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tea and  toast how to host a tea party
Patricia Virella | 1 2 3
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If sandwiches don't sound good to you, try serving different muffins, scones or mini-danishes instead. You can bake these treats all from scratch, or you can leave the work to others and head to your favorite supermarket or patissierie. Like with sandwiches, make sure to have as many different selections as possible. Go for at least two flavors with every sweet treat you choose. When serving the food at your tea party, you want to make sure you have a nice assortment and keep the theme throughout. If you're going to offer sandwiches as well as sweets, keep dessert simple by serving toasted squares with an arrangement of butters, jams or sweet spreads.

Think tea party and you might envision something dainty and old-fashioned, involving a whole lot of lace. This was the notion I always got of tea parties listening to older family members talk about these quaint events. Now, I'm not a lace type of person and neither are my friends, so I wondered how I could make my afternoon special. The answer -- take extra time to dress up your tablescape.

I used a special green damask tablecloth, and cloth placemats with their matching napkins. I also used a cake plate to serve the different types of sandwiches and small baskets for the toast points. Transferring the jams and sweet spreads out of the jars and into bowls with small spoons gives an extra touch of elegance. If you don't have a tea kettle or a matching set of mugs or teacups, improvise. Boil the water in a pan or heat it up in the microwave inside of the mugs. If you want to get matching mugs and don't want to clean out your bank account, try the Salvation Army or check out home store sales. When buying mugs or teacups, look for designs that are simple and classic so you can use them year round for every occasion.

Creating a modern tea party can be all the rage with your friends, but make sure you are comfortable with what you are serving to your guests. Keeping it small at first will help you to work out the kinks; you'll learn what you'll need to do in the future and what should stay the same. The afternoon is all about making it special, whether it's lace and gloves or big mugs and hearty sandwiches. Whatever your take on the party, this new tradition is sure to have your friends asking for more tea time in the future.


Patricia Virella was born in Spanish Harlem, and grew up entirely in NYC. She currently lives in Brooklyn and is the owner of Comida, Catering by Patricia, and a freelance food/entertaining writer. When she's not throwing fabulous dinner parties on a shoestring budget, she enjoys spending time with her 6 and 9 year old nephews, as well as painting.

check out these related articles:
t is for tea | art of the french press | winter mini-parties 

more articles by Patricia Virella:
life's a picnic | fab finales | i don't eat that!
hosting picky eaters | dinner for two, chez vous | entertaining on a budget 

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