Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gatherings

There is nothing like a spontaneous gathering of two or three friends over a cup of herbal tea and some delicious cucumber sandwiches. But with the popularity of afternoon tea, many tea rooms and restaurants require reservations weeks in advance, making spontaneity difficult. If you can work it out, it is especially fun to have tea for a shopping trip break, nothing could be more relaxing. For my love of “tea”, I started to have it more with activities at home. With any gathering of friends, a girls night in, craft night or a family occasion such as a shower – do a tea.

Afternoon tea is traditionally enjoyed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Although it is an Irish tradition of serving tea with milk and sugar, it is perfectly acceptable to also serve flavored tea, coffee, or iced tea. You can make your tea unique to you.

The crusts are cut off of soft bread slices to make small sandwiches of smoked salmon, cucumber and butter, or egg salad and watercress. Scones are served with butter, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The light meal is finished with sweet cakes, tarts, petit fours, and other pastries. One of the advantages of preparing a tea is that most of your prep can be done ahead of time so you can enjoy all of your time with your guests.

Next time you are planning, see how you can incorporate tea into your event. Your family and friends will love it.

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