Category Archives: Afternoon Teas

National Afternoon Tea Week


Tiered Server for Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea Table

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. Continue reading National Afternoon Tea Week

Celebratory Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea

Table with 3-tier server set for teatime
Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea

Today, we enjoyed a Celebratory Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea.  It’s not many people who can say they worked in the same job for 70 years and probably even fewer can boast of still being on the job every day with plans to continue! As I write this post, it is June 2, 2022, the actual 70th anniversary of the formal coronation of  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (now aged 96) which took place on June 2, 1953. Continue reading Celebratory Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea

St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea Fare
Three-tier Server Brimming with Afternoon Tea Fare

I love an elegant afternoon tea on any given day of the year but there are certain holidays and special days that really open up many options for creative and inspiring tea events. For me, St. Patrick’s Day is one of them as the colors of the Ireland flag are great inspiration for the color theme of the tea table as well as for the food itself. What follows is my Irish-themed St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea. Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea

St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea for One

Tea Table

It’s no secret that I love anything to do with afternoon tea. Living where I do, here in PEI, we do not have places that offer afternoon tea year-round but that really does not make a huge difference to me as I like to prepare and enjoy afternoon tea at home, whether that’s for one or more people.

Today, it’s a prelude to St. Patrick’s Day afternoon tea for one and the color theme is distinctly green with a hint of orange as, at the time of writing, we are mere days away from St. Patrick’s Day. Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea for One

Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea

Christmas Afternoon Tea
Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea

Welcome to my Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea! If you are a regular follower of my food blog, you know I adore afternoon tea events. The Christmas season provides an excellent opportunity for a special holiday afternoon tea complete with seasonal china pieces and, naturally, all kinds of Christmas goodies.

This afternoon tea was inspired by my Royal Albert “December” teacups in the “Christmas Rose” pattern. These cups are from Royal Albert’s “Flower of the Month” series and the December pattern is aptly named “Christmas Rose”. Because the cups feature roses and holly, I have named this afternoon tea the Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea. Continue reading Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea

The Garden Gate Afternoon Tea

Silver server filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets
Teatime Server filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets

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.

Lily of the Valley Bouquet
Delicate Lily of the Valley on the 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.

Tiny Lily of the Valley Bouquet for Placesetting
Dainty Lily of the Valley in Miniature Vases Mark 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.

Table set for teatime
Table Set for Teatime

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.

Colorful Lupins in PEI

The blue and gold-edged tea plates feature a border of sprays of colorful flowers (including purple and pink lupins) and garden gates.

Aynsley "Garden Gate" Plate
Aynsley “Garden Gate” pattern Tea Plate

The matching cream and sugar are quite large but display the pattern very well.

Sugar bowl in Aynsley's "Garden Gate" pattern
Open Sugar Bowl in Aynsley’s “Garden Gate” pattern
Vintage Creamer from Aynsley
Aynsley creamer in Garden Gate Pattern

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.

Cup and Saucer with English Country Cottage pattern
Royal Vale Cup and Saucer Featuring English cottage and garden

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.

White and yellow teapot with larkspur motif
Royal Denby Teapot with Larkspur Pattern

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.

Silver Tea Server Filled with Teatime Treats
Teatime Fare

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.

Teatime Sandwiches
Dainty Teatime Sandwiches

Two kinds of scones – plain and currant and orange (recipe here) – were served for the scones course.

Scones for Teatime
Scones for Teatime

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.

Sweets Course - Teatime
Teatime Sweets

Colorful artisan chocolates from Jane & Sue Chocolate in Stanley Bridge, PEI, were a tasty finale to our afternoon tea.

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Afternoon Tea Setting
Garden Gate Afternoon Tea

Lady’s Slipper Themed Afternoon Tea

As regular followers of my food blog will know, I love china teacups and teapots! I use them regularly and, in fact, enjoy my daily afternoon tea break with tea in one of the teacups from my collection. Today, my afternoon tea is a little bit more formal than usual and it is centered around PEI’s official floral emblem – the Lady’s Slipper which blooms in June.

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

The Lady’s Slipper is not an altogether commonly found flower in PEI though it does indeed exist in both pink and white. I have long adored these beautiful orchids and have amassed a collection of Lady’s Slipper themed dishes and china so, today, I have selected a couple of my Lady’s Slipper teacups, cake plate, teapot, and creamer for teatime.

My latest (at time of writing) Lady’s Slipper teacup acquisition is the lovely Lady’s Slipper pattern from Elizabethan’s Canadian Provincial Flowers series.

Floral Teacup
Elizabethan Fine Bone China Lady’s Slipper Cup and Saucer

The cup has a potbellied shape and sits upon a stylish little scalloped pedestal base. The cup features heavy embossing as well as gold trim on the rim, handle, and just above the pedestal base.  The handle is a classic loop broken style.

A large pink and white Lady’s Slipper set amidst green leaves adorns the front of the cup. A tiny Lady’s Slipper appears on the inside rear of the cup and a slightly larger on the reverse exterior, both mirroring the large floral display on the front exterior of the cup.

The companion cup and saucer I have chosen for my tea table is also from Elizabethan Fine Bone China but is in a different shape with straighter sides. The floral motif on this cup is the same as the potbellied cup above.

Teacup featuring Lady's Slipper
Elizabethan Fine Bone China Cup and Saucer Featuring Lady’s Slipper pattern

So, it’s obvious that pink is going to factor significantly into my color scheme for today’s teatime. I have selected tea-sized napkins with a pink background and, not surprising, a teacup pattern! A basic flat fold is simplistic, especially on a small tea table.

Teacup Napkins
Simple Flat Napkin Fold

As it is frowned upon to pick Lady’s Slippers because the orchids tend not to rejuvenate themselves if plucked from their natural habitat, I obviously do not have any of the lovely orchids on my table.  Instead, I went to my backyard flower garden and picked a selection of pretty pink and white tulips.

Tulips in vase on tea table
An Array of Pink Tulips from my Garden

My choice of teapot features, not only the Lady’s Slipper, but an iconic PEI lighthouse and a lobster fishing boat. There is no manufacturer’s mark on the teapot so I have no information on its origins.

