The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's Midsummer! Why not celebrate with a tea party?

MorgueFile.com image.
Inspired by the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild's Rosewater Tea tomorrow, I was reading about the uses of rose water over the years, and that led me to re-reading some of Shakespeare's works. I was reminded of A Midsummer's Night's Dream, and then I thought, "I may not be able to have a tea party in a fairy garden like some people do, but I can plan a fairytale tea party! Instead of a midsummer night's dream, a fairytale afternoon tea should be A Midsummer Afternoon's Reverie, or something similar. The food should all be exotic, delicate, and unusual. The whole menu could be based on flowers: both sweet and savory! I found some similar recipes a year or so ago when I planned a Pre-Raphaelite Tea, so here is a re-worked list of menu suggestions if you want to do your own Midsummer Afternoon's Tea and Reverie!

Strawberry-Lavender Scones
Candied rose petals and lavender buds
Lavender jelly
Rose Petal Jam

Fried squash blossoms
Fried dandelion flowers
Open-faced tea sandwiches garnished with nasturtiums and herb flowers
Salad garnished with carnation petals

Lavender-Lemon Tea Cakes
Pansy shortbread
Shrewsbury Cakes (rose water shortbread)
Lavender-Mint Shortbread
Meyer Lemon and Orange Flower Yogurt Cake
Cherry Orange-Blossom Cakes
Dandelion Flower Cookies

Combined with some mint, rose petal, violet, or lavendar tisane, this could be quite a spread! How about it?

7 comments:

Jason Witt said...

A fairytale tea party sounds just lovely. I'd like to hear more about the fairy garden for taking tea, too. There are those Chinese and Japanese gardens at some tea houses. It'd be nice to see some Western gardens designed for taking tea with a taste of mystical UK or Ireland. --Jason

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

I don't have one of those fairy gardens, but I think the general idea is to plan a garden with lots of traditional English cottage garden elements, and add in things like reflecting pools, gazing balls, and shady, mossy areas. Some people also have areas where the plants and features are in miniature, as if the fairies want a garden their own size. It's a charming idea!

Jason Witt said...

Yes, I'd like a miniature garden. It would be ideal not only for fairies but perhaps for children too. It also reminds me of Japanese trees that are trimmed to remain tiny. --Jason

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Yes, bonsai. I think I've seen pictures of fairy gardens where that technique was used, and it was really interesting. Another idea that I've seen was to take an old aquarium or terrarium and make a mini-greenhouse out of it, to put a fairy garden in. I would think that children would love it!

Jason Witt said...

Yes, I really like the aquarium or terrarium idea too. That's children- or fairy-sized. And it would actually be practical for growing certain plants as long as they're not too big. --Jason

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

I remember reading in a Victorian home magazine that you could make something called a Wardian Case -- basically like a terrarium or mini greenhouse -- stock it with mini plants, ferns, and make a mini garden in it, and keep it near a sunny window in your house during the winter. It was supposed to be one of the cheapest and easiest ways to decorate your home ...

Jason Witt said...

That's a good idea for me since I live in an apartment and can't have my own garden outside. I don't have any pets by choice but I have thought about getting some houseplants. I would like to grow my own tea houseplant but I haven't gotten around to all it would require. --Jason

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)