Valentine's Day Tea Party
Hosting a Valentine's Day tea party can be as elaborate or as simple as your budget and your time allow. It can have a romantic Victorian theme, a fun cupid and hearts theme that kids will love, or anything else you can come up with. It does make it easier (and the party flows better) if you choose a theme to work around. Besides the above themes, here are some to consider:
- Red and Pink
- White and Pink
You can take any of those ideas and work an entire party around it from dishes and foods to decorations and invitations.
The Valentine's Day Tea Party Menu
It is best, especially if you haven't hosted many tea parties, to keep your menu simple. This isn't to say that the food can't be exciting but don't overwhelm yourself or your guests with too many selections. Some decorated cookies, a few chocolate truffles, scones, fruit, and some dainty tea sandwiches will be more than enough. For a little more substantial fare you can add a cup of soup, or a selection of tempting sweets and pastries.
The tea is the star of the menu. In almost all cases the best tea is going to be a loose leaf tea. If the idea of loose leaf scares you, don't let it. It is a simple thing to brew tea with a few simple accessories. The easiest way to strain the tea leaves from the tea is to use a strainer that fits right over the cup. When you pour the tea through the strainer into the cup all of the leaves are strained out. Perfect!
To Brew Loose Leaf Tea
The main requirements for a great cup of tea are:
- Filtered water
- Proper temperature
- Proper timing
- Quality tea
Each type of tea steeps at a different temperature. Too high of a temperature will cause white or green tea to be bitter. Too low of a temperature will keep black or oolong from releasing the flavor.
- Black tea 212F for 4-6 minutes
- Green tea 150F for 2-3 minutes
- Oolong 190F 6-8 minutes
- White tea 180F for 4-6 minutes
Tea Party Food
Decide how much of the food you will make yourself and how much you will purchase ready made. Costco and Sam's carry tiny éclairs and cream puffs in the freezer section that can save you a lot of time and they look great on the plate.
- Grapes are beautiful and can be arranged to be both a food item and décor.
- Tea sandwiches are usually small and delicate with the crusts trimmed off. Chicken salad is a classic choice but cream cheese and strawberry jam looks pretty and festive on the table.
- Decorated sugar cookies can be easily made or purchased if you need to save time.
- Cupcakes always look beautiful and there is something about Valentine's Day cupcakes that are just special.
- Cream of tomato soup looks beautiful in white bowls or cups if you choose to have a soup course.
- Scones are not difficult to make and are traditionally served with tea. These petit vanilla scones have the dainty feel that just speaks "tea party". Serve with butter, jam, or some lemon curd.
This is where you can let your imagination fly. You can use vintage dishes, which you can pick up inexpensively at the thrift shop or any dishes that you might have.
Use a white tablecloth as your base. If you don't have one you can use a white sheet. White or pink tulle can be pinned around the edges for an ethereal look. Sprinkle red, pink, or other Valentine's colored confetti down the center of the table to keep it festive.
If you want to really make a statement use white dishes, white table cloth, and a red rose laid across each plate with a name tag tied to it. A small white tulle bag with Jordan almonds finishes the look.
You can print out your own Valentine's Day party invitations to coordinate with your party theme and décor. Heart shaped doilies can also be used; these are inexpensive and the party information can be written in the center.
Enjoy Your Party
Don't create such an elaborate Valentine's Day tea party that you don't have time to enjoy it yourself. Keep it light, keep it easy, and keep it within your limits. A stressed out hostess is just not much fun and a party that has gotten totally out of hand is nothing but a meltdown waiting to happen.
Take time to think it through, plan ahead, and organize. Don't be afraid to get help and buy quality ready made foods to keep things low key. The most important part of a Valentine's Day tea party is to have fun.
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