Teapot with flowers, lighthouse, and fishing boat
Pottery Teapot Featuring the Lady’s Slipper, a Lighthouse, and Fishing Boat

I came across a small creamer that has a matching pattern to that of the teapot. The creamer was manufactured by Jubilee Fine Bone China (England).

Creamer with flowers, lighthouse, and fishing boat
Creamer with PEI Scene

I think the teapot and creamer make a lovely set. Today, for our teatime, the teapot is holding King Cole Orange Pekoe Tea.

Matching Teapot and Creamer with Lady's Slipper Pattern
Matching Teapot and Creamer with Lady’s Slippers, Lighthouse, and Lobster Fishing Boat

Because we are making teatime a little special event today, we are starting off with Grapefruit Mimosas, a lovely cool and refreshing drink.

Mimosa in tall glass
A Tall Glass of Grapefruit Mimosa

So, of course, we are going to begin with the savory course of afternoon tea and then work our way through the scones course, and then finish off with a selection of delectable small desserts. I don’t have recipes published for every food item in this posting but, for those that I do, I will put the hotlinks into the text for easy access.

Two-tiered server filled with scones, sandwiches, and stuffed croissants for teatime
Two-tiered server filled with Scones, Cucumber Sandwiches, and Mini Lobster-stuffed Croissants

Here’s what my tea table looked like with the savory and scones courses. While I will sometimes put all three courses on a three-tier server and serve it all at once to the table, today I opted to use a two-tier server for the first two courses and then cleared the table from courses one and two and brought out the sweets plate separately.

Teatime Table
Lady’s Slipper Themed Teatime Table

Typically, for the savory course, I will provide two to three different items. That, of course, is dependent upon what I am offering and how substantial the offerings are. On today’s tea table, I have two items, the quintessential Cucumber Sandwiches in open-face fashion and the more substantial Mini Lobster Croissants served on a bed of lettuce.

Cucumber Sandwich
Open-faced Cucumber Tea Sandwich

I have used mini croissants and stuffed them with the same filling as I use in my lobster rolls (recipe here). For teatime fare, I prefer to use the smaller canner lobsters as the pieces are much smaller and identifiable when used in smaller sandwiches or croissants. Using the larger market lobster means chopping the meat resulting in the shapes of the claws, etc., often being lost when used to fill small sandwiches. Everything for teatime should be proportionately small sized and dainty. The items are not meant to be full meal-sized portions.

Lobster Croissant
Mini Lobster Croissants Perfectly Sized for Teatime

How scrumptious does this look!

Lobster Croissant
Mini Lobster Croissants and Open-faced Cucumber Sandwiches

I have opted to use plain scones for today’s teatime. The recipe I have used is my Currant and Orange Scones (click here for recipe) but I have left the currants and orange zest out, resulting in melt-in-the-mouth plain scones. Can you see the layers of buttery good flakiness!

Scones on two-tiered server
Homemade Scones

The toppings for today’s scones include the traditional strawberry jam along with rhubarb curd (recipe here) and clotted cream, of course.

Three-tiered mini server filled with scone toppings
Strawberry Jam, Rhubarb Curd, and Clotted Cream for Scones

I added a wee bit of pink gel food coloring to my Rhubarb Curd to achieve this pretty deep pink color. Left to its natural color, the curd is more of an orange shade.

Rhubarb Curd
Pretty Pink Rhubarb Curd for Scones

I am not going to venture to weigh into whether the proper way to apply clotted cream is before or after the jam or curd is applied to the scone. I am going to take the diplomatic approach and say I like it both ways!

Scones with toppings on plate and pretty teapot in background
Scones Course of Afternoon Tea

And, then of course, there is the pièce de résistance – the dessert or sweets course! Again, I typically provide a selection of 2-3 sweet treats for teatime, sometimes (but not always) featuring a signature dessert as I have done today.

Desserts for Teatime
Sweets for Teatime

Miniature Victoria Sponge Cakes filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream and topped with a fresh strawberry are the signature dessert for today’s teatime.

Victoria Sponge Cake filled with Strawberry Jam and Whipped Cream
Miniature Victoria Sponge Cake

Pretty little pink French Macarons are often a teatime offering and they certainly fit into today’s color scheme! Vanilla flavored, the Macarons are filled with buttercream icing.

Pink Macaron
Pretty Pink French Macaron

Melt-in-the-mouth Melting Moments Cookies covered in a delectable pink buttercream frosting are always a teatime favorite. The recipe for my Melting Moments can be found here.

Pretty Pink Cookie for Teatime
Melting Moments Dressed in Pink Buttercream Frosting

As an added treat to the sweet plate, I have included some locally handmade artisan chocolates produced by Jane and Sue Chocolate of Stanley Bridge, PEI. How grandly did the color of these marbleized chocolates fit in with my tea table color scheme! I simply could not resist including them.

Marbleized Chocolates
Pink and Purple Marbleized Chocolates

A sugar high for days!

Cakes, Cookies, and Macarons for Teatime
Plate of Sweet Treats to end off Teatime

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into our afternoon teatime! Have a lovely week, everyone!

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Lady's Slipper Cup and Saucer for an Afternoon Tea

Teatime in the Lupins

Cup of Tea and Cupcakes
Lupin Patterned Cup and Saucer by Windsor Bone China

June is one of my favorite months of the year. Prince Edward Island is so incredibly colorful with verdant green fields and the tilled red soil freshly planted with crops at this time of year. Against this backdrop are the many wildflowers that bloom in June and none are more prolific or more beautiful, in my opinion, than the tall, elegant, colorful lupins. These stunning wildflowers are the inspiration for today’s Teatime in the Lupins. Continue reading Teatime in the Lupins

An Islander Day Cream Tea

Gold Tray with Teapot and PEI Teacups
Prince Edward Island Commemorative China Teacups

As I write this post, it is a statutory holiday known as Islander Day here in Prince Edward Island. As such, I thought it would be an appropriate time to showcase my small collection of PEI commemorative cups and saucers. Continue reading An Islander Day Cream Tea

Teatime to Celebrate 9th Blogiversary

Table set for afternoon tea for two
Teatime for Two

Today marks nine years since I began My Island Bistro Kitchen food blog. Regular followers of my food blog and social media channels will know of my love for anything and everything to do with afternoon tea! So, it would only seem fitting that my focus for celebrating this milestone would be a celebratory afternoon tea. Of course, in my case, it’s any reason at all to enjoy afternoon tea! Continue reading Teatime to Celebrate 9th Blogiversary

A Cream Tea to Celebrate 8th Blogiversary

Cream Tea
Components of a Cream Tea

Today marks my 8th Blogiversary. Eight years since I began My Island Bistro Kitchen food blog.  My, how time does fly!

