I believe we should all celebrate more often. Not just weddings, anniversaries, milestones and other major moments, but the everyday opportunities – the change of seasons, a new job or just the fact that I love cake! As I always like to point out, when opportunity knocks, answer the door and offer it some food and drinks!
And knock it did.
A few weeks ago I was approached by the marketing group for Donsuemor and told that they liked my collaboration so much during their “Dessert a day” campaign, they wanted to know if I would be interested in partnering with them once more. They, along with Davidson’s Organics were looking for a few bloggers willing to host a tea party and use their respective products as part of the event.
They did not have to ask me twice. I jumped at the chance.
I have wanted to put together a tea party for a very long time. They evoke images of pretty tablecloths with nice teacups, nicely cut finger sandwiches and sweet cookies all with some hot (or cold) tea. Pair that with a couple of my girlfriends all dressed up in flowery dresses and wearing straw hats while telling stories and laughing out loud and you got the perfect little set up for a “chica” gathering.
My girlfriends totally staged a revolt and said a “Hell to the no” on the pretty hats and flowery dresses but totally shouted out full “yeses” to a Sunday afternoon tea party.
We win some, we lose some.
My gracious co-host Donsuemor and Davidson Organics made sure my teas and desserts options were taken care off.
Donsuemor sent me their assortment of 16 individually wrapped Madeleines in a medley of flavors – Traditional, Chocolate, Lemon Zest, and Dipped Chocolate that will satisfy a variety of tastes. Beautifully presented in a custom designed gold embossed gift box. They make such a pretty gift.
The next thing for me to do was to come up with a menu. Since this was a 4pm party, I knew that I wanted to have light fare – one or two types of tea sandwich; of course, and maybe some stuffed hard-boiled eggs, some cold fish option and possibly some type of savory pastry.
After searching high and low online, in my cookbook library and past party successes I came up with the following menu for the day:
- Salmon and Asparagus tea sandwiches
- Devil Eggs with Ham and Roasted Red Peppers
- Chicken Salad in an Endive cup
- Shrimp cocktail
- Cheese Gougeres
Note: I will be posting the recipes for each of these in the coming weeks.
Once I got the menu taken care of, then it was off to dream up the perfect little touches that would help make this tea party an intimate, fun and easy affair for my chicas and myself.
I sometimes think of myself as a party artist and putting together a palette of unique accents to help inspire me has save me from lots of running around at the last minute. Part of hosting great parties at home is having the tools you need. Over the years I developed my own party pantry. I store serving pieces, different types of vases, name holders, pretty plates and candles. I keep colorful place mats, tablecloths and napkins of varying hues to accent my very basic white dinnerwear. Having a party pantry well stocked makes it so much easier when it comes time to create a vision.
For the tea party my starting point was the flowery tablecloth. The colors reminded me of spring and since we are already experiencing 90-degree weather here in Florida, it was a way for me to bring a garden feel indoors - in the comfort of my A/C dining room.
I followed up by using pretty pink napkins and since all of my food was small bites, I opted to use dessert plates to keep everything small and compact. For the centerpiece I used two of my herb plants that I had purchased a couple of days before and have not gotten around to planting them yet. I placed them inside a silver container and arranged them alongside a bouquet of tulips that I picked up at the market that morning. The end results complimented the organic feel I was going for. For serving the food, I used some of my cake stands to give them different heights and easy access for everyone to serve themselves.
The table was set. Now on to the special little touches that leave a lasting mark with your guest.
One thing I learned after numerous dinner/lunch/brunch parties is that you don’t have to break the bank to make a big impression. Even the tiniest, cheapest details can set a festive tone.
I’m a huge fan of giving my guest a token of my appreciation for taking the time to come to one of my get-togethers. It’s unexpected and can also be a great conversation starter or a memorable reminder of a great time.
For my gift I choose these great little writing pads with precious sayings on the front and included a colored ink pen (We are women who love to make lists!). Wrapped it up in simple brown paper and banded it together with a pale pink paper strip and completed the look with a yellow ribbon bow. I then wrote each of my chicas a note telling them how glad I was to have their friendship and slipped it into the package and wrote each of their names on the side, converting their gift into their very own place setting. Everyone loved their gift and we ended up talking about the wonders of a good writing pen and paper for 20 minutes.
The overall take at the end of the afternoon was lots of ohh’s and ahh’s . The Madeleines were a huge hit, there was not one single favorite, and so we declared them ALL GOOD and wished we had more. The tea was also a success; some more than others. I really loved the Hibiscus Flower tea, but my friends really raved about the Vanilla Cream Spice flavor and said it tasted like its own little dessert.
As I sat there with my favorite girlfriends, eating good food and having great conversation it came to me that celebrations encourage people to appreciate each other openly. They have permission to put aside their differences for a few hours, to laugh, talk and feast together and feel a sense of life’s preciousness and their own good fortune.
Producing this tea party was such a wonderful experience and I’m very grateful to my main chicas for being such an integral part of my vision, which could not have come to life without their participation.
Disclaimer: I received free product sample from Donsuemor and Davison’s Organics. I received no monetary compensation and the views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.