Tea time is not a tradition that many Americans observe, but people in many other countries, most notably England, enjoy tea time in the afternoon. If you're planning on hosting a tea time, focus your menu on light treats and snacks that complement the tea that you are serving. Tea time foods should simply whet your guests' appetite -- not leave them full.
Many sweet treats pair well with an afternoon tea. The sweetness of the food offsets the sometimes bitterness of the tea that you're serving. You can buy shortbread cookies from your local grocery or bakery, or you can make them at home. Or, choose your favourite cookie recipe to share. Incorporate fruit into your teatime treats for a fresh flavour. Miniature strawberry shortcakes, for example, are an eye-catching dessert for tea time. Or, go for lighter fare with fruit salad.
Scones are a classic teatime food. These snacks pair with any tea that you choose, whether you're hosting a cream tea, light tea or full tea. Serve scones, which are a British delicacy, with your favourite jam. The British often serve scones with clotted cream as well. Scones usually contain wheat, barley and oatmeal and might remind Americans of biscuits, but they can include raisins, currants or dates for added flavour.
Finger sandwiches are a light snack that is appropriate for an afternoon tea. Any type of sandwich works for tea time, although lighter fare is preferable. Cucumber or pimento cheese sandwiches can delight your teatime guests. Or, choose a light lunch meat like turkey, and make mini sandwiches using your favourite bread, such as croissants. Chicken salad or ham salad sandwiches on rolls work well as another satisfying teatime treat.
Continuing with the theme of lighter fare, any appetizer recipe works well for tea time. You don't need to provide your guests with a full meal, so a few tasty appetizers can be plenty of food to pair with their tea. Stuffed mushrooms or cocktail meatballs are appetizers that always please the crowd. Try vegetables, like carrot sticks, broccoli and cauliflower, and your favourite dip as another tea-time-appropriate snack.
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