In previous years, I marked this day with some kind of special sweet treat.  You can check those out by clicking on the links at the end of this posting.  It has occurred to me that I have never celebrated the occasion with a simple Cream Tea. And, regular followers of my blog will know I love anything related to a tea event!  So, a Cream Tea it is to celebrate my 8th Blogiversary! Continue reading A Cream Tea to Celebrate 8th Blogiversary

An Autumn Savoury Tea

As I write this post, it’s autumn – the days are shorter and cooler and leaves are off the trees, all signs that winter on PEI is not far off. This time of the year always makes me think of warm and cozy teas leisurely enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

A Fireside Tea

My late day event today is what I’m calling a “savoury tea” – which, because of my menu choices, most closely resembles (but is not quite) a “high tea”. I’m drawing the menu from previous postings to my food blog so those interested in the food items can access my recipes by clicking on the hotlinks throughout this posting.

Some people refer to the traditional afternoon tea of dainty (and always crustless) sandwiches, scones, and an array of sweets as “high tea” (which it isn’t). I’m not sure why this happens – perhaps it is because the food is often served on a tall (hence “high”) three-tier server (pictured below), or curate stand, along with fancy cups and saucers on the table or it may be because the mere mention of afternoon tea evokes the notion that it is a “high” society event. In any event there is a distinction between a “high tea” and an “afternoon tea” (the latter sometimes referred to as a “low tea”).

Three-tier Server
Three-tier Server

Originally, afternoon teas consisted of light refreshments served on low tables like coffee tables, for example. The idea of an afternoon tea was to have some refreshments, mid-afternoon, to counter the sluggishness often experienced in the afternoon and to stave off the hunger until dinner was served later in the evening. Partakers would often be seated in comfy armchairs as opposed to formal dining chairs and would use the low tables upon which to set their cup and saucer and refreshments. In fact, some high-end hotels in London serve afternoon tea in the surroundings of their lobbies and, indeed, comfortable armchairs and sofas are still used along with low coffee tables. Today, however, the traditional afternoon tea is most often served at regular height tables. What characterizes a traditional afternoon tea are crustless finger sandwiches, scones, sweets and, of course, tea.

High tea, on the other hand, is more like a light supper featuring hot menu items which are most frequently served at a regular height table. Foods denoting a high tea might include egg dishes like quiches, and/or dishes that include meat and fish. Bread or biscuits would most commonly be served but less likely sandwiches if hot savoury dishes are part of the menu. And, of course, there would indeed be tea! High teas, then, tend to be comprised of more substantial fare and are typically served later in the afternoon or early evening as in the case of mine today. For those who watch the British soap opera, Coronation Street, you’ll often hear the characters invite others “round for tea” – it’s “high tea” or supper they are referring to in this context. (Yes, I’m a “Corrie” fan!)

Because of the choice of menu items I am serving, my savoury tea is, therefore, most similar (but not quite identical) to a “high tea” versus an “afternoon tea”.

A Savoury Tea
A Savoury Tea

The Table

I was fortunate enough to find an antique Gibbard tea trolley, in relatively decent condition, a few years ago and it is, indeed, handy. I love to use it for displays in my dining room and, because it has a double drop leaf, it often serves as my tea table when it is just tea for two. It’s the perfect size to hold all the tea elements and is easily wheeled to whatever location in the house I choose for the tea. (I am still on the hunt for a Roxton maple tea trolley in excellent condition to match my dining room set so, if anyone on PEI has one they are interested in parting with, or knows someone who does, please get in touch!)

Tea Trolley
Tea Trolley

The Linens

The tablecloth square on my tea table is one I bought in Burano on my last trip to Italy. Yes, when I’m looking for mementos of trips, my interests usually veer toward tabletop items and foods local to the area!

The Tea Table is Set
The Tea Table is Set

Napkin folds for tea tables tend to lean toward basic, classic designs, much like the simple triangular fold I’ve chosen here. Most often, the folds tend to be flat designs as opposed to stand-up folds and the napkins are usually plain in color.

Simple Teatime Napkin Fold
Simple Teatime Napkin Fold

The Flowers

I like to include fresh flowers on my tea tables. They don’t have to be anything more elaborate than a simple bouquet of mini carnations. The arrangement, however, does need to be proportionately sized. Floral arrangements for tea tables are typically quite small, especially if it is a tea table set for two. Using a single color and variety of flower keeps the look simple and uncluttered.

Bouquet of Mini White Carnations for the Tea Table
Bouquet of Mini White Carnations for the Tea Table

Dishes and Glassware

Sometimes, it’s nice to use a formal tea set or pieces from formal china for tea settings. Matching pieces do lend an air of formality and cohesiveness to the setting. However, it’s totally acceptable to have a mix of dishes on the tea table so long as they coordinate in style and color.

Always use small tea-sized plates, or supper plates, for tea events. Small portions of food characteristic of tea fare just look better on small plates as the food does not appear so minuscule and “lost” as it would on a large dinner plate, for example. These pink design plates were a thrift shop find.

Tea Plate
Tea Plate

From my collection, I have simply chosen two different teacups and saucers that I particularly like. They both have pink designs to compliment the plates.

Teacup and Saucer
Teacup and Saucer

Both cups have wonderful designs inside and outside.

China Teacup and Saucer
China Teacup and Saucer

The teapot, a Sadler, also has a pink theme. The pink shades coordinate with the salmon pink shade highlighted in the tablecloth.

