessert for my Easter afternoon tea, I have included a selection of some sweets on the tiered server.

A closer peek?    Raspberry Jam Squares, spring- and Easter-shaped shortbread, and chocolate peanut butter balls.

These are the jam squares I featured in my story recently about JJ Stewart Foods and Soda Company.  You can get the recipe here.

Raspberry Jam Squares
Raspberry Jam Squares

So, about that featured dessert ……..

I like decorating cakes so I made a vanilla cake, sandwiched it together with lemon filling (keeping the yellow theme going!), iced it in the basket weave design, and decorated it with sugar Easter lilies that I made with royal icing (yes, they are tedious to make and extremely fragile).

Whenever possible, I like to present my decorated cakes on pedestal plates as it gives them more prominence and elegance.

 

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my Easter afternoon tea.

I will be joining Rose Chintz Cottage for Sandi’s Easter Tea this week.

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Valentine’s Afternoon Tea – Petit Fours and Tulips

Is there anything more genteel than afternoon tea!  And, is there anything more perfect for a tea event than petit fours.  They are so dainty covered in poured fondant; it’s like each one is a tiny parcel waiting to be unwrapped to see what lies inside.  For these, I used a simple white cake sandwiched together with rich strawberry jam.

Petit Fours
Petit Fours

Today’s tea is more on the sweet side.  A selection of some of my favorite squares, melting moments, divinity fudge, and macarons.

Tea Table Fancies
Tea Table Fancies

The addition of a lovely fruit scone never goes wrong, particularly when spread with delectable homemade strawberry jam.

Fruit Scone with Strawberry Jam
Fruit Scone with Strawberry Jam

What would Valentine’s be without chocolate-dipped strawberries.  In keeping with the pink theme and the delicate pink dishes, I have dipped the strawberries in pink chocolate.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

These dishes with their dainty pink rose design are perfect for a Valentine’s tea.

These hand-decorated cookies are sure to be a conversation piece.

This four-tier server is perfect for small tea tables since it doesn’t take up much space yet accommodates the different courses of the tea.

While roses are the most commonly associated flower with Valentine’s, there are other flowers that are equally as beautiful.  Today, I have chosen delicate pink tulips from the greenhouses of Vanco Farms in Mount Albion, PEI.  I do, on occasion, buy the tulips at our local Superstore but, when I want to be sure of a perfect match for my color scheme, I do drive out to the greenhouses….it’s a good excuse to be amidst such beautiful tulips!

Tulips are said to symbolize perfect love and the different colors of tulips have different meanings.  Pink tulips symbolize affection and caring.

Can you tell the color theme was pink!

These scones, fresh from the oven, and lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar, melt in the mouth and are a perfect prelude to the next course of sweets!

I like this antique silver teapot.  It lends elegance to the table.

Even Cupid drops in for a visit!

There is something cozy about a winter afternoon tea by the fireside.

I love this pink and white tea set.

The tiny flowers on the cookies and petit fours are made from fondant.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my Valentine’s Tea.  Today I will be joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for her Hearts and Flowers Tea.

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Red Plaid Christmas Afternoon Tea

We have been inundated with snow in December on Prince Edward Island, three major snow storms in the past week alone.  I think, barring some strange weather phenomenon, we are all but guaranteed a white Christmas on the Island.  It also means lots of snow to shovel – that’s the bah humbug part!

This weather inspires me to have afternoon tea beside the fireplace and Christmas tree.  The warmth and glow from the fireplace and tree lights sets a beautiful soft mood for a quiet and peaceful late afternoon tea on a cold winter’s day as the snow falls gently outside the window.  Want to take a peek?

I like this red plaid tablecloth – it looks so Christmasy and matches my Christmas tea china perfectly.

I was fortunate enough to find this Sadler teapot and matching cups and saucers last year.  I like to find occasions to use them over the holidays.

I found the delightful little teabox (seen behind the teacup in the photo above) recently and it is perfectly sized for small tea tables.  I have a larger teabox but there is no room for it on my round tea table.

So, what was on this afternoon’s tea menu presented on a traditional 3-tier server?

Let’s start with the sandwich plate – I served one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – egg salad on white, oatbran, and multigrain breads.

