Tuesday 2 December 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club's Top Tips for Afternoon Tea Success!

As experts in the finger sandwiches and cake department, we often get asked what some of our favourite components are for the perfect Afternoon Tea. So we thought it would be a good idea to give you a little run down of some of our top picks for a successful tea.

It starts with a simple sandwich ... 

Savoury selection at IC Westminster.

Every successful afternoon tea starts with a good range of sandwiches. A simple ham sandwich on plain white bread is fine but this is Afternoon Tea – it needs some pizazz! A nice range of breads makes a world of difference, as do fillings with a slight twist in spread or presentation. We see this more and more often these days but a good addition to a savoury palette is a mini smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese – a traditional filling but the bagel gives it a bit of added cool.

Top tip! For extra points, a completely different form of savoury miniature is always a good option to go with. Think a homemade sausage roll or pie.

What goes first - jam or cream?

Rosewater Bakery - Rosewater scones.

You can’t have afternoon tea without scones – well you can, but you best have a good replacement! A great way to make such a standard component that little bit special is to have a signature flavour. We have come across fantastic rosewater scones and apple flavours on our travels. These subtle flavours just give this staple an extra kick and can really add to a running theme that’s identifiable with a particular venue.

Top tip! If scones are a little too conventional, strawberry shortcake makes a worthy substitute.

Macarooning magic. 

Colourful Macaroons at Manchester House.

Some people can take them or leave them, we’re fans but there has to be a point to them be that an interesting colour theme or unusual flavour. Macaroons that surprise you with their flavour work really well, like a chocolate style one that’s actually filled with blackcurrant flavour – yum!

Top tip! Mix things up, offer a choice of a couple of flavours depending on the size of the tea.

Keeping up with the classics.

Not that you could mistake a classic Bettys tea.

Whilst it’s good to be quirky it’s important not to ignore the basics. These things are classics for a reason. A good slice of victoria sponge or lemon drizzle never goes a miss and is quite often more popular than a fussy three layer cake.

Top tip! Adding a caramel swirl or a hotel signature brand on top can give what would appear to be a boring old victoria sponge, just a little sparkle.

Afternoon ... what was that last bit again?

Proper timed tea at Crewe Hall.

You would not believe the amount of tearooms we visit that neglect the importance of the tea part of Afternoon Tea. A choice of tea goes a long way in our books, even if we do often go for a simple old earl grey but this is where venues can really get creative and often miss the opportunity.

Top tip! Get creative with names and presentation. The irresistible aroma from an assortment of tea can really set the mood and make for a much more interactive event.  

Feast your eyes. 

Afternoon Tea ... in a greenhouse at IC Westminster.

Of course a tea has got to taste good but we eat with our eyes first and presentation is so important for making a good tea. There’s no one size fits all, whether its all matchy, matchy or a bit hotchpotch, Afternoon Tea should have a style that makes you go wow.

Top tip! From cute glasses for a mousse to a miniature greenhouse, Afternoon Tea should be something to remember and cool accents like this can really set a tea apart.

So there’s just a few things that in our humble opinion, make for a pretty perfect Afternoon Tea. What about you - What are some of your essential components? Tweet us @TeacupReview #EssentialAfternoonTea.

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