Sadler Teapot
Sadler Teapot

I found these little pedestal glasses with cranberry trim at a second-hand shop and knew they would be perfectly sized for tea tables. They lend an air of elegance and color to the table.

Cranberry Glass
Cranberry Glass

I adore my three-tier servers! They give an air of elegance and sophistication to any tea table. Plus, they are super useful and an efficient way to serve the food. All the food items can be brought to the table at once on one unit, taking up less space as tea tables tend to be small and compact. Sandwiches/savoury items go on the bottom tier, scones/biscuits on the middle tier, followed by the tempting sweet treats on the top tier.

The Menu

So, here is what is on my five-course savoury tea menu.

~ Starter ~

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

~ Savoury ~

Harvest Quiche

Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

Mini Lobster Cakes

~ Biscuits ~

Biscuits served with lemon curd and preserves

~ Sweet Offerings ~

Dark and Light Fruitcake

Frypan Cookie Balls

Gluten Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Gluten Free Melting Moments

~ Dessert ~

Luscious Lemon Curd Tartlets

~ Tea ~

Fortnum and Mason’s “Afternoon Tea” blend

The traditional order in which to consume tea foods are sandwiches/savouries first, followed by the scones/biscuits, and ending with the sweets. So, let’s take a closer look at the menu items.

Starter Course

For the starter course, I’m serving my homemade cream of roasted tomato soup with tiny squares of grilled cheese.

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

In keeping with the small portion size conducive to tea serving size, I’m serving the soup in small soup cups and threading the grilled cheese squares on to a skewer.

Cup of Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares
Cup of Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

Savoury Course

For the savoury course, I have selected three hot items – mini harvest quiches, baked stuffed fingerlings, and mini lobster cakes. By clicking on the foregoing hotlinks, you can access my recipes. I will often plan ahead for tea events when I am doing my batch cooking for the freezer. In this case, I made some mini quiches and lobster cakes earlier and had them frozen. This allows me to add some variety to my tea events that I probably might not otherwise have if I had to mix up special small batches especially for a tea event.

Mini Harvest Quiche
Mini Harvest Quiche

The fingerlings are stuffed with sausage, cheese, tomato sauce, and seasonings and are tasty little bites.

Baked Stuffed Fingerlings
Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

Living on PEI, lobster fishing is one of our main fisheries so, naturally, I am going to include it in some fashion on my menu. The small lobster cakes are served with a small dob of sour cream.

Mini Lobster Cake
Mini Lobster Cake

Keep the size portions small – they can be the same size as appetizers/hors d’oeuvres or very slightly larger. For example, I use the small individual tart shells for the mini quiches because I like the look of a complete, uncut quiche for each serving. If using pieces cut from a larger quiche, I recommend making the quiche in a small quiche/pie plate 6” – 8” in diameter, no larger.

Biscuits Course

Because this is a savoury tea, I am swapping out the traditional scones associated with afternoon tea and am replacing them with biscuits. I currently have two biscuit recipes on my food blog –  classic tea biscuits and whole wheat biscuits.  Either works well with this type of tea.

Homemade Biscuits
Homemade Biscuits

Biscuits are less sweet and rich than scones and I think they go better with my savoury tea. That doesn’t mean, however, that lemon curd and preserves can’t be enjoyed with biscuits!  It’s a great way to transition the palate from the savoury course to the sweets!

Lemon Curd, Jam, and Marmalade
Lemon Curd, Jam, and Marmalade

I have made a batch of my lemon curd to enjoy with the biscuits. Sometimes, I will use small dishes for the preserves but, if I have the small jars, I will often use them because I like the look of the tiny jars clustered together on a server plate!

Sweets Course

Fruitcake is often (but not always) found on tea tables. I am including both my light fruitcake  and dark fruitcake, cut into small pieces. Fruitcakes are rich and are best served in small pieces (and they go particularly well with a fine cup of tea). Two kinds of cookies – Gluten Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread and Gluten Free Melting Moments are also included along with Frypan Cookie Balls.

Tea Time Sweets
Sweets on the Tea Table

Desserts Course

This is an optional course because, really, the sweets themselves are generally sufficient.  However, a nice touch is to add one special signature dessert.  With my fresh batch of lemon curd, a luscious lemon curd tartlet was an obvious choice.  I added some bright red raspberries for contrast along with a sprig of greenery.

Luscious Lemon Curd Tartlet
Luscious Lemon Curd Tartlet

Tea Selection

My tea selection is one of my personal all-time favorites – Fortnum & Mason’s “Afternoon Tea” blend which I brought home from my latest trip to London.  When in London, I always try to make time for a stop at Fortnum & Mason’s flagship store on Piccadilly to browse through their food halls and to pick up some of their tea. This tea from Ceylon is crisp and refreshing yet full bodied so it goes equally  well with a savoury tea as it does with a traditional afternoon tea.

Fortnum and Mason's "Afternoon Tea" Blend
Fortnum and Mason’s “Afternoon Tea” Blend

I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to go out for afternoon tea but, unfortunately, where I live, there are no restaurants or hotels that offer this option. I think that’s why, when I’m in London, I allot time for 1-2 afternoon teas which are always a highlight of my visits. I often agonize over which ones to choose because there are so many wonderful options. I have written postings on three I particularly enjoyed and you can access those by clicking on the following links:  Afternoon Tea in London and “Scents of Summer” Afternoon Tea in London.

Tea time can be elaborate or simplified and, with some planning, can be made in to an event for entertaining family and friends at home. You’ll find inspiration for tea events of all sorts here on my blog. Simply go to the “Afternoon Teas” menu or type “Afternoon Tea” in the search box on the home page.