Fruit-filled scones with homemade strawberry jam and crabapple jelly rounded out the next course.

And, of course, what afternoon tea would be complete without the sweet tray!  Mincemeat tarts, checkerboard sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, Scotch cookies, and the quintessential fruit cake all found their way on to the sweet tray.  All seasonal favorites in our house.

And, for the sweet finish-off, these candy cane meringues that dissolve on the tongue.

Beverages included Sparkling Cranberry Apple Juice from Verger Belliveau Orchard in Memramcook, New Brunswick.  I love how it sparkles in the cut glass.

Today’s tea selection was Bentley’s Pomegranate.

My choice of centerpiece was very simple – a rose bowl with a sprig of holly and a floating tea light.  My tea table is not large so space is at a premium so any access centerpiece has to be small.

Time for tea!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my Red Plaid Christmas Afternoon Tea.  May the peace and joy that Christmas brings find its way into your homes this Christmas season.

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Afternoon Tea in London!

As those of you who regularly follow my blog will already know, I love a classic afternoon tea….the more formal, grand, and elegant, the better.

On previous trips to London, England, I always seemed to miss out on classic afternoon teas for one reason or another.  I certainly had had cream teas (scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, and a pot of tea) at some hotels but never was able to make it to a formal tea.  I always said that the next time I was heading to Europe, I was going to visit London for no other reason than to have proper afternoon tea.

That opportunity arose earlier this month when we were heading out on a Greek Islands cruise from Venice, Italy.  I had my travel agent book us a stop-over in London for a couple of days so that we could experience the quintessential British tradition of formal afternoon tea.  I spent countless hours over the spring and summer researching which afternoon teas I wanted to experience.  As those of you from London and area (or who have visited there) will know, afternoon teas in the city can be pricey.  Many restaurants and hotels in London offer a classic afternoon tea of some sort and the higher-end venues range in price from around ₤40.00 pp. upwards (VAT inc.) + 12.5% service gratuity.  At the time of writing, the current rate of exchange is $1.68 against the Canadian dollar so that can edge a Canadian visitor around $100.00 or more per person for afternoon tea.  Many venues also offer champagne afternoon teas and adding a glass of bubbly to the afternoon tea experience can translate into an extravagant price – some as high as ₤85.00 pp plus service gratuity of 12.5% which converts to about $160.00 pp, CDN$.  So, due to the cost, deciding on which afternoon tea to experience is not a decision to be taken lightly.  This is not to say that all afternoon teas in London are this pricey – I was able to find afternoon teas less than ₤30.00 pp but even that translated into an expensive repast when converted into Canadian currency.

We were staying in the Kensington area of London and I wanted to do more than one afternoon tea on this trip (and not break the bank!) but did not want to have to spend valuable and limited time traveling far so I opted for tea at “The Orangery” at Kensington Palace which was within walking distance to our hotel and the other in the Georgian Restaurant at Harrods department store where we spent a complete day.  We had planned to spend time again in the food halls at Harrods (a foodie’s mecca) anyway so, because our time was so limited in London and didn’t allow for much travel time around the city, we combined a visit to Harrods with afternoon tea in their Georgian Restaurant and it did not disappoint.

Hotels and restaurants offering afternoon tea will usually have a number of sittings throughout the afternoon and some in to the early evening as well with most ending by 7:30pm, or earlier, local time.  Dress codes vary with smart casual being the norm and with some of the higher-end venues requiring more dressy attire.  Reservations are generally recommended, particularly for the more popular venues, and I recommend inquiring of the dress code when making reservations (note that some venues require reservations several weeks or even months in advance).  Many have their afternoon tea menus and dress codes posted online as well.   We were able to get a table when we arrived at “The Orangery”  mid-afternoon on our first day in London.  On the day we visited Harrods, we made reservations mid-morning for our afternoon tea in their Georgian Restaurant.  However, I expect that during the busy summer months as well as around Christmas and other holiday periods, reservations farther in advance of same day would be advisable (Claridge’s website at time of writing is indicating that they are not accepting any more afternoon tea reservations until January 2014 due to high demand).  Part of the experience of a formal afternoon tea is the decor and ambiance of the venue which often includes a pianist at the grand piano.  One of the things that fascinates me most about afternoon tea in London is its enduring popularity across all age groups.

