Nearly 30 years ago, I remember sitting in the living room of my parents’ house anxiously awaiting a once in a lifetime event. It was 1981 and my mother, who was quite fond of the British Royal Family, had turned the television on to watch Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles marry at Westminster Abbey. Although I was too young at the time to remember most of the wedding, I vividly remember seeing Diana walk down the aisle with her huge fairytale dress, complete with a never-ending train. If I didn’t want to be a princess before that day, I sure did after that!
Thirty years later, it’s hard not be intrigued by the upcoming fairytale wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, April 29. Whispers of dress designers, canapes, and pomp and circumstance have the media in a frenzy and most British Royal-loving Americans equally excited. And with all the fanfare that will soon be broadcast worldwide, it really is a historical day to be celebrated and experienced around the world.
Even if you are not one of the few hundred people invited to the Royal Wedding, you can still celebrate British style by hosting your very own afternoon tea. Although the “rules” for British afternoon tea have been Americanized, or shall we say “relaxed” in recent years, traditional afternoon tea often includes:
Traditional Afternoon Tea
- Savories: Mini egg tarts (similar to quiche) and/or sandwiches, such as cucumbers with spiced cream cheese, or diced ham, onion, and cheddar. Remember, no crusts please!
- Breads: Sweet breads, scones, biscuits, biscotti, or shortbread – all served with an assortment of jams, lemon curd and/or clotted cream (or heavy whipping cream).
- Sweets: Cakes, petit fours, macarons, madeleines, fruit tarts, fudge or other delicate candy,
- Assorted teas: Any tea that you fancy can be served, but some of the traditional tea favorites are English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Mint, Lemon, and Green tea. Milk or cream, sugar cubes, and lemon slices should be served alongside tea.
Whatever you choose to serve, remember to use the best tea cups and pots that you have, your fanciest serving dishes, and real napkins – then eat, drink, and toast to Will and Kate!