An Autumn Savoury Tea

Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea


Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley

The sweet little Lily of the Valley, with its dainty bell-shaped flowers, has long been a favorite flower of mine. Many, many years ago, a very dear friend of mine had a cottage on the shores of Rosebank (now Stratford), PEI.  Every spring, I’d make the trek to the cottage to pick a couple of bouquets of these fragrant flowers and there would be a posy on the dining room table and another on my desk at work.  I was thrilled when the offer came for me to dig up a clump of the Lily of the Valley roots from the prolific crop by the cottage front step.  I transplanted them at our family home. A cottage and two house builds later and transplants of the lilies have occurred at each property, all derived from the same clump of lilies that came from the Rosebank cottage. When I see the lilies bloom each spring, particularly by the cottage front step, I am reminded of sweet memories of another cottage long ago and its owner who is no longer with us. Continue reading Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea

Sweet Valentine’s Afternoon Tea

Afternoon teas are a splendid and relaxing way to spend an afternoon and catch up with friends.  Teas are perfect for special events such as birthdays, Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. For me, though,there doesn’t have to be an occasion or an event to have afternoon tea – I love the experience at any time of the year.  That said, Valentine’s Day is a great time to host an afternoon tea for friends. It’s a gorgeous girly treat! So, come along and have a peek at my afternoon tea before my guests arrive.

My color theme for this year’s Valentine’s Tea is pink and yellow, both cheery colors in the mid-winter. These beautiful tulips were grown here in PEI in the Vanco greenhouses in Mount Albion, not far from Charlottetown.

I am centering the afternoon tea around the coffee table in front of the fireplace. Cozy sofa and chairs invite a relaxing afternoon of conversation while sampling some of my home-baked treats.

I have chosen to use my Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” china for the tea and I love, love, love three-tier servers!

For an afternoon tea, it is not necessary to have several kinds of sandwiches, though that is quite lovely. Two to three varieties are just  fine. Traditional tea sandwiches for my event today include tomato and shaved turkey, and ham and Havarti cheese. I like to use different breads for the sandwiches because it adds variety to the tea plate. Sometimes I cut the sandwiches into different shapes but, today, I have simply used the traditional fingertip sandwich.

Fresh scones straight from the oven are always divine, especially with a light dusting of sugar.

I picked up the jams on a recent trip to England – I am always on the lookout for items suitable for one of my afternoon teas!

Clotted cream and lemon curd, two staples on the tea table! I could eat a jar of lemon curd just on its own!

Tender and flaky scones make a great base for the lemon curd and red berry jam.

The fresher the scones, the better!

The tartness of the lemon curd plays off well against sweet jam.

And, on the sweet plate: Simple custard with a dob of lemon curd served in small stemmed liqueur glasses, lemon spritz shortbread cookies, and pink macarons.

I love the delicate shades of pale yellow and pink together!

The macarons are flavorful, light and airy in texture.

A selection of specialty teas from the teabox allows each guest to choose her favorite!

I find tea always seem to taste so much better out of a china cup and saucer!

And, for the finale, my Dreamy Hawaiian Cupcakes frosted with buttercream twirled into a rose formation.

These festively decorated chocolate-dipped strawberries will be a real hit!

And, a glass of sparkling  wine to accompany the cupcakes and strawberries.

All set for a relaxing afternoon.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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Valentine's Afternoon Tea
Valentine’s Afternoon Tea

“Scents of Summer” Afternoon Tea in London

Scent of Summer Afternoon Tea (Photo courtesy of the Intercontental Park Lane Hotel)
Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea (Photo courtesy of the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel)

I was recently in London and, of course, a visit to London for me without having afternoon tea would not be complete! On each visit, I aim to have tea at a different venue.

My travels this visit took me to the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel which occupies a prominent and historic location near London’s Hyde Park, in the heart of Mayfair. Afternoon tea at the Park Lane is served in the Wellington Lounge which occupies the former site of 145 Piccadilly that was Her Majesty the Queen’s former childhood home. This location remained her home until 1937 when the family moved to Buckingham Palace. The home itself was destroyed during war. Between 1968-1975, the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel was constructed on the site.

The Wellington Lounge of the Park Lane, in its taupe and white hues, is elegant and sophisticated, yet casual. Comfy chairs invite a time of leisure lingering over tea. Three menu options are available for afternoon tea: The Market Garden Tea, the Royal Tea, and a seasonal tea which changes regularly throughout the year. We experienced the new “Scents of Summer” Afternoon Tea that boasts a menu inspired by the beauty of British summer time. The menu had only been introduced four days prior to our arrival and will be available throughout the summer season until September 27, 2015.

Scent of Summer Afternoon Tea (Photo Courtesy of Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel)
Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea (Photo Courtesy of Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel)

Our afternoon tea was as much a treat for all the senses as it was for the palette. Unhurried, my Mom and I spent a most enjoyable three hours savoring the creativity of Executive Chef Ashley Wells and Edward Bodenham of British Family Perfumers, Floris London. We found the servers to be knowledgeable, attentive, and accommodating without being intrusive. Rather than simply delivering the customary three-tier server with all the food on it at once, the Scents of Summer was served in individual courses. For each course, Luigi, Senior Associate, Tea and Coffee Expert, explained the food, the best order in which to consume items, and suggested appropriate tea pairings to complement the food.

We first began with a palette cleanser of rose pearl wheatgrass, bushe berries, gooseberry, and citrus mist.  This grass-based starter, served on a small tuft of grass, was a tribute to the earth.

Palette Cleaser: Rose pearl wheatgrass, bushe berries, gooseberry, and citrus mist
Palette Cleanser: Rose pearl wheatgrass, bushe berries, gooseberry, and citrus mist

This was followed by a selection of four different, colourful, and tasty pinwheel/scroll sandwiches presented on the plate in a design that resembled the shape of a butterfly.

Pinwheel/Scroll Sandwiches
Pinwheel/Scroll Sandwiches

Luigi recommended the order in which to most effectively consume the pinwheels starting with a light rose-pickled cucumber and Mascarpone on Peruvian bread followed by the more hearty salmon and Bergamot served on lemon bread.

We then progressed on to a slightly spicy pink peppercorn and thyme chicken pinwheel on tomato bread and, finally, the honey roast pumpkin with crumbled feta on spinach bread.

The tea we enjoyed with this course was Second Flush Darjeeling which some claim to be the ‘champagne of tea’.

Second Flush Darjeeling Tea to Accompany Sandwich Course
Second Flush Darjeeling Tea to Accompany Sandwich Course

The server plates were deftly removed and were replaced with the elements of the course that featured scones. Dainty buttermilk scones, fresh and still warm from the oven, were brought to the table and placed on the server along with small dishes of Devon clotted cream, wild strawberry jam, lemon curd with pink peppercorn, and Bergamot-infused Earl Grey butter.


