Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen

Afternoon Tea


The rather wonderful thing regarding an Afternoon Tea is the range and choice of food which may be served. It is an ideal ground for devising a recipe for which you can become renowned and/or the use of signature dishes can be defined. There is an inordinate list of possibilities to permit your creativity to shine through.

Having said this though, there are many traditional aspects of a menu which are perfectly adequate and often are de rigueur which, to omit may even disappoint guests. Please note: the main requirement is for the food to be eaten by hand i.e. with your fingers. The following is a loose list of such traditional items, with possible scope for creative variation.


The additional of a glass of champagne or sherry before Afternoon Tea commences is a grander touch and, for this reason, when included is referred to as a Royal Tea. There is no reason why a summer (Pimms & lemonade, sparkling blush wine or Sangria) or winter punch (mulled wine or hot toddy) could not be included instead.

Savouries (1st Course)

Traditionally a Tea will include some sandwiches (with the crusts removed) and creativity can be undertaken with the fillings. Archetypal sandwiches are cucumber and salmon & cress. A good way of cutting sandwiches without crusts is to use pastry or cookie cutters. These are excellent for children’s tea parties, introducing themes and perfectly acceptable for adults is using a simple and elegant design.

However, savouries are not limited to sandwiches and it is not unusual to include small slices of pie, sausage rolls, vol au vonts etc. There really is a wealth of option here, only limited by your time, budget and imagination. This course may be omitted and in such circumstances is referred to as a Light Tea.

Scones (2nd Course)

Afternoon Tea usually includes scones, with clotted cream and preserves e.g. strawberry jam. The scones can be made in varying forms and provides for some creative scope such as being made with various fruits e.g. cranberries, orange, sultanas etc. A Tea can consist solely of scones, and is referred to as Cream Tea. In summer another alternative is to replace the scones with strawberries & cream (and caster sugar), in which case it is referred to as Strawberry Tea.

Sweet/Dessert (3rd Course)

Traditionally small slices of fruit cake are included and the secret is to have variety with this course. Just like the savouries, there is almost a limitless array of choice in what you may include.

(Optional) Trifle (4th Course)

Not uncommon, an additional course can be included which is traditionally a trifle. Even with this option there is such a plethora of recipes and alternatives, there is real scope for a signature dish here. Unlike the rest of the menu, this is the one course which will require bowls and spoons/folks/Sporks.

Farmers Tea

This is slightly off of the traditional track menu and is also known as a Ploughman's Lunch if served between noon and 2.00 p.m. However, for gatherings which have a preference for more savoury and less sweet offerings this is ideal. It can include meat pie, cheese, crusty bread, pickles, salad and fruit.


You will possibly be able to get by with own brand tea bags at a pinch, especially if you have chosen well. However, it seems a shame (some might even suggest a crime) to go to this effort and not provide a higher level of tea. Seek out, taste and experiment, especially with loose leaf tea. Look to see if you can provide people attending your Afternoon Tea’s with a choice selection. Aim both for traditional and unusual offerings, to entice and titillate your guests, and their taste buds! Fruit tea's can be a very welcome alternative as can Iced Tea during warm weather months.

Shop Bought or Home Made?

While most will undoubtedly agree home made is best, a menu such as this can also be bought ready made from grocery stores should it be necessary, convenient or preferred. However, if you wish to make an impact, raise the standard, and become a host of prestigious renown – we suspect you know what is required!

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Get In Touch

Have a question, query or need clarification...

Contact Us

Monthly Newsletter

Keep up to date, hear about unique items and have gentle reminders on being "The Complete Gentleman."

Sign up here:

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Complete Gentleman.

Don't Miss A Post

Keep up to date via RSS or another web-based reader:

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines