Alice in Wonderland Inspired: Spring Tea Parties
Most everyone is caught up in the eye-popping beauty of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the 3D spectacle that follows the fantasy adventures of Alice as she falls down a rabbit hole and winds up in an upside-down world where most anything can happen - including tea parties! In honor of spring coming, we thought it would be fun to gather your family and friends together for something light, fun, and entertaining. Throw a tea party and then take a caravan of cars over to the nearest multiplex to see Alice's tea party in the movie.
We were inspired by the Tim Burton movie, but also by the perfect tea party (and tabletop) accessories, HomArt's Tiered Twig Servers (see photos above and below). There's something magical about the branch-like Round 3-Tier or the Rectangle 2-Tier servers that will make them the hit of your tea party. They're great ways to pile up small tea sandwiches, sweetes, scones, and other tea party treats. They also make a great centerpiece for the table, a serving station for any dinner or dessert you want to serve buffet style - think "come and get it yourself!" - or a nifty way to display decor items when you're not using them for food. We'd put collections of seashells, beautiful stones, bird nests, pine cones, and other natural found objects; but use them for more formal displays of small flea market treasures.
Let's be frank. Most families won't throw a tea party, for themselves or for others. While it's fun to do something whimsical and different every now and then, most families will use one or both of the Tiered Twig Servers to serve regular, everyday meals. They're great for holding appetizers, dinner rolls and bread, hamburgers and hotdogs and all the fixings, and other sides and entrees.
The Round 3-Tier Server is 13 inches x 23 inches and comes with three round dishwasher-safe ceramic plates, great for serving food and cleaning up afterwards. The Rectangle 2-Tier Server is 19.5 x 9 x 14 inches and comes with two rectangular dishwasher-safe ceramic plates. Both servers have cast aluminum stands that mimic tree branches, adding to the fantasy feel of the pieces. Both stands fold flat for optimal shipping and storage when not in use.
But back to tea parties (go on; try it out!). We were inspired by "10 Tips for Tea Party Etiquette," from the web's Advice with Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee. They note the difference between two different types of tea parties. Full tea usually consists of three courses, such as scones, tea sandwiches, and sweets. Light tea will have just scones and sweets along with the tea. (Think full tea as a light lunch substitute and light tea as something between meals.)
Here are some tea party etiquette tips:
1. Eating with fingers is A-OK. But use a fork if something has a running filling or is naturally a bit messy. The fun of any tea party, however, is that this is mostly a drinking tea and picking up food with your hands sort of occasion.
2. If you lay all the courses out on your table at the same time, eat them in this order: scones or muffins, then tiny sandwiches, and save the sweets for the end. Pretty much like a regular meal where you first begin with some bread, then the main course, and ending with dessert. We recommend using small side, salad, or dessert plates for each place setting rather than a full-sized dinner plate. The food is light and bite-sized, so you don't need to serve small portions on a football field!
3. For scones or muffins, break off a bite-size piece, then put a small amount of jam or butter on it. If Devonshire or clotted cream is available, a small amount can be dabbed on after the jam. This thick cream is for scones, not for the tea.
4. Take bites of the tiny sandwiches. Never stuff the whole thing in your mouth, even though it's small.
5. If you're using sugar in your tea, try not to dip the sugar tong or sugar spoon into your tea.
6. Stir sugar and/or milk with your teaspoon, then place the teaspoon on your saucer.
7. When drinking tea, hold the cup and saucer near your chest, then take the teacup off the saucer and bring it up to your mouth to drink.
8. If the tea is hot, leave your teacup on the table to cool. No blowing allowed!
9. Hold the teacup normally. Do not stick the pinky out when drinking tea. (Sorry, Johnny Depp, but you're pouring the tea incorrectly - see movie photo at top.)
10. Try to serve the tea from teapots, but if you are using tea bags, place a small dish at your guests' place setting so the drippy tea bag can be set aside when not used to steep the tea.
But let's put the emphasis on PARTY. If tea party rules aren't followed precisely, it's still going to be a fun time. And we highly recommend the whimsical HomArt Tiered Twig Servers to add a touch of fantasy to your tabletop.