Scones Course
Scones Course

This was accompanied by a spritz of a citrus-based spray as a “sensory” introduction to the scones course.

The scones – two plain and two sultana — were the most tender scones I have ever tasted!

Luigi recommended to first spread the jam on the scone half, then top it with the clotted cream. Literally, these scones melted in the mouth!

The recommendation of tea to pair with the scones was a full body Earl Grey Assam Tea. I must admit I have never been an Earl Grey tea fan and I usually put milk in my tea. However, Luigi recommended no milk and I found this tea was indeed a fine complement to the scones course.

Then came the pièce de résistance – the selection of sweet indulgences. Truly, these were nothing short of a work of art in the presentation that was only surpassed by the sublime melange of flavors, scents, and tastes.

Again, Luigi expertly explained each item on the tray, offering suggestions for the order in which to partake. He also recommended that the palette be cleansed and refreshed via the fresh summer berries or chocolate “pebbles” in between consuming each sweet so that the true flavors of each could be fully appreciated.

Everything you see on the tray in the photo above was edible, including the very realistic looking pebbles and the fresh pansies. A quick spritz of a floral spray with top notes leaning into Jasmine scents set the stage reminiscent of an English country garden in summer.

We first sampled the petite Jasmine Tea Cake which was delicately flavored and ever-so-tasty.

Jasmine Tea Cake
Jasmine Tea Cake

We next savoured the luscious Violet Cream and Grapefruit Tart.

Violet Cream and Grapefruit Tart
Violet Cream and Grapefruit Tart

Then, we moved on to the Bergamot and blackcurrant flower macarons which were ever so light, delicately chewy, and yet airy. For those who are connoisseurs of French macarons, they know that it is a skill to achieve the perfect macaron and these certainly fell within that category.

This was followed by the Peach Melba mousse encased in chocolate to create a realistic looking peach that could have just been picked from a tree.

The grand finale, the “Flower Pot”, was designed to be shared between two people. This consisted of rose water and pink peppercorn jelly with wild strawberry mousse served in a chocolate Terracotta pot and decorated with chocolate roses.

The tea recommended for this course was the #1 Park Lane Signature Tea which proved itself a wonderful accompaniment to the desserts.

A glass of Moët & Chandon berry floral Rosé was served with the dessert course.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the calibre of food and level of service and hospitality at the Intercontinental London Park Lane’s Wellington Lounge. I found the Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea included traditional tea items like the scones but also stepped it up a notch with the creativity of the choice of bread, and ingredients in, the sandwich pinwheels/scrolls and the selection of sweets that comprised the dessert course. We quite enjoyed having the food served in courses as opposed to simply having a standard three-tier server delivered to the table with sandwiches, scones, and sweets all on it. It lent an element of surprise and anticipation to the experience which was relaxing and unhurried. I was also impressed with the expert advice on tea pairing with each course which I felt added to the quality experience.

If you are in London this summer and go to only one afternoon tea, I recommend the Scents of Summer at the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel.

If you are in London this summer and go to only one afternoon tea, I recommend the Scents of Summer at the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel. Great thought and care has been taken with the creation of this afternoon tea menu. We spent a most relaxing and enjoyable afternoon over tea at the Park Lane and it was one of the highlights of our 2015 visit to London. Now, if I could just justify another trip to London, I would go in December to experience their holiday tea which Chef Wells is already designing. Based on his Scents of Summer creation, I can only imagine how extraordinary the Christmas afternoon tea will be.

The Scents of Summer afternoon tea experience costs ₤45 + gratuity (generally about 15%) which, at the time of writing totals approximately $100. (CDN) per person.

The Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel is located at One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, England, W1J 7QY (Tel: +44(0)20 7409 3131. Reservations are required for afternoon tea which is served from 1:00pm – 5:00pm daily. For more information, visit the hotel’s website.

My thanks to the Park Lane for the opportunity to experience their Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea and for the fine hospitality. My afternoon tea at the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel was complimentary for the purpose of conducting a review of the new Scents of Summer offering. However, this in no way influenced my opinions of the afternoon tea experience.  All opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

To read my reviews of afternoon tea at the Georgian Room at Harrods and at The Orangery at Kensington Palace, click here.



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Tea for One

Sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s nice to simply curl up by the fire with a good book and a fine cup of tea.  But why stop at a cup of tea when you can while away the afternoon with tasty fare served up in style.  So, when you have no one else to please but yourself, you can still pamper yourself and enjoy a fine afternoon tea.

Curious about what’s on the tea table today?  Let’s have a look-see what’s on the two-tier server.  Anyone who knows me really well knows I love my tiered servers!

Let’s start with the sandwiches.  Today’s offering is a simple egg salad sandwich, nice and easy to prepare, but ever so tasty!

Today I am serving a traditional scone with clotted cream, blackcurrant and blueberry jam, and my own lemon curd.

On the sweet plate, a selection of treats that include a macaron, melting moment cookie, Hello Dolly square, fruitcake, and some fresh raspberries.  Are you drooling yet?

The macaron is filled with just a wee bit of buttercream icing.

This personal-sized teapot was a thrift shop find several years ago. It holds just two cups of tea, perfect for one person.

Today’s tea is Stash’s Decaf English Breakfast, one of my all-time favorites.

While they are not a matched set, these tea plates work with the cup and saucer. Sometimes, mismatched china actually adds charm and character to a tea setting.

I love the blending of the pink shades!  It’s very girly!


Thanks for dropping in for a spot of tea.  Enjoy your week!


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A Savory Afternoon Tea by the Fireside

Brrrrr, it’s been a cold day on Prince Edward Island.  Our first cold snap of the season.  Temperatures were around -13C but, with the wind chill, it certainly felt a lot colder than that.  A good day to curl up by the fireside with some tasty food and a good cup of tea.

Was overseas to New Brunswick yesterday and, of course, that meant a stop at Tony’s Bistro and Pâtisserie in Moncton.  I introduced you to this great French Pâtisserie back in November (click here for the link to the story).

