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Tea Party

The etiquette of a tea party and the exact tea party recipes that are served are very meticulous. The origin of the party was way back in the 1840s and it slowly became a tradition in England. Recipes for such a party are very exacting even though times have changed. There are a few standard recipes for a tea party that have to be served to be considered traditional.

Traditional Recipes for a Tea Party and the Food Menu

Traditional food for a tea party is usually in the form of finger foods that can be eaten in one bite. It’s customary to have three courses that first start with tea sandwiches that are made with different kinds of bread and a large variety of fillings. After a course of sandwiches, baked goods are served in the form of muffins, scones and crumpets. The last course is usually in the form of sweet cakes or small pastries. Usually the cakes are not frosted and they are bite-sized to make them easier to eat. Usual accompaniments include clotted cream, jam, butter, and fresh fruit. A large cake like a pound cake or a seed cake is placed at the center of the table for those who require it. High quality tea is also served with the traditional food for a party.

Significance of Dishes Served at a Tea Party

The tea party was established to stave of hunger pangs felt between lunch and dinner. The Duchess of Bedford popularized the ceremony but it later picked up in popularity all over England. Variations of tea and food were also very common.

Modern Recipes for a Tea Party and Popular Variations

There are many modern variations to the traditional tea party recipes. Sandwich fillings in tea party food have changed to cream cheese and dill, or pears and stilton cheese or chicken salad sandwiches. Appetizers have started to appear as tea party food in the form of Thai chicken satay skewers, proscuitto and melon, asparagus wrapped with bacon, and Greek Filo pastry with cheese. The recipes for the party at tea for baked goods also vary in the form of croissants and baked goods from other countries.

Customary Ways to Serve and Eat Foods at Tea Parties

Usually all tea party food is served on a three tiered tray. Individual plates are provided but most of the food is eaten with fingers. Portions are small and are restricted to 6 finger sandwiches, 1 scone, and 4 small sweets for each guest. The tea party is also traditionally arranged for 3-4 in the afternoon


A country version of the tea party developed called as high tea. The tea party recipes for high tea were heavier with more meat, and egg dishes served with bread and butter and desserts like custards. A high tea was usually served at 6 or 7 o’clock and was like a hearty supper.