Why host an afternoon Tea Party

What is it about the custom of afternoon tea that enthralls so many of us?

After running my English tea shop A Taste of Britain in Wayne Pennsylvania these are my conclusions.

As society has become more fragmented and fast paced with fast food disposable plates and cups being the norm many of us have a yearning for a simpler time, even the latest trend is Cottage core.  It is a concept that embraces a simpler, sustainable existence that is more harmonious with nature. Aesthetically, it’s a nod to the traditional English countryside style, romantic and nostalgic,” Many of us want to go back to grandmas kitchen and dining room which was warm and welcoming safe and family oriented.

What special event is there that can bring together 3 and sometimes even 4 generations for a casual sharing of special time.  I say casual which may seem a strange word for the elegant beauty of an afternoon tea table and setting.  Yet though often the setting can look almost like art it is at the same time casual.  Much of the menu is finger food which can be eaten in any order at any pace,  participants can savor as much or as little as they want without wasting food on their plate.  It can satisfy the most meager appetite to the largest.  One of the things that warmed my heart when I had A Taste of Britain was seeing families of little girls with their mothers grandmothers and sometimes even great grandmothers enjoying the fun convivial memorable atmosphere surrounding their afternoon tea.

It is rare to find any table setting these days in even the fanciest or restaurants serving lunch and dinner that would evoke the idea of beauty but the setting for afternoon tea is usually beautiful and elegant.  Whereas we would rarely use grandmas heirloom delicate china for even a dinner party (Let’s face it we usually just keep it in a display cabinet or packed away in the attic) An afternoon tea is the perfect setting to display and partake of its beauty, bringing the old into the new in a fashionable way.

The custom of afternoon tea leans towards the feminine.  Although there were a few men who would frequent my tea shop and one lady would bring her son in once a week after school for afternoon tea stating that it was his favorite place to eat, the majority of our diners were women. It’s interesting to wonder why men were no attracted to it, sandwiches and scones and pastries are all eaten by men as well as women but for some reason men did not favor afternoon tea.  I guess real men don’t eat quiche or attend afternoon tea parties.  But by the same token afternoon tea was always a favorite for gatherings of women, whether it be a mother daughter tea, bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties or holiday celebrations, I never met a woman who did not enjoy afternoon tea.