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Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.

~Alice Walker

spring has returned to my city–kind of. after a few days of glorious, sparkling, spring–the spring rain has returned with a vengeance.  but a romantic spring rain doesn’t dampen the fact that it IS spring, that flowers and herbs grow prolifically on my little patio, and that my strawberries and peas have blossoms that will turn into sweet peas and delectable strawberries.

and it is the perfect weather for a springtime tea party–an indoor picnic.

our little home doesn’t yet boast a dining room table that can be set for more than four. but a buffet style tea party means that my table is just big enough to set out all the necessary ingredients for a lovely tea. 8 of my lovely friends (including the youngest–only 3) joined me for a tea luncheon on a  lovely but rainy sunday afternoon. among our group were a variety of fascinating friends–an english professor, midwife, arts administrator, lawyer–and others working in education, with experience traveling, coming from different parts of the world–a good mix for interesting conversation. everything from birth to ghosts were discussed. and conversation was easy despite many meeting each other for the first time.

one lovely friend brought me the most wonderful gifts–a bottle opener shaped like a crown, and a beautiful paper crown covered in glitter! i had a good time wearing it.

we whiled away the afternoon drinking cup after cup of tea, and snacking on all kinds of tea treats. nothing can replace the pleasant company of easy friends–but a good menu can go a long way towards a good time. all in all, i made enough for 10 friends to enjoy tea, for under $50.00. and my lovely friends pitched in by bringing sparkling wine, juices, fruits, and crumpets. one of my friends who could not make it sent a jar of homemade raspberry jam that was beyond delicious!

rainy springtime tea luncheon menu

sandwiches

natural peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam (one trick is to leave the peanut butter out for a while before making the sandwich–so it will not tear the soft bread when you spread it)

curried chicken salad on french baguette slices from essential bakery  (the chicken salad i purchased from whole foods–the best)

vegan hummus and miniature heirloom tomato and homegrown chives on parisian baguettes from essential bakery (so easy! spread hummus on slices of baguettes, put three slices of different colored mini heirloom tomatoes in a row, then top with chives from your garden)

quintessential cucumber dill cream cheese sandwiches–a classic

assorted fruits

strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries

sliced and de-seeded watermelon

salad

a quinoa salad made of red and white quinoa, black beans, radish, cilantro, lime, olive oil, celery, and red onion–individual portions served in tea cups

scones and crumpets

freshly baked blueberry scones

freshly baked cranberry-orange scones (courtesy of my husband)

blueberry crumpets

plain crumpets

sweets

french truffles (ala trader joes)

orange blossom miniature doughnuts by mighty-o doughnuts

an assortment of miniature tarts from whole foods bakery including: key lime, lemon, berry, black berry, passion fruit, almond, and raspberry chocolate

teas

blood orange tissane (this herbal tea is bright fuchsia, and so fun for tea parties, apart from being delicious)

fairmont empress blend afternoon tea (my favorite)

beverages

mimosas

la serra moscato d’asti (an amazing sparkling white wine introduced to me by a tea party attendee)

condiments

sugar cubes (dissolve perfectly in hot tea)

natural brown sugar

local honey

homemade vanilla-satsuma spread (my husband’s)

homemade raspberry jam

whipped butter

cream

my best tea party yet, i’d have to say! and i am already looking forward to the next!

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