A bright idea came into Alice’s head. “Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?” she asked.
“Yes, that’s it,” said the Hatter with a sigh: “it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.”
“Then you keep moving round, I suppose?” said Alice.
“Exactly so,” said the Hatter: “as the things get used up.”
From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
Chapter VII ‘A Mad Tea-Party’
Don’t you just love the idea of a perpetual tea party? I have had a thing for a proper old-fashioned afternoon tea ever since I was a child, when I would read about Alice and her curious friends and then take tea with my dolls using my miniature china tea set.
So you can imagine my delight when I heard there will a Cream of Somerset Vintage Tea Party at the Wells Food Festival next month. Wells Town Hall will be all decked out in vintage style and tea will be served by waitresses from the local WI. I was even more delighted to be asked by the organisers if I would take photographs for their publicity, especially since I’d get to ‘play’ with beautiful vintage china from Queenie’s Tea Rooms in Wells’ Artisan Quarter and sample some delectable sweet fancies from the Barley Sugar Bakehouse.
As well as gorgeous pastries, you can also enjoy a round of dainty finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and hedgerow jam made by Somerset Wildlife Trust members, served with a big pot of tea (or coffee if you must).
If that’s not enough, there will also be a selection of 20 delicious cakes from Trine Hahnemann’s cake table to tempt you, chosen and baked from her brilliant new book Scandinavian Baking. If you don’t know Trine Hahnemann, look out for her on this week’s Great British Bake Off in which the contestants are tasked with baking European Cakes. There’ll even be the chance to meet Trine herself at the tea party, along with vintage queen Pearl Lowe.
Sounds good, hey? To book your place at the tea party on Sunday 12 October, visit wellsfoodfestival.co.uk.
But if you can’t make it to Wells, why not throw your own tea party? It’s a splendid way to while away an afternoon with good company, good conversation and good food. All served in pretty bone china of course. But what to serve your guests? Here are a few ideas from some of my fellow food bloggers…
- White Loaf made with yoghurt from Fuss Free Flavours: the perfect fluffy white loaf from which to cut your little finger sandwiches.
- Victorian Watercress Tea Sandwiches from Lavender & Lovage: simple watercress with salted butter – a lovely filling for your tea time sandwiches.
- Open-Faced Radish Cream Cheese Sandwiches from Recipes From a Pantry: open-faced sandwiches are so pretty and perfect for an elegant tea.
- Three Allium Smoked Chilli Tart from Chocolate Log Blog: an elegant savoury tart with a spicy kick to serve alongside the sandwiches.
- Cheese and Chive Scones with Marjoram from Farmersgirl Kitchen: how about a savoury scone instead of the usual sweet ones?
- Devon Scones from Simply Food: the quintessentially British scone – a must for any afternoon tea.
- Old Fashion Rose Lemonade Scones from Lavender & Lovage: a gorgeous twist on the traditional scone.
- Somerset Easter Cakes from London Unattached: delicately spiced sweet treats, somewhere between a rock cake and a scone.
- Orange Spiced Almond Muffins from Recipes From a Pantry: wonderful flavour combinations in a light, fluffy muffin.
- Eton Mess Chocolate Cake from Chocolate Log Blog: how about this for an impressive show stopper?
What’s your favourite component of a traditional afternoon tea? Do feel free to share your recipe links in the comments below!