Monday, April 26, 2010

A Garden Tea Party-Hostess Tips

I recently returned from one of the BEST tea parties I have ever attended-I love my job.  Patty Blanton hosts a tea party once a year as a fundraiser and kick off to the Sacred Heart Garden Festival in Augusta, GA.  I felt so honored to be the guest speaker for the event.  The speaking topic chosen was "Tea and Etiquette" and it was fun to do "a refresher course" in proper etiquette including American and Continental style eating!

The theme chosen for the event was based on my book, Tea with a Twist with the "Flower Power Tea Party" chapter as the inspiration.  It was a beautiful southern day and perfect weather for a tea alfresco!  Prior to the tea, guests could tour the Blanton's personal garden while sipping on champagne. Their gardens are beautiful to say the least.  I remember thinking to myself that I wasn't sure anyone would ever be touring the Richardson's garden as we struggle with keeping the grass green and the weeds out at this point! 

Although my book was the inspiration for the tea, Ms. Blanton took the theme and ran with it.  I thought you might enjoy some of her garden theme tea party ideas!

There were individual menus placed at each place setting that were made from homemade paper with dried flowers pressed into it.  Most of the recipes served came from Tea with a Twist, but a few were added such as Mini Bacon, Tomato, and Basil Sandwiches which are her mother-in-law's favorite! She even used the blooming tea which was my inspiration for creating The Flower Power Tea Party.  All the food from that chapter has some type of flower in it to make the party special and unique.  To make it even better, Patty made her own butter to go with the scones!

Each place setting also had a small sugar and creamer that were hand painted by Patty as the party favor.  Each creamer had fresh flowers in them that added to the garden theme and each set was unique in its painted flower design.  She also used my idea of adhering fresh flowers to the tablecloth using sunflowers to add to the garden party theme!

To continue with the garden theme, each chair had a basket of flowers beautifully tied with ribbon to the back of it.  To be green, her husband plans on planting the flowers as ground cover in his garden after the tea.

At the end of the tea, we all had Godiva liquor with fresh whipped cream on top in small cordial glasses.  Each guest went home with a cube of homemade goat milk soap made from the Blanton's own goats, a bookmark, and a signed copy of Tea with a Twist.  It was a wonderful day benefiting a lovely cause-Sacred Heart Cultural Center.  I hope this tea has inspired you to have a garden tea party. With Mother's Day coming up, it could be the perfect time to entertain with tea alfresco style! 

Here is one of the the tea sandwich recipes from my Flower Power Tea Party that Patty used. She pickled her own asparagus to use as the "stems" of the flower to serve with the sandwiches similar to the picture below from Tea with a Twist.  If you are not into pickling, no worries as I provide an online company in the back of the book that you can order them from or you should be able to find them in a specialty food shop too!


Artichoke and Asiago Cheese Sandwiches
(the flowers in this recipe are the artichokes)

8 ounces softened cream cheese
3/4 cup shredded domestic Asiago cheese
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 tablespoons sweet onion, finely chopped
1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes packed in oil, patted dry and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
cherry tomato slices for garnish
fresh whitle bread

Mix all ingredients, except tomatoes and bread, together in a large bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Spread mixture onto fresh white bread and cut using flower shaped cutter . Garnish with a thinly sliced cherry tomato in center.


Serving Suggestions

Randomly place the sandwiches on a large platter or individual plates, using pickled asparagus spears, pickled green beans,pickled okra or freshly blanched asparagus to represent the flower stems. Place small basil leaves on the “stems”.

Happy Sipping, Lisa

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a tea party! The hostess certainly did alot to prepare. The presentation was wonderful.