For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with what comprises a classic afternoon tea, there are four components:  1) the tea beverage blend; 2) savories; 3) scones; and 4) patisseries and cakes.  It is common to present the food on three-tier servers.

Most venues (particularly the high-end ones) will have a tea sommelier on staff to help guests decide which blend of tea to enjoy with the repast.  The array of tea offerings can be daunting unless you are a tea connoisseur.  The savory course will consist of delicate sandwiches and sometimes petite tarts, and souffles.  Fillings for the sandwiches vary but you can generally expect to find cucumber, egg, smoked salmon, ham, roast beef, and/or chicken presented on various breads.  The sandwiches will always have the crusts removed and may be cut in either finger or triangular shapes.  These offerings will be found on the bottom plate of a three-tier server.  The middle plate of the server will contain the scones, clotted cream, and usually the preserves (although the latter may be presented on a separate flat plate on the table).  Often two kinds of scones will be presented – raisin or fruit and plain.  The top tier of the three-tier server is reserved for the patisseries and cakes.  The offerings for this course certainly vary between restaurants but you will often find, as a minimum, sponge cake, lemon tarts, and frequently French macarons and other sweet pastries.

So, today, I thought I would share with you some photos from the two afternoon teas I enjoyed in London in early October, 2013.  Apologies in advance for the lighting in some of the photos – these are travel photos and the natural lighting wasn’t the best on some of the interior shots.

“The Orangery” at Kensington Palace

 

"The Orangery" at Kensington Palace
“The Orangery” at Kensington Palace

On the day we visited “The Orangery”, in early October, 2013, it was still warm enough to enjoy afternoon tea al fresco style outside.

However, the interior of “The Orangery” is so striking that we opted to enjoy tea inside.

I was fascinated by the table setting with the plates set to the left of each place setting.

Afternoon Tea Place Setting at "The Orangery"
Afternoon Tea Place Setting at “The Orangery”

You can check out the menu for afternoon tea at “The Orangery” here.

The tables were simplistically set with this decorative china on white linen.

Are you anxious to see what was on the tiered server?

Each guest has his/her own tea pot and individual tiered server of tea fare.  Traditionally presented, the bottom tier contains the sandwiches, the middle plate bears the scones, clotted cream, and jam, and the top tier the sweet offerings.  Our choice of tea was “Afternoon at the Palace”.

Let’s look a little closer at the food.

The sandwiches were so tasty!

The buttery scones (one each – plain and with raisins) were served with clotted cream and strawberry jam!

And, to finish off, a selection of sweet cakes and patisseries.

One thing about afternoon tea is that it amounts to a full meal!

And, it is a leisurely way to spend a couple of hours.

Be sure to pace yourself so you can save some room for the sweets!

Afternoon tea at “The Orangery” is (at time of writing) ₤22.65 pp + 12.5% service charge (or about $44.00 CDN$)

The Georgian Restaurant at Harrods

Harrods Department Store
Harrods Department Store

Harrods is arguably the world’s most famous department store. It’s a fun place to spend time browsing, particularly in the food halls which are elaborate, to say the least.  This visit marked the first time I had eaten at Harrods.

Afternoon Tea at the Georgian Restaurant at Harrods
Afternoon Tea at the Georgian Restaurant at Harrods

The color theme of the Georgian Restaurant is in calming pinks and whites.  Each table has a pink undercloth topped with a white tablecloth.  The two photos below were taken early in the day when we made our reservations onsite.

Music from the grand piano adds a lovely ambiance to the afternoon tea experience.

These beautiful huge floral designs in ivory and soft green shades were found throughout the dining room.

This was a delightful afternoon and experience.

Tableware is white which really makes the colors of the food pop and stand out.

Each table is set with a single short-stemmed pink tea rose.

As soon as we were seated, this plate of preserves and clotted cream was delivered to our table.

Then, our server poured our first cups of tea from a small elegant silver teapot.  Our tea selection was the “Georgian Blend”.