We had lunch at Tony’s yesterday and, naturally, I had to bring home some goodies that we could have for afternoon tea today.  Ready to have a peek?

Let’s start with these tasty little quiches.  Nice flaky pastry, these were delicious!

Then, there was the White Chocolate Rocher cake. This was seriously rich and decadent!  Layers of decadence!

Did you check out the little white meringue trees?  Light as air.

My choice of tea today was the Lady Slipper Blend from Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley.  You can read the story I previously published on this tea company by clicking here.

The China cups and saucers are Royal Vale but I could find no pattern name on them.

This will be my last afternoon tea of 2014 so thank you to those who have visited my tea table over the past year. I will also be joining Sandi’s last Tea Time party of the year over at Rose Chintz Cottage.

And, if you find yourself in Moncton, New Brunswick, I recommend a visit to Tony’s Bistro and Pâtisserie at 137 McLaughlin Drive.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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The Christmas Poinsettia Afternoon Tea

One of my absolute favorite ways to celebrate the holidays is with a festive afternoon tea.  It’s a relaxed way to entertain whether it’s one guest or several.  The best part of entertaining with afternoon tea is that much of the preparation can be done in advance before guests arrive.

Today, my afternoon tea setting is for two in front of the warm and cozy fireplace and beside the Christmas tree.  It’s a reason to stop, pause, and relax during the busy Christmas preparations.

I have been fortunate in finding some pieces of Christmas China over the years that just beg for an afternoon tea experience. The teapot and teacups are made by Sadler.

The tea is being served on a tea trolley.  I like the versatility of trolleys as they can be used solely as a serving unit beside a larger table or even, depending on their size, as a miniature self-serve buffet.  Or, either one or both of the trolley extensions can be lifted, turning the unit into a tea table as I have done today.  This tea trolley is the larger of the two I own.

A few years ago, I found the delightful Christmas table square in the photo above. With its poinsettias and candles, it became the canvas and theme for today’s tea.

I like the miniature poinsettias like the one in the photo above.  I use them on tea tables, in placesettings, and on bed trays because they are just the perfect size and add a touch of Christmas wherever they are used.

I have been searching for some time now for a small set of sugar tongs.  I found the antique tongs in a local second-hand shop recently. The  tea plates in the photo below are Royal Adderly “Poinsettia” pattern.

I love tiered servers and, while there are many pretty floral ones available, my preference is for the plain white because the food really stands out against the white background.  I can mix and match my teapots and cups and saucers much easier with a white server than with a floral.

I have followed the traditional order of placement on a three-tier server:  sandwiches on the bottom plate, scones on the middle, and sweets on the top tier.

The green spinach tortillas with the dots of dried cranberries add color to the sandwich plate and the fresh raspberries add a splash of red against the white bread.

Toothsome cranberry scones in the photo above were enjoyed for the scones course.

An easy way to get a taste of cherry cheesecake when you only want a couple of servings is to make them individually in tiny glasses.

Of course, a traditional tea tray would include fruitcake.  This is my own recipe which I developed and shared earlier and you can find it by clicking here.

Here is the menu for the tea.

~ Eggnog with a sprinkle of Nutmeg ~

~ Selection of Tea Sandwiches ~

Egg Salad

Sliced Turkey with Cranberry Mayonnaise

Cucumber with Herbed Cream Cheese

Pinwheel Spinach Wraps with Cream Cheese, Fig Goat Cheese, Sliced Turkey, Green Onions and Dried Cranberries

~ Scones ~

– Cranberry Scones served with Butter and Homemade Strawberry Jam ~

~ Sweets ~

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Dark Fruitcake

Melting Moments

Miniature Cherry Cheesecake

Brown Sugar Fudge

~ Tea Selection ~

Kenyan Tinderet (David’s Tea)

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

My best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful Christmas season.


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Christmas Afternoon Tea
Christmas Poincettia Afternoon Tea

Late Autumn Afternoon Tea

Lots of new things to share in today’s afternoon tea posting!

I have been looking for a long time for a tea cart, or tea trolley.  I was specifically looking for a Roxton maple cart but none was showing up.  However, I was able to find one in a darker wood that is in need of a little TLC at some point but is still usable in the meantime.  So, our afternoon tea today was served via the new-to-me tea cart.

The second new acquistion is the little circular tablecloth.  I bought it at the local Anne of Green Gables store on the corner of Queen and Richmond Street in downtown Charlottetown, PEI.  They have a great selection of these types of small tablecloths, squares, and runners, and at reasonable prices.  I particularly like the sunflower design for late summer and autumn use.  It also looks great on the centre of my light maple dining room table.

The third new treasure (I told you there were lots!) is the new-to-me Ellgreave teapot.  While I tend to lean toward pretty pinks, yellows, and mauves in teapot colors, the shape and the gold trim of this one particularly took my eye.  The colors are also suitable for autumn teas.

I chose a couple of teacups and saucers from my small autumn collection.  Both blend well with the teapot colors.

I like the rich tones in the rose in the above teacup (Cololough, Eng.) along with its gold trim to match that on the teapot.  I like the fall motif on the cup (Royal Vale, Eng.) below.

The fourth new discovery comes from Tony’s Bistro and Pâtisserie in Moncton, New Brunswick.  I was recently overseas “to the mainland”, as many of us Islanders say, and on the recommendation of a colleague, went to Tony’s Bistro for lunch.  It was difficult to pass by the two display cases filled with delectable sweet treats.  While I normally prepare all the food for my afternoon teas, I thought it would be fun to have someone else’s sweets for a change.  And, I was not disappointed!  Eager to have a look at my choices? (Note: All food items on today’s tea table, with the exception of the chocolate truffles, came from Tony’s.)

First the Raspberry Macarons.  These are so light and airy with just the right touch of chewiness.  Divine perfection.

Raspberry Macaron
Raspberry Macaron

These crisp little raspberry-filled shortbreads had just the right amount of crunch.


And, last but not least, this delectable cake that no chocolate lover could resist!

So, if you are lucky enough to have a great French pâtisserie in your area, tea time can be very easy as you don’t have to bake!  All you have to do is make a stop at your favorite pâtisserie and then add the location, dishes, fine company, and a good pot of tea.  It’s also a good opportunity to try specialty items that you might not normally bake yourself.

