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Tea Party Food Ideas – Savory Edition

This post shows you the best savory appetizers for your next tea party.

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Savory Tea Party Food Ideas


Classic Savoury Recipe Collection

What foods do you serve at a tea party?

Ah, the quintessential tea party – a delightful social gathering steeped in tradition. But let’s face it, cucumber sandwiches and scones, while undeniably charming, can sometimes feel a tad predictable.

What if you crave a menu that tantalizes taste buds while staying true to the elegant spirit of afternoon tea?

This guide will unveil a delectable spread of options, ensuring your next tea party is both elegant and satisfying.

Sweet Treats to Tantalize the Taste Buds

Classic Delights

No tea party is complete without some timeless favorites. Delicate scones with clotted cream and jam, buttery shortbread cookies, and miniature fruit tarts are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

Elegant Pastries

Elevate your spread with a selection of pastries. Think flaky croissants filled with almond cream, miniature éclairs bursting with flavored cream, or bite-sized fruit turnovers for a touch of sweetness.

Globally Inspired Treats

Take your guests on a culinary adventure! Serve madeleines from France, delicate Japanese mochi filled with sweet bean paste, or mini versions of Indian gulab jamuns for a touch of exotic flair.

Seasonal Specialties

Embrace the bounty of the season! Opt for fresh fruit tarts in the summer, warm cinnamon buns in the fall, or gingerbread cookies adorned with royal icing for a festive winter wonderland tea party.

Savory Delights to Delight Your Guests

Finger Food

Tea parties are all about conversation and enjoying delectable morsels. Here’s where savory options come in! Mini quiches with endless filling possibilities, elegant open-faced tea sandwiches with gourmet ingredients, or vegetable crudités with a selection of flavorful dips are all perfect for easy mingling.

Warm and Comforting Bakes

For a more substantial tea party, consider including some warm savory dishes. Mini sausage rolls are a classic British favorite, while potato and leek mini pasties or savory hand pies offer a delightful handheld option.

Dietary Considerations

When planning your menu, be sure to consider any dietary restrictions. Explore vegetarian options like mini spanakopitas or savory tarts, or create gluten-free delights with alternative flours for quiche crusts or tea sandwiches.

How many pieces of finger food per person for afternoon tea?

The ideal number of finger food pieces per person for an afternoon tea depends on several factors, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

Here’s a breakdown to help you plan:

Factors to Consider

Duration of the Event

Short Afternoon Tea (1-2 hours)

Aim for 5-8 delectable finger food pieces per person. This provides enough variety for your guests to enjoy a delightful selection without feeling overly full before the scones or a potential additional course arrive.

Longer Afternoon Tea (over 2 hours)

Plan for 10-12 delectable finger food pieces per person. This increased quantity allows guests to graze throughout the afternoon, enjoying a steady stream of delicious bites without feeling overwhelmed.

Meal Type

Afternoon Tea as Main Event

For a more substantial spread, consider 10-12 pieces per person. This ensures guests have a steady stream of delicious bites throughout the event.

Afternoon Tea with Additional Courses

If you’re serving scones, pastries, or a small plated course alongside finger foods, adjust the portion size accordingly. A range of 4-6 pieces per person might suffice.

General Recommendations

Variety is Key

Offer a selection of finger foods with different flavors and textures to keep things interesting.

Consider Dietary Needs

If you have guests with dietary restrictions, be sure to include some vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options.

What kind of bread is best for tea sandwiches?

Tea sandwiches, those delicate finger foods filled with delectable delights, are a cornerstone of any afternoon tea spread. But the bread you choose can make or break these delightful morsels.

Choosing the right bread is crucial for creating tea sandwiches that are not only delicious but also structurally sound and visually appealing. Let’s delve into the world of bread for afternoon tea and discover which options reign supreme.

The Timeless Classics: White Bread

White bread remains a timeless choice for afternoon tea sandwiches, offering a neutral canvas for an array of fillings.

Pullman Loaf

This square-shaped white bread, known for its uniform crumb and lack of a crust, allows for perfectly rectangular sandwiches with minimal waste.

Sliced White Bread

A readily available option, sliced white bread can work well. However, opt for a brand known for softness and freshness.

Stepping Beyond White Bread

While white bread holds a special place in tea tradition, there’s a world of flavorful options waiting to be explored!