The tea was, of course, served in Harrods signature cups and saucers.

A three-tier server of delectable finger sandwiches, scones, and a selection of sweets was soon presented at our table.

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How delightful and inviting does this look!  You can check out the Harrods afternoon tea menu here.

Let’s have a closer look, beginning with the finger sandwiches and petite lobster rolls.

This was followed by an offering of both plain and raisin scones.

And, for the sweet tooth, there were lots of tempting options!

There was more on this tray than the two of us could finish!

Afternoon tea at Harrods at the time of writing is  ₤29.00 pp + 12.5% service charge (or about $55.00 CDN$).

If you are heading to London and planning to include a classic afternoon tea as one of your activities, I recommend researching in advance of your trip and checking with your choice of venue as to whether or not they require reservations and how far in advance.  You may also wish to inquire of their dress code so you can pack accordingly and not be disappointed on arrival to find that the venue imposes a specific dress code.  No matter your budget, you will find wonderful options for afternoon tea in London that will give you that experience without breaking the bank.  Have you already experienced afternoon tea at a London location?  Did you enjoy it and would you recommend it?

We thoroughly enjoyed our two afternoon teas in London (and, yes, I am already thinking about which tea venue I will choose on my next trip to London).  In the meantime, I will be sharing this posting on Rose Chintz Cottage’s blog in time for this week’s Tea Time Tuesday.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar.  That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.

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Pretty Pink Petal Afternoon Tea

Where or where does summer go and why does it pass so quickly?  On this Labour Day Monday, I thought I should have one more summer outside afternoon tea before the weather turns here on PEI to much cooler temperatures and I start to think of fall menus as opposed to summer foods.  Funny when the calendar changes to the months that end in “ber” (aka “brrrrrrrrr”), we stop thinking so much of the pretty, soft summer colors and more of deep hues of golds, oranges, rusts, greens, purples, and so forth.

For this afternoon tea, I  decided it would be a dessert tea that would feature hydrangea cupcakes and monogrammed cookies.

The inspiration for this delicate tea came from the hydrangea bush we have at the backdoor.

Pink was the primary color scheme….  Flowers for a tea table do not always have to be in a vase.  Rose petals can be scattered on the table itself and a single tea rose can be placed at each place setting.  The guests then get to each take their rose home with them as a souvenir of their afternoon tea event.

I selected a couple of my favorite teacups and saucers.  The first is quite plain in shape but it is a lovely, decorative teacup.

The second teacup is a much more stately and elegant shape.

The napkin fold I am using today is the rose.  It is a simple design, easy to fold, and is well suited to being placed inside a teacup.  It is particularly convenient if the tea table is small and there are a number of items to be placed on it.  In those situations, sometimes there is insufficient room to display the napkin properly so the rose napkin fold inside the teacup takes care of that.

I don’t always try to have matching dishes on the tea table.  Sometimes, it is much more interesting with eclectic pieces.  So long as they all blend and compliment each other in color, it works.

Sparkling pink lemonade is always a refreshing drink on a warm summer’s day.  It’s even more fun when the ice cubes sport edible flowers!

Monogrammed cookies are always fun, particularly if you inscribe guests’ initials on them as I have done in the photo above.

Cupcakes make tasty little cake treats.  My hydrangea cupcakes are vanilla flavour and are iced in hydrangea design in shades of pink and mauve.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along on my afternoon dessert tea today.  I will be joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for her Tea Time Tuesday this week.  See you there.

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Anne of Green Gables-Themed Afternoon Tea

Today, I am joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage who is hosting an Anne of Green Gables-themed afternoon tea.  Many of you will, undoubtedly, associate both Anne and Lucy Maud Montgomery, the famed Island authoress of the “Anne” series of books, with Prince Edward Island.  As many of you will already know, Lucy Maud was an Islander and she set her fictional story about the little orphan, Anne, on PEI.

To the extent possible, I have tried to include elements in the tea that Anne and her bosom friend, Diana, would have had at the afternoon tea that Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about in chapter XVI in the “Anne of Green Gables” book:  Raspberry cordial, cherry preserves, fruit cake, cookies, snaps, and tea.

