One of my favorite meals to prepare (and enjoy) is afternoon tea. There are so many options for the menu and tea table setting.
Today, I am sharing photos from an early summer afternoon tea where I featured Aynsley’s Garden Gate teaware on my tea table.
My sweet little Lily of the Valley made an appearance as the main bouquet on the tea table as well as miniature versions in tiny vases at each place setting.
I don’t have recipes published for all of the foods presented on this tea table but, for those that are published, I will provide hotlinks to the recipes.
But, first, I am introducing a vintage tea set (circa 1930s) – the Garden Gate pattern from Aynsley. There weren’t many pieces available at time of purchase but, as soon as I saw my beloved lupins on the teaset, I knew I had to have whatever pieces were available! Lupins grow wild in various colors along Prince Edward Island roadsides in June and their colorful presence is highly anticipated each year.
The blue and gold-edged tea plates feature a border of sprays of colorful flowers (including purple and pink lupins) and garden gates.
The matching cream and sugar are quite large but display the pattern very well.
There were no cups and saucers available with these pieces though I know they do exist. I’ll keep an eye out for them in my travels so they can be added to my teaset. Part of the charm of being a teacup and teaware collector is the thrill of a find where and when you least expect it and that will complete a cherished set.
When I am setting a tea table, I don’t worry about having all the teaware match unless it is for a formal event. I find mixed pieces, so long as they somewhat match, lend a more curated and interesting look to the table. So, in this tea setting, I mixed and matched some suitable teacups in with the plates.
Most of my teacup collection is floral in some way. I am not particularly drawn to teacups with scenes on them; however, I came across a pair of these Royal Vale cups and saucers (pattern no. 7382) that feature a thatched English cottage set amidst a garden. Apart from the lovely reminder they gave me of past visits to the Cotswolds, I immediately knew they would complement the Garden Gate tea set and I believe they do.
For the teapot to hold our King Cole Orange Pekoe tea we enjoyed with the afternoon tea, I chose the Royal Denby (pattern no. 301202) teapot with a larkspur spray. The floral motif, along with the pastel colored teapot with an ivory background and yellow and green trim, blended in well with the floral theme of the tea.
I used a three-tier server for the food but it is not a traditional three-tier server of plates. Rather, it is fold-up server which makes it compact for storage when not in use. This stand is lower in height than a traditional three-plate stand so makes it easy for teatime companions to see each other across the table. I think it presents the three courses of tea fare quite attractively.
So, now the menu for our three-course traditional afternoon tea. A traditional afternoon tea will have three courses – a sandwich (or savory) course, scones course, and a sweets course and the items are eaten in that order. Starting, of course, with the sandwich course, I chose two kinds of sandwiches – cucumber with an avocado spread and alfalfa sprouts presented on both white and whole wheat breads and dainty pinwheel sandwiches filled with my ham salad filling (recipe here).
Teatime sandwiches, of course, are always crustless and of a two-to-three bite size.
Two kinds of scones – plain and currant and orange (recipe here) – were served for the scones course.
The scones were served with rhubarb curd (recipe here), strawberry jam, and naturally, clotted cream.
The sweets course included parfaits made with coconut Greek yogurt and rhubarb curd, Custard Sandwich Cookies (recipe here) sandwiched together with buttercream icing, and sweet little madeleines that are a traditional teatime cake.
Colorful artisan chocolates from Jane & Sue Chocolate in Stanley Bridge, PEI, were a tasty finale to our afternoon tea.
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