Here are some ideas to elevate your tea sandwiches and tantalize your guests’ taste buds:

Wheat Bread

For a touch of nutty flavor and added fiber, consider whole wheat bread. However, choose a variety with a fine crumb to prevent the bread from overpowering the fillings.

Rye Bread

For a more substantial and savory base, rye bread offers a delightful option. This pairs beautifully with strong-flavored fillings like smoked salmon, corned beef, or even a robust cheese spread.pen_spark

Sourdough Bread

This tangy bread, with its signature sourdough flavor and slightly chewy texture, adds a unique dimension to afternoon tea sandwiches. It pairs well with strong cheeses, roasted vegetables, or even a creamy chicken salad.

Pumpernickel Bread

Don’t forget the distinctive and slightly rye-like flavor of pumpernickel bread! This dark, dense bread is perfect for strong-flavored fillings like pastrami, smoked duck, or even a rich pate.

Japanese Milk Bread (Shokupan)

Embrace a touch of Asian-inspired elegance with Japanese milk bread. This incredibly soft and fluffy bread, with its mildly sweet flavor, adds a luxurious touch to afternoon tea sandwiches. Consider fillings like egg salad with a touch of kewpie mayonnaise, or even a delicate chicken salad with a hint of wasabi.

How far in advance can tea sandwiches be made?

While the allure of freshly prepared tea sandwiches is undeniable, sometimes life gets busy!

The good news is, you can prep these delightful finger foods in advance to ensure a stress-free and elegant afternoon tea gathering. But how far ahead can you make tea sandwiches?

Here’s a breakdown on how far in advance you can prepare these delightful finger foods to help you find the perfect timing:

The Balancing Act: Freshness vs. Convenience

The ideal timeframe for making tea sandwiches in advance depends on a few factors:

Bread Choice

Certain breads, like white bread or wheat bread, tend to hold their moisture and structure better than others. Avoid fillings that can make bread soggy too quickly, like creamy cucumber salad. Avoid crusty baguettes or breads that dry out quickly.

Fillings and Storage

The type of fillings you choose also plays a crucial role. Drier fillings like egg salad or chicken salad fare better than those with high moisture content. Storing them in airtight containers in the refrigerator is key to maintaining freshness. Avoid fillings with high water content like cucumber or tomato, which can make the bread soggy.

24 Hours Ahead (The Safe Zone)

The type of fillings you choose also plays a crucial role. Drier fillings like egg salad or chicken salad fare better than those with high moisture content.

For most fillings, this is the sweet spot. Ingredients like cucumber, cream cheese, hummus, and egg salad (without mayonnaise) can be assembled into sandwiches 24 hours before serving. When storing, keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

48 Hours Ahead

While some tea sandwiches can last up to 48 hours with careful preparation, proceed with caution. Focus on fillings with minimal moisture content and choose breads known for their structure. Fillings with high moisture content, like egg salad with mayonnaise or tuna salad, can become soggy if stored for too long. Aim for a maximum of 36 hours for these fillings, and prioritize airtight storage in the refrigerator.

Maximizing Freshness: Tips for Make-Ahead Tea Sandwiches

Here are some tips to ensure your make-ahead tea sandwiches stay delicious:

Butter Your Bread

Spreading a thin layer of butter on the bread creates a barrier between the bread and the fillings, helping to prevent sogginess.

Pat Dry Ingredients

Ensure all your ingredients, especially vegetables, are dry before assembling the sandwiches. Excess moisture can quickly lead to a soggy mess.

Separate Fillings and Bread

For ultimate control over freshness, consider storing the fillings and bread separately. Assemble the sandwiches right before serving.

Consider Freezing Options

For a longer-term solution, you can freeze unfilled bread slices. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before assembling the sandwiches.

Ultimately, the best way to determine the ideal timeframe for making your tea sandwiches in advance is to experiment!

Consider the factors mentioned above and start with a shorter timeframe. If the sandwiches hold up well, you can gradually increase the time in advance for future tea parties.

How to cut perfect sandwiches for afternoon tea?

Afternoon tea is all about elegance and precision, and that extends to the presentation of your finger sandwiches.

Here’s how to achieve those picture-perfect cuts that will leave your guