We’ve all been there. 3pm rolls around, your work inbox is flooded, home-schooling is pushing you to the end of your tether, and you haven’t taken time out for yourself in what feels like weeks.
Let’s be honest – normally, this is when we would get out of the house for a change of scenery and to do something different. And for many of us, this could be as simple as tea and cake in the local café.
Of course, with Covid-19 still hanging over our heads, we have had to find ways of bringing small luxuries and little treats into the space of our own home, and that got us thinking.
Does afternoon tea have to be something we confine to high end cafes and luxurious eateries? And actually, wouldn’t it be even nicer to enjoy all of the top afternoon tea treats in infinite quantities, without the hefty price tag of an afternoon out and with the knowledge that everything on the menu is exactly what we want?
The origins of the afternoon tea
Picture yourself sipping from a fine bone china teacup, or perhaps washing your cakes down with a flute of champagne (or prosecco, if you’re anything like us and looking to add a little finery without the price tag!)
Afternoon tea is a concept so completely linked with British culture that it seems difficult to imagine it anywhere else. In its earliest days, afternoon tea was more a snack of necessity than a social event, though it fast became something that opened up and reserved a period of the day to spend chatting and gossiping with friends. So much so that, if you were to walk into any café around 3pm today (in a pre- or post-Covid world), you would still find tables gathered with groups of friends enjoying sandwiches and cakes over the latest titbit of gossip.
Of course, this is all very well, and it’s super easy to head into a café of your choice and order the afternoon tea stack on the menu. But how do you bring your own afternoon tea to life in the confines of your own home?
Creating the ‘guest list’
Let’s remind ourselves of the rules for a second. Lockdown means we can only see and socialise with family who live with us, and so our ‘guest list’ is already pretty restricted. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still create invites and make our afternoon tea at home something special to remember.
One of our top tips when it comes to creating and staging the perfect afternoon tea is to assess the weather and then create a specific location which is decorated according to your theme. And this is where you can get super creative – guided either by your favourite interior trends, or perhaps by the range of tableware you have to serve your sandwiches and treats on. What theming does, as we’re sure you all know, is guide your entire experience and give it some kind of consistency – something which you could argue is a bit over the top for an at-home afternoon tea, but which will certainly make the occasion feel like a real treat and something to look forward to. In fact, you can also cross theming over into your dress code and encourage some kind of dressing up to make your afternoon tea even more fun. We recommend dressing fancy and fully embracing the traditional afternoon tea experience, though you could add your own spin to this and let your family members become their favourite characters, animals, or even movie stars.
After all, we’re in lockdown. What else is there to do?
Design your perfect menu
This is another area of your afternoon tea that can be guided by your theme, with many high end eateries creating entire afternoon tea experiences built around a single theme – for example, the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea you can find at a top London Hotel.
We love the idea of selecting your family’s favourite sandwiches and cakes and giving them a creative spin with your theme, for example adding new flavours where you can, or even implementing small decorative ideas like using coloured bread or adding food colouring to your cake batter. Other ideas include creating small smoothies to go between each course of your afternoon tea (a great way to inject a little healthy eating into your family treat day), and getting the whole family involved in creating or decorating one dish each to make the occasion a true family event.
Set the perfect table!
No spread is complete without an impressive-looking teapot with matching teacups and saucers. Lucky for you, Micucci Interiors has got you covered. From dainty patterns to intricate designs and bold colours, Micucci Interiors offers a beautiful selection of designer Tea Sets, each with its own unique style and theme. We’ve selected our favourite Afternoon Tea Sets from Micucci Interiors for a memorable teatime at home.
EMERALD 15 PIECE TEA SET | £960.00
AMAZONIA 15 PIECE TEA SET | £710.00
VENEZIA 15 PIECE TEA SET | £540.00
Top Tips for the perfect afternoon tea host(ess)
Show off your hosting skills (even if it is just to your family) by following these guidelines…
· Always serve your tea directly from a teapot – and make sure you get the timing right with regards to the teabags and the temperature! There is nothing worse than a bad cuppa! Our range of teapots are designed to look great on the table and make for easy pouring.
· Consider a tea strainer and loose tea leaves to add a little extra wow to your menu. Not only is this “the traditional” way of doing things, but loose tea leaves tend to come in a wider range of flavours which may well please the entire family.
· Always keep the tea pouring and the food flowing. Afternoon tea is there to be enjoyed and grazed upon – sometimes for hours on end – and the various plate sizes across our tableware collections should mean there is always room for more cake.