I have been in love with “Tea Time” since I was a little girl growing up drinking tea the way other kids drank soda! Both grandmothers were Irish and English so afternoon tea was a normal event at Nan’s house…..Although I married an Italian, who drinks Espresso in the afternoon, I still kept my “Tea Habits”…..and keeping the tradition doesn’t mean Afternoon Tea has to be over the top, as laid back as we are here in the country, my Country Style Afternoon Tea is simple but a tradition none the less….
Where did all this start? well Tea Time Magazine explains the origins of Afternoon Tea and the versatile Tea Tray…which may be the next collectible on my dish closet bucket list!
“……In the 19th century, the pairing of tea with a light snack to quiet the hunger between an early lunch and a late-night dinner became known as “afternoon tea.” As the practice grew, so did the demand for elegant tea wares and serving pieces. The tiered tea tray came about as a convenient way to display delicate mini courses with an economical use of space. Situated at or near the center of the table and surrounded by teapots, cups, bowls, and spreads, the practical device allowed easy access to the food. Shaped like a pyramid and typically stacked with three plates, or tiers, the tray was an ideal way to accommodate scones, savories, and sweets simultaneously, giving guests an order in which the courses should be eaten. In the earliest years of the tea tray’s history, the top tier was reserved for scones, which were kept warm by a silver warming dome. The second, or middle, plate held sweets like petits fours, marzipan, and cakes. The bottom tier was the serving station for simple and crustless sandwiches. In general, guests served themselves from the bottom tier first and worked their way to the top.
The silver dome has all but disappeared from modern tea wares, allowing scones to migrate to a lower tier and hostesses to vary the order. During afternoon tea, the accepted rule of thumb generally remains that the food is served from the bottom tier up. This emphasis on course order makes etiquette easy, as well as provides the aesthetic benefit of a full top tier throughout tea…”
…….A traditional Afternoon Tea has several courses: Scone Course / Savories Course / Sweets Course…..
So what better way to celebrate Autumn when it finally comes up the mountain? A country-style Afternoon Tea of course! Here are some of my thoughts on what I will serve and the atmosphere I want to create…..
I am thinking of following the lead from the above photo, and going with the Autumn Ambassador – Apples! Pairing them with delicious counterparts such as Gruyere’ Cheese, Gouda, Country Ham, Pulled Pork, Arugula….are you hungry yet?
Apple Cinnamon Walnut Scones
Apple Blue Cheese Scones
Crab & Gruyere Quiche
Marinated Pork with Angel Biscuits
Apple Pecan Bars
I am planning on hosting this Tea in the family room, gathering around the fireplace….maybe I can convince my guests to don chapeau’s whilst still keeping the venue Countrystyle…. ….hmmmm, will have to confer with the Divine Ms. B on that one!
Autumn usually means my kitchen works overtime, and the entire house rocks with the aroma’s of pies and beef stew. The dogs actually spend most of their time in the kitchen or in front of the fireplace…depending on where lunch is being served….
But for today….I can only wait patiently for Autumn to come knocking at the door, because right now its 92 degrees on the deck!
While you wait for Autumn, what will your kitchen be doing to keep cool? Mine will be on hiatus and the grill will be working overtime!
Happy Hot Monday….
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