The Hidden Tea Room

I began throwing tea parties in earnest in the spring of 2013; so this blog is really about a year and a half overdue. I had collaborated previously with a friend on a holiday benefit tea for our theatre company, but I really wanted to see if I could kick it up a notch on my own. There are few things I love more than going to events or parties where the space has been curated and the organizers have focused on the details so as to fully immerse the guests in a world. I was genuinely interested in seeing what I might be able to build.

I started small. I wanted to keep the first one simple and execute a somewhat traditional tea: nothing too out there or fancy, really, for this inaugural event. The theme was centered around the season: A Celebration of Spring.

The decorations were kept light, fresh, and bright. I moved out some decidedly autumnal pieces from my dining room and moved in the more dainty bits. We gathered branches from around the neighborhood, bought lavender crepe streamers, and made some wisteria branches to hang from the ceiling. I also made some tissue poms using this tutorial, which was based on a classic by Martha Stewart. To complete the mood, my then boyfriend, now husband, Bryan made a playlist of 1940’s standards to accent the vintage and romantic vibe.

For the invitations, I chose a vernal and lady-like Paperless Post e-card design. I highly recommend them. When established in 2009, Paperless Post, as the name implies, was a simple and elegant e-card business. Now, they have not only expanded their range of e-mailable gorgeousness but also have a wonderful line of corresponding mailable cards and invitations. Look at the loveliness above! I can’t praise them enough. If you haven’t already, try them out for your next event.

My menu was pretty basic: classic tea sandwiches, traditional scones, sorbet as a palate cleanser and, of course, the tea cake. Each course had a corresponding tea, with a chilled green tea as a refreshment available throughout. One of my guests was in her last month of pregnancy and could not do caffeine or deli meat, while another guest had gluten and dairy allergies; so I did make certain to offer alternatives where needed.

A Celebration of Spring Tea Menu

Rhubarb Green Tea – Adagio Teas – Iced with strawberry & mint cubes

Paris – Harney & Sons – Fruity black tea blend with vanilla & bergamot – a favorite!
Decaf Earl Grey – Adagio – decaffeinated alternate to Paris
Classic Cucumber & Cream Cheese on White Bread Sandwiches
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus & Cucumber on Gluten-free Bread Sandwiches
Smoked Turkey & Cranberry Jam on Wheat Bread Sandwiches
Chunky Peanut Butter & Honey on Sunflower Bread Sandwiches

Lemon Sorbet with Mint

Foxtrot – Adagio Teas – herbal blend with chamomile, rooibos, peppermint, & vanilla
White Raisin Scones with Jam & Clotted Cream
Gluten-free White Raisin Scones with Jam – gluten & dairy-free option

Strawberry Misaki –Teavana – white flowering tea
Decaf Apricot Green – Adagio Teas – decaffeinated option
Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Frosting -I also modified this recipe to make a dairy and gluten-free alternative

It was a wonderful afternoon with such lovely ladies, and it certainly whetted my appetite for diving a little deeper in the future. Next time: something a bit more distinctive for my evening summer tea!

Thank you to my friend Emily Schwartz for the gorgeous photos!

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