Hosting a tea party means that you will need to come up with a tea party menu that offers appealing foods to your guests. Many of the recipes are similar to easy party appetizers, which allows you to make them quickly, without a lot of fuss. Utilize a local bakery or deli to help create some of the dishes on your menu to save time and trouble if you are not up for baking for a crowd.
Sample Tea Party Foods
Many of the simplest menus for tea parties include small tea party sandwiches and an assortment of miniature desserts. Change the menu depending on the time of day, with tea parties close to a mealtime having more food available and mid-morning or mid-afternoon parties including lighter fare. For example, you may wish to add a soup or quiche to the menu if your party is near a mealtime, whereas a tea in the morning might only call for miniature muffins, fruit and scones.
Change your menu depending on the season or holiday. In the summer, a chilled fruit soup would be delicious, while guests might appreciate a warm quiche in the winter. Switch the desserts to match the seasons, too, using spice cake with cream cheese frosting in the fall, and pound cake covered in ganache in the spring.
Adult Tea Party Menus
The fewer guests, the fewer choices you need to offer, so keep this in mind when planning your menu. At minimum, try to have two to three types of sandwiches and desserts available for guests. Mix and match the menus below to suit your needs.
Sample Menu 1
- Warm stuffed mushrooms
- Creamy tomato soup
- Chicken salad sandwiches
- Mini cheesecake bites
- Shortbread cookies
- Petits fours
Sample Menu 2
- Stuffed tomatoes
- Cucumber and dill open faced sandwiches
- Egg salad sandwiches
- English tea cakes
- Cream cheese stuffed strawberries
Sample Menu 3
- Garden vegetable quiche
- Sliced breakfast breads
- Mini muffins
- Assorted fruits
Serve your tea party foods on silver serving platters, bamboo trays or on a tiered serving piece in the center of the table. Prepare the platters in the kitchen and then place on the tables, rather than trying to fill the serving pieces after everyone has arrived, except for foods that need to be kept hot or cold.
At a children's tea party, skip the usual menu items and instead serve kids what you know they will eat. Consider the following ideas for inclusion in your menu:
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into shapes with cookie cutters
- Ham and cheese sandwich triangles
- Fruit kebabs
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Decorated sugar cookies
Tea Party Drink Menus
The drink menu is just as important as the food menu at a tea party. Serve three varieties of tea at the party, such as Earl Grey, white tea, oolong tea, red tea or a spiced tea. Local tea suppliers and shops can advise you of what teas compliment and contrast with one another. In addition to the various teas, you should offer condiments for the tea. Include small trays on each table that have:
- Sugar cubes or packets
- Lemon wedges
- Orange slices
- Cinnamon sticks
Not everyone enjoys tea, so consider having juice, lemonade, coffee, hot chocolate or even sweet iced tea available for those who prefer not to partake in the tea drinking.
Tea Party Menus: Tips
Keep the following things in mind as you prepare your tea party menu ideas:
- Include sandwiches with meat and vegetarian options.
- Offer thick, elegant napkins or even fabric napkins.
- Prepare as much of the food ahead of the party as possible.
- Place a tea party menu at each tea party table setting so guests know what they will be eating and drinking.
- Give a brief introduction of the teas served if the guests are unfamiliar with tea drinking or tea parties.
- Be a gracious hostess and follow proper tea party etiquette.
Planning the menu for a tea party is a simple task, especially because many of the foods are actually easy fast party foods.