As I write this post on August 7, 2022, the forthcoming week of August 8-14th marks National Afternoon Tea Week in the UK. This is a week set aside to celebrate the wonderful leisurely genteel activity of afternoon tea. As those of you who are regular followers of my food blog know, afternoon tea is a passion of mine and I never pass up an opportunity to indulge in the menu of savory bites, toothsome scones with jam and clotted or English double cream, and an array of tantalizing desserts.
In the UK, in particular, afternoon tea remains an enduring ritual at many hotels and tearooms which offer the service on a daily basis. In fact, when I am in London, enjoying afternoon tea at one or more of the many mid-to-high end hotels and other tea venues is a must-do on my agenda. You can click here to read my published review of afternoon tea at the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel at Hyde Park and here for my reviews of afternoon tea in the Georgian Room at Harrods and at The Orangery at Kensington Palace.
So, while I can’t be in London this coming week to participate in National Afternoon Tea Week there (I wish!), I can certainly create a celebratory afternoon tea event here at home. Therefore, our Sunday teatime has been elevated from the usual Cream Tea to a full-fledged Afternoon Tea today. It’s not quite as elaborate as my recent Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea but more so than a simple Cream Tea of just scones, jam, clotted or double cream, and a pot of tea.
When the scene below plays out in the kitchen, it’s certain that afternoon tea is sure to follow! Let’s see what we can fill those three plates on the tiered server with!
First, I must say I do not have recipes published for every food item seen on the tea table but, for those for which I do have published recipes, I will put the hotlinks into the text for easy access to the recipes available on my website.
The Tea Table
For today’s event, I have chosen to use my vintage Crown Staffordshire tea set. This set is absolutely perfect for a summertime afternoon tea. The background of the dishes is crisp white and each piece in the set is decorated with tiny sprays of summer flowers – roses, pansies, and forget-me-nots. The pattern is very summery and cottage-like and the theme and menu for today’s afternoon tea takes its cue from the summery teaset.
The pretty teacups with their pattern of scattered floral motifs and gold accents add charm to the table.
My teaset also has a sweet little cream and sugar set.
I have chosen a simple white Churchill teapot. White is always classic and doesn’t clash with the patterned dishes. The teapot today was filled with New English Tea’s Fine Breakfast Tea blend.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of today’s tea table. The tablecloth is one I hand-embroidered many years ago.
No afternoon tea table would be complete without flowers. My lovely centerpiece was created with flowers from both my own garden and those from Island Meadow Farm in York, PEI. They grow an amazing array of cut flowers and I often source my flowers for summer arrangements from Island Meadow Farm. They are very popular with brides since they do stunning wedding flowers, too.
In this centerpiece, the white peony, sprigs of lavender, and sage came from my own garden while the Pink Godelia, Purple Flax, White Campanula, White Obedience, and Pink Yarrow came from Island Meadow Farm.
Since today’s teatime is a traditional afternoon tea, it consists of three courses – sandwiches, scones, and desserts.
The three-tier server has the plates of food positioned in the order in which the food is consumed. That is to say, the sandwiches are the first course and are placed on the bottom plate. The scones are the second course and are on the middle plate. And, lastly, the small desserts are on the top tier plate as they are consumed last.
My selection of sandwiches consisted of three kinds – Strawberry, Cucumber and Watercress, and Tuna Salad. All sandwiches are made with my own homemade breads, including my newest bread recipe – Whole Wheat Bread – thinly sliced and crusts removed.
I have opted for a mix of finger sandwiches as well as triangle cut sandwiches.
The scones are made with my standard recipe found here. I decided that scones for today’s teatime would be perfectly plain so I have left out the currants and orange zest called for in the recipe in the foregoing link.
The toppings to accompany today’s scones included my strawberry rhubarb freezer jam, homemade strawberry rhubarb curd, and English Double Cream. For some reason, my lighting turned the English Double Cream into a yellowish color when, in fact, it is almost white in reality.
Time to split open a light and flaky scone!
For dessert, I included three treats – small Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts, hand-painted French Macarons, and artisan chocolates produced by Jane & Sue Chocolate in Stanley Bridge, PEI. They make exquisite chocolates and I often include their confections on my tea table.
In keeping with the summer theme of my menu, I have chosen individual-sized Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts as the signature dessert . This is a new recipe I developed and published earlier this summer and which can be accessed here. When the rhubarb and strawberries are in season, I make juice from them and freeze it in container sizes I know will be required for certain recipes, like the Strawberry Rhubarb Tart and curds, so I can make and enjoy the recipes year-round.
I hand-painted my vanilla-flavored French Macarons with an impressionist design of the lavender and pink poppies currently in bloom in the garden.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into our celebratory teatime event to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week!
Be sure to check out my previous Afternoon Tea events by going to the Afternoon Tea section from the menu bar on my home page.
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