Our friends have tea sourced from around the globe through the business-traveling husband. Yesterday's tea was to thank friends who'd hosted an amazing dinner in August. Their house has great entertaining space, so we used it for the afternoon tea. Last Sunday we hauled our Canton Famille Rose china collection there, set the table, and choose the teas from her collection.
Larry's Original Chai seemed like it would go well with the butternut squash soup I'd planned for the first course.
I hand count, and mix a Lucky-in-Love floral tea. Inspecting the teas at our friends' home, a mystery tea appeared from China that resembled my Lucky in Love tea, so I called it T&T's Lucky in Love Tea in honor of our hosts. Appropriately enough, they were given the tea on a business trip to China right after their wedding. A guest deciphered the Chinese label on the package: "Special Tea."
Tips for tea sandwiches: 1.) to keep sandwiches from getting dry, put the sandwiches on a well-wrung damp paper towel on a cookie sheet, then wrap with plastic wrap. 2.) lightly butter both inner sides of the bread with soft, room temperature butter to keep the bread from getting soggy or tearing the bread. Recommend not serving more than 4 small tea sandwiches per person (roughly equal to one regular lunch sandwich) for a tea this size.
Inspiration for the sandwiches: Turkey, Basil, Cream Cheese with Raisins came from the All Souls Day Tea a year ago (it may have come from TeaTime Magazine, which called for dried cranberries instead of raisins). This is a tasty, terrific, and pretty tea sandwich. A container of edible flowers for garnish came from Draeger's market in San Mateo.
The tomato and cucumber sandwich idea came from the Four Seasons Las Vegas afternoon tea (sideways, topped with a slice of pimento olive). It was a good idea, as it combined two sandwiches I normally make. Note: an easy open-faced tea sandwich--butter a slice of bread, cut using a fluted 2-2 1/2 inch round and top with a Roma tomato slice or cucumber slice, salt and pepper the tops.
On another business trip, our hosts sourced Sabah Ginger Tea from Borneo. Sabah is a state on the South East Asian island of Borneo.
My husband made hot chocolate using whole milk, dark chocolate, Mexican chocolate and hazelnut chocolate; warmed and whisked in a pot. Shortly before the tea began at 3 p.m., he melted chocolate to cover strawberries. Our host made a CSA apple and raisin galette; plus crispy, buttery lavender shortbread (the only shortbread better than Walker's).
Purchased a month ago, and froze TKOs (Thomas Keller Oreos) from Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. The Oreo brownie recipe calls for a chocolate chip top: to spruce them up for a tea, Valrhona Crunchy Pearls were used instead. Cut the the recipe by 2/3rds to make 8 small portions in decorative pans. As an over-the-top addition, leftover Donnelly caramel was drizzled over the top of the TKO Brownies.