My friend Kathleen loves absolutely everything about tea and tea parties. I've mentioned her growing scone business, Flour, Sugar Salt and am lucky to be on the advisory board of women she relies on for feedback when she is testing new recipes.
Kathleen loves hosting tea parties for her friends and she goes to great lengths to offer a full English high tea. Last week, she invited five of us to an afternoon of tea and conversation. We ate ourselves silly and relished the chance to really talk.
There is storytelling that invariably happens when someone hands you a cup of tea. The topic turns to grandmothers, tradition, memories. I think that is how you really learn about someone; Listen to them talk about their grandmother. Kathleen's maternal grandmother was Scottish and her ritual of tea and treats made an indelible impression on Kathleen.
Our first course was Kathleen's homemade tea sandwiches: Tarragon chicken salad in a lettuce wrap, Dilled cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, Curried egg salad in phyllo cups and Sun dried tomato lavosh. Yum and yum. I was feeling a little rattled that day (I had only 6 days in Michigan between my trips to Palm Beach Gardens and Seattle), so I was happy to drink cups of hot Citrus Chamomile tea and let my blood pressure come back into range.
Our second course was Kathleen's famous Lemon Cherry and Cranberry scones served with homemade lemon curd and whipped cream. Her scones are perfect: tender, flavorful and just the right size for tea. Don't tell anyone, but I ate three.
Could we find room for dessert? Oh, we managed. That is the beauty of high tea - no rushing allowed. And with time comes room for more sweets. The dessert tray was loaded with chocolate-dipped brownies, almond madeleines, biscotti and lavender shortbread.
It was a perfect afternoon. We all had a chance to catch each other up on our lives and let our conversation wander into hobbies and trends. I have a feeling that Kathleen may branch out into hosting tea parties professionally. She certainly has the passion and skill set to wow any tea lover. Everything Kathleen serves is always spot on.
Have you been to a tea party lately? Or visited a new tea room? I am drawn to them, of course and what I love most is the time commitment it requires. You are not meeting for a cup of coffee, when you go out for tea. A longer time frame is understood and that is a beautiful thing.