Today’s tea selection is a classic, full-bodied black tea from King Cole, another New Brunswick company.  My afternoon tea has a distinct New Brunswick influence today!

King Cole Tea in a Pretty China Cup
King Cole Tea in a Pretty China Cup

Now that the tea elements have been duly admired and photographed, it’s time to sit down for tea!

I hope you have enjoyed taking a peek at my afternoon tea.  If you find yourself in Moncton, I recommend checking out Tony’s Bistro and Pâtisserie  at 137 McLaughlin Drive.


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Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley

If you are a regular patron of the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market and happen to be a tea drinker, chances are you are familiar with Katherine Burnett and the Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley brand of teas and tea bar at the market.

Lady Baker's Tea Trolley Tea Bar at the Charlottetown Farmers Market
Katherine Burnett, owner of Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley Tea Bar at the Charlottetown Farmers Market

I recently sat down with Katherine for brunch at the farmers’market to learn more about her tea business.

Katherine Burnett, Owner, Lady Baker's Tea Trolley
Katherine Burnett, Owner, Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley

Katherine grew up on PEI but lived off Island for many years before returning in 2006. In 2001, while living in Charlotte, NC, Katherine began hosting tea parties as a ministry for the elderly. She named her afternoon tea party business “Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley” as a tribute to the memory of a friend, Irene Baker, who enjoyed the finer things in life, like afternoon tea. Interest in the tea parties grew to the point where Katherine was soon hosting afternoon teas for corporations, churches, and even the opera.

As her tea party business grew so, too, did her interest and knowledge in all things tea-related. She pursued online courses in tea blending and attended specialty tea conferences and is now at level 3 (of 4) of the process to be designated a tea sommelier. Katherine is also a member of the Tea Association of Canada.

In the fall of 2007, with just 16 varieties of tea and 2 tea-making machines, Katherine set up a tea bar at the popular Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. The teas come from the major tea-producing countries of India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Taiwan. The imported teas follow strict guidelines, are low in pesticides, and most come from members of the Ethical Tea Partnerships.

Katherine blends some of the teas herself and now sells some 60 varieties of loose tea.

She tells me her most popular blend, which incidentally is her personal favourite, is a black tea she calls the Lady’s Slipper Blend, aptly named after PEI’s official provincial flower. Her pumpkin spice blend enjoys popularity as well with her patrons who favour it for lattes. At the Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley bar at the market, look for specialty tea blends like Abegweit Lullaby to aid sleep and Pink Lady Grey which is an eye-appealing blend featuring Earl Grey tea and pink rose petals. Who knew where a small, modest personal collection of 13 china cups and saucers would lead Katherine!

Since there are several options to brewing tea (e.g., tea bags, loose leaf with infuser or loose tea directly in the tea pot), I asked Katherine for her preference. She says she prefers to brew loose leaf tea in an infuser in the tea pot. Katherine also recommends that the water for the tea first be filtered and then brought to a boil. If brewing green tea, let the water sit until it drops to the proper temperature (85°) before adding and brewing the tea leaves.

I asked Katherine if she sees any trends emerging in tea drinking. She says she is noticing a renewed popularity in tea drinking with specialty tea shops opening and with the wide variety of tea-brewing equipment and stylish infuser mugs readily available. As well, she notices an increased interest in green teas with information and research on its health benefits becoming more widely known. Additionally, there seems to be a new market for teas – those of high school and college age. In fact, this year Katherine prepared special tea packages to be included in the UPEI student welcome kits. With the university being located just across the street from the farmers’ market, it’s likely some of the students will visit the Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley bar on Saturday mornings. Katherine also sees more tea being used in ways other than as a beverage. For example, Chai and Matcha are now often used in baked goods such as muffins and energy bars. In fact, Katherine sells yummy homemade tea energy bars at her booth. Tea lattes are also becoming very popular — ⅔ cup of a strong tea topped up with ⅓ cup of foamed milk. Iced teas remain popular in the hot summer months when many find the drink hydrating and refreshing. Fruit blends of green teas, such as Katherine’s Island Strawberry blend, have become very popular iced teas.

Tea, like coffee, is an enduring popular drink. It’s a beverage that is moving with the times. With its various varieties and blends along with new ways of drinking tea and using it in baking, it’s proof of tradition blending successfully with modern trends.

In addition to being available at the farmers’ market, Lady Baker’s teas are available across PEI at specialty shops and are also found served in many of the Island’s finest restaurants and at select bed and breakfasts. The teas may also be ordered online via the Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley website at

Now, it’s time for tea!

I decided to try the Lady’s Slipper tea blend for a late summer afternoon tea. This is a lovely, mellow tea blend with hints of vanilla.  I have some pieces of Lady’s Slipper china so it seemed only fitting to feature them with this blend of tea.

The quintessential tea time sandwiches of egg salad and cucumber were served on my Lady Slipper plate.

I used two different styles of Lady’s Slipper china cups and saucers.

The great thing about afternoon tea is that several different pieces of china can be blended and used with success.  Not everything has to match perfectly on the table.  It just needs to blend.

These dainty little pink glasses blend well with the china and are the perfect size for an afternoon tea table.

The little pottery Lady’s Slipper vase in the photo below was a gift from an elementary school teacher.  We had gone on an end of year school outing to a local theme park which had a small gift shop in a flying saucer (readers on PEI will likely guess which theme park I’m referring to).  The teacher told us each to pick out something we wanted and it was her gift to us.  Even as a small child, I liked pretty things and opted for a vase instead of a toy!  I won’t tell you how many years ago that was but let’s just say it wasn’t yesterday!  The lovely flowers in the vase are from Island Meadow Farms in York, PEI.

Fresh blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert!

I always say the sign of a true homemade pie is when some of the filling bubbles out 🙂  (Well, that’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it!)

The blueberries for the pie came from Murray’s U-pick in North Tryon.  They grow wonderful high bush blueberries.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting the lady behind Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley and dropping by for a spot of her Lady’s Slipper tea blend.

I will be joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday this week.


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