I visited the Anne of Green Gables store in downtown Charlottetown this morning and picked up some raspberry cordial for the tea.

The other featured Island-made product at my tea today is the “Very Berry Cherry” jam produced by the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company in New Glasgow, PEI.

While biscuits weren’t mentioned as part of the menu for the tea in the “Anne” story, I’d be surprised if they were not standard fare at an afternoon tea of that era, particularly when preserves were included.  Homemade biscuits are still a very common staple today in many Island households, mine included.  Therefore, I have chosen to serve my homemade biscuits with the cherry jam.

I always tuck away a piece of my Christmas fruit cake in the freezer.  It is such a treat in late summer or early fall.  It made its way on to the tea table today along with some freshly made gingersnaps and melting moments, all of which would have been quite common tea fare back in the early 1900s when L.M. Montgomery was penning the “Anne” books.  As I went through some of my ancestors’ hand-written recipe books, these were indeed items they had recipes for in their collections.

And, of course, the guest of honour would have to be Anne, herself!  My mother gave me this collector’s doll for Christmas several years ago.

Anne looks like she might be eyeing those biscuits….perhaps it is time to eat.

This afternoon’s tea is Orange Pekoe and it is being served from my pretty pink and yellow rose Sadler teapot.

I am not sure Marilla would have trusted Anne and Diana with these delicate teacups but these were my choices from my teacup collection for today’s event.  The one below is Royal Albert Sunnyside Series and is called “Petula”.  I love the exquisite and elegant shape of the cup.

The beautiful cup and saucer below is also Royal Albert, Reverie Series.

Warm biscuits, not too many minutes out of the oven, are always so tasty!

And, with fresh creamery butter and a good slather of cherry jam, they melt in the mouth!

It’s hard to stop at just one homemade biscuit and jam!

Some fresh cherries before checking out the sweet tray.

Now, which will I try first?  The fruitcake?  A ginger snap? A melting moment?

Also on the tea table this afternoon is a Third Impression August 1908 version of the “Anne of Green Gables” book.  A great conversation piece.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along on my Anne-themed afternoon tea.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar.  That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.

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Tea for Three Tablescape

On this beautiful warm, sunny Prince Edward Island day, I am sharing a simple tablescape for teatime with you.  I have a three-piece setting of a very old blue tea set.  It has no markings on it to tell me anything about what kind of china/porcelain it is or where it was made.  If any of you recognize the pattern/manufacturer, please do let me know.  It is very delicate and a cherished set to own.

I love both the daintily-designed teacups and their shape.  I imagine some Victorian ladies enjoying their afternoon tea with this tea set.

My choice of teapot for today’s tea setting is one that has tiny flowers of several different colors.  It is my go-to teapot for tea settings when I don’t have a teapot in the specific color of the dishes I am using.  It is a versatile teapot because it is of no particular predominant color.

We have a wonderful blue hydrangea bush that blooms prolifically at the back door of the cottage so I thought two or three of the magnificent blue blooms would make a lovely centerpiece that would compliment the tea set.

The hydrangea are actually in a small square vase even though they look like they are just lying on the table!

I felt the tea set was elegant enough on its own that it really needed no further adornment on the table other than the blue hydrangea centerpiece.

I am belatedly joining Sandi’s Teatime Tuesday event at Rose Chintz Cottage this week.

Old Country Rose Afternoon Tea

I love afternoon tea any time of the year.  However, I especially like a good cup of tea, dainty sandwiches, and of course, a sweet or two, outside on a warm and calm day in the summer.  Here on PEI, where we are surrounded by water, it is hard to find a day where there is not a breeze blowing.  However, last Saturday was such a day when the temperatures were soaring slightly past the 30C mark with hardly a breeze!   It was a good day for a summer tea under the shade of some big old trees.

My inspiration for my teascapes comes from many sources, often from the season of the year, flowers in bloom, or a particular food item that I envision on a tea table.  My Old Country Rose Tea was inspired by an old rose tree we planted at the back door of the cottage 20 years ago.  It blooms profusely and every year we think it may just break apart or stop blooming but each year, it produces a bountiful profusion of beautiful deep rose-colored roses.  These roses are the kind that the blooms only last a day or two.  Our Atlantic winters are not kind and, being so close to the Northumberland Strait, salt spray is also an element our trees, shrubs, and bushes must contend with.  So, today’s teascape began with a small bouquet of roses from outside the back door.

