For the last two summers I’ve been very stressed over the condition of my hydrangea bushes. Last year there was one blossom. One, about the size of a golf ball. After wicked winters, hurricanes, and early frosts, I feared the worst! But these beauties are of hardy stock, and this year I am happy to report that the bushes are bursting with blooms in every glorious shade of pink, lavender and blue.
What better reason to have a pretty tea party?
Proper tea parties start with a pretty invitation, and here’s yours:
Vintage tea parties require vintage elements, and because I’m so happy about my flowers, I am going to use some very special tea cups.
Around the turn of the last century young women painted china as an artistic hobby. My cups and plates were hand painted by Mr. Fun’s grandmother and I now have the privilege of caring for them. Nana was born in 1899 and lived to be an active and alert 101 year old, interesting, intelligent and talented woman. I think the cups and the luncheon plates are marked with her monogram.
The monograms and brilliant edges and handles are painted with gold.
The paper thin porcelain pieces with tea cups perfectly balanced for sipping tea have a backstamp indicating that they were made in Prussia.
We are using four of the six at our tea table today. I think ‘buttercups’ when I see this set.
Any ideas as to these? Could they be hydrangea?
These must be violets.
~~ the design continues around the entire rim ~~
And these, I think, are wild roses.
For all the years that I knew Nana these beautiful pieces were locked away in her china closet. They are much prettier on a table, ready to hold our tea and other goodies.
We have flowers on the cups and flowers from my yard, so why not have some flower finger food too?
Edible flowers are strewn throughout the pages of The Vintage Tea Party books, but my culinary skills are a little weak, so I’ll spare us the possibility of eating the wrong ones, and instead combine the idea of edible flowers and tea sandwiches you often find at a proper tea.
I used recipes from the books and adjusted them a bit, then cut the breads (a soft white and a pumpernickel) with a flower cookie cutter.
Radish and poppy seed with a cream cheese base are easy to whip up and are delicious! The scent of fresh radish filled the air as I whipped them up in the food processor! The ladies in those vintage times must have chopped forever!
I love a good chunky egg salad on grainy bread with large juicy tomatoes, but in my living room I would prefer neat food. So I made the egg salad and again whipped it up in the food processor to make a fine spread.
We also like bagels and lox with cream cheese, again not appropriate for a tea party, so my dainty take on this classic was to use salmon flavored cream cheese and top it with cukes and tomatoes.
Now the general rule at a fancy affair or cocktail party with passed plates is that the tiny toppings indicate what is inside the finger food, but as our party is small you can always ask the hostess (me!) if you are unsure. I used very finely sliced radishes, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes, carrots curls and mint from the yard to create a flower garden of tea sandwiches.
A little sweet bit is always a good way to end, but I’m warning you now that you may want to look away. Just close your eyes and pop this tidbit into your mouth.
True confessions. The first batch looked even worse, so I “disposed” of the evidence. Every last delicious, gooey, sweet morsel.
Just think about this: brioche and nutella, fried in real butter. And a raspberry.
If you prefer to get your sweet kick in your tea cup, add a few sugar hearts. These were the easiest part of this table! Mix sugar with a few drops of water, press into a candy mold, and let it sit until it is hard. They are very sturdy and if you are clever you can add icing flowers.
Where there are flowers there are usually birds (we have a hummingbird family this year!!).
I hope you have enjoyed our tea party as much as I enjoyed preparing and serving it to you. I’ve had so much fun being inspired by The Vintage Tea Party series. I’ll definitely be serving the foods I tried again, and I’ll be having many more tea parties.
The books include ideas for many types of tea parties, not just pretty and dainty ones.
For more beauty, inspiration and ideas for tea parties of every sort, please visit The Novel Bakers.
And thank you for having tea with me!