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Tips for Hi-tea parties

What is High-tea?

The concept of high-tea, otherwise known as meat tea, was popularized in England during the 1700s. An early evening meal usually eaten after sunset, high-tea usually comprises hot or cold meat, sandwiches, sweets, cakes and of course, tea.

Afternoon tea is not the same high tea. While afternoon tea which is usually light is enjoyed during the late afternoon hours, high tea is heavier and includes more number of snacks and refreshments.

What to serve for a High-tea

High-tea is a perfect way to celebrate or entertain guests especially when you do not want the party to be too formal or too casual. Here are some food items that should not be missed while setting a table for a High-tea party:

  • Tea- The most important item of a high-tea party is no doubt, tea. So be ready with a variety of teas for your guests- Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, White tea, Oolong tea, Iced tea, Green tea- it is all your choice! Make sure that the tea is prepared properly and the original flavour is not lost.
  • Cold meat, eggs or fish
  • Finger sandwiches (sandwiches cut into ¼ or ¾th the size with the crusts removed) - Smoked Salmon sandwiches, Cucumber mint sandwiches, Cream cheese sandwiches, Egg sandwiches, Welsh Rarebit
  • Scones- Orange glazed, Cherry, Cranberry
  • Cakes- Chocolate Sponge Cake, Marble cake
  • Tarts- Strawberry tarts, Lemon tarts, Butter tarts

Make sure you have ample supply of butter, jam, cream, milk, sugar etc. as well.

How to set the table for a High-tea

The table can be set as per your taste with your favourite table cloth and placemats, cutlery and crockery, pretty tea cups, sugar bowl and china teapot and matching napkins and napkin rings, ideally of matching colours.

The placemats are to be placed approximately at a distance of ½” from the edge of the table. The knife should be placed on the right side of the place mat and the fork to the left. The dessert spoon and fork are to be placed at the top of the placemat. The teacup, saucer and spoon should be above the knife and the side plate above the fork.

You can finish off with a well-arranged flower vase at the centre of the table if you have enough space. Create a relaxing atmosphere by playing music, perhaps some western classical music if you want to go for English setting.