I looked through my collection of teapots to find one that would be suitable and selected this Sadler that seems very summery.

The teacups I chose featured roses as well.

Why does tea always seem to taste better in a china cup and saucer?

Teacups are too pretty not to be used.  I look for ways and opportunities to use and enjoy them rather than storing them away.

Because it was so hot, I chose to serve cool and refreshing cucumber sandwiches.

I love to decorate food with flowers….just make sure they are the edible kind!

Add cubes of melon, cheese, and some grapes.

This year, I made several bottles of Rhubarb Cordial so served some of this refreshing drink as well as Assam tea.

Naturally, there had to be something for the sweet tooth.  I made another batch of my Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies (my April 2013 “Cookie of the Month”) because they remind me so much of summer and are so light tasting.

And, for the finale, vanilla cupcakes iced in rich buttercream icing.

Cupcakes are a simple and more informal way to serve cake at an event.

And, when it was all assembled, this is what the tiered tea tray looked like.

And, here is an overview of the tea table.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my early summer tea.

I will be joining Rose Chintz Cottage for Teatime Tuesday this week.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar.  That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.  Be sure to also follow me on twitter @PEIBistro and on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”.

Lady’s Slipper Afternoon Tea

Lady's Slipper - The Provincial Flower of Prince Edward Island
Lady’s Slipper – The Provincial Flower of Prince Edward Island

June brings a plethora of flowers to bloom on Prince Edward Island.  None are more exquisite than the Lady’s Slipper, so named because its petals form a shape that resembles a slipper.  This member of the orchid family blooms on the Island in late May – June in moist, wooded areas, often under spruce, beechwood, or pine trees.

The Lady’s Slipper was adopted as the Island’s provincial flower on April 24, 1947.

If you come across these beautiful orchids that bloom in both pink and white in PEI, please just admire and enjoy them in their natural surroundings or take some photographs of them.  Please do not pick these natural flowers as that will affect their seed for continued growth on the Island.  They also do not transplant well and generally do not survive outside their natural habitat.  All the more reason why they should just be enjoyed where they are found.

The close-up photograph below shows the petals of the Lady’s Slipper.  I think the shape resembles an animal of some sort!

A few months ago, at a flea market, I came across a lovely plate with the Lady’s Slipper on it.  It is by Royal Adderley of England.  I bought the cake plate and moved along a few tables where I discovered a matching cup and saucer from a different vendor.  Of course, those purchases set my mind to thinking about an afternoon tea featuring the Lady’s Slipper china.

For the menu, I wanted to also feature some local, seasonal food product.  Rhubarb is still available on the Island so my choice was to start with a refreshing Rhubarb Cordial and serve a Rhubarb Torte with a good quality Assam tea.

Rhubarb Cordial
Rhubarb Cordial

Rhubarb Cordial makes a wonderful, refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.  I garnished the drink with a wedge of watermelon, a sprig of mint from our herb garden, and a tiny pansy.

The “pièce de résistance” is the luscious Rhubarb Torte.  Our rhubarb season will soon be drawing to a close but I just had to have one more rhubarb dessert before that happens.  Of course, I have bags of it stored away in my freezer to enjoy throughout the year.

Rhubarb Torte
Rhubarb Torte

This torte features a graham wafer crumb base, followed by rhubarb sauce, smothered in whipped cream and marshmallows, and topped with vanilla pudding.  It’s as showy and colorful as it is tasty!  I love how the pudding on top looks translucent.

These tiny shortbread cookies, decorated in pink, just seemed the fitting addition for the Lady’s Slipper plate.

The photo below shows the detail in the plate design.

And the matching cup and saucer is filled with Assam tea.

The Rhubarb Cordial and the Rhubarb Torte make for a colorful tea table!

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed by entering your email address in the subscribe box in the upper left-hand sidebar.  That way, you will receive an email notification whenever I add a new posting to this blog.  Be sure to also follow me on twitter @PEIBistro and on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”.