My friend and I hosted a Victorian Ladies Tea Party yesterday. Several months ago we were talking, the idea came up, we both loved it - and from there it blossomed. We sent out real invitations - you know, in the mail - asking ladies to come out for the afternoon tea dressed up and wearing a special hat.
And I'd say it was a smashing success!
We had a range of dressed up ladies show up, from young babies to...well...older ladies.
There were several different flavours of tea, both caffeinated and de-caffeinated including Earl Grey Rooibos, Monks Blend, Lemon Green Rooibos (which I'm told was excellent), Chocolate Mint, Orange tea and even an iced tea. Although it was very hot outside (and inside) everyone had tea of some kind.
There were cucumber sandwiches, radish sandwiches, tea crackers, cakes, cookies, scones (of course) with butter and freshly made jam, chocolate covered strawberries - and even a gluten free nut cake with chocolate icing!
The butter was cut into quaint little shapes with piped swirls on top.
And what is a high tea without clotted cream?
(I'm told cc is a mixture of whipping cream, sour cream and sugar - my was it delicious.)
A beautiful and delicate tea cake.
We had little tea facts and quotes from Victorian (and post-Victorian) novels relating to tea. Here was my favourite. It's from Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
"[Lady Audley] looked very pretty and innocent, seated behind the graceful group of delicate opal china and glittering silver. Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea. The most feminine and domestic of all occupations imparts a magic harmony to her every movement, a witchery to her every glance. The floating mists from the boiling liquid in which she infuses the soothing herbs; whose secrets are known to her alone, envelope her in a cloud of scented vapor, through which she seems a social fairy, weaving potent spells with Gunpowder and Bohea. At the tea-table she reigns omnipotent, unapproachable."
Two ladies said they had been thinking about putting on something like this, but never got around to it, and one lady said she would like to start a tea society that puts on a high tea maybe twice a year. I'm in. I had quite a bit of fun organizing and putting on this one.