I am a tea lover and I especially love tea-time and the whole tradition behind it! As the holidays approach and I search for economical ways to entertain, I thought "tea-time with a twist" might just be the perfect holiday fare.
High tea is a British tradition that dates back to the 1700s. At that time there were two main meals, breakfast and dinner. Dinner was served very late in the evening, so high tea satisfied the hunger pangs between meals. Soon, this idea of afternoon tea caught on and the emphasis of this gathering focused on presentation and conversation.
With that history in mind, the "twist" would be to host this holiday tea party for a small group in the early evening. Instead of serving tea, why not spice things up with hot tea cocktails!
I love to entertain, but I also want to keep it simple, appetizing and of course presentable!
My suggestions for cocktails, appetizers and dessert are as follows:
Ginger Rum Tea or Fireside Punch
Both are made from ingredients that are easily available from your local grocery or liquor store.
Tea Sandwiches with Goat Cheese and Cucumber
I found this very easy recipe in Padma Lakshmi's cook book, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, page 10. Essentially buy Pepperidge Farm Very Thin white (or whole wheat) bread, a package of plain goat cheese, fresh pomegranate seeds, a cucumber, sliced into thin rounds, dry dill weed and olive oil. Let the goat cheese soften, mix with about 1/4 teaspoon olive oil and 2-3 teaspoons of dill weed. Grill the bread slices so that they are lightly toasted. Spread the goat cheese mix on the bread, sprinkle with some pomegranate seeds and press into the cheese, top with cucumber rounds, cut into triangles and its done! They taste good and look festive!
If you plan ahead, you can order great appetizers and hors d'oeuvres from one of my favorite stores, Williams Sonoma.
My picks are: Palmier Collection, Empanadas, Bake-off Cheese Straws
Going with keeping it simple, why not make an all time favorite, Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies! Click here for a great Recipe.
Look to your local 99 Cent Store or Family Dollar Store for inexpensive decorative serving ware that suits your style and you are done!
You can have a great holiday tea party for a small group of friends within a budget of $100-$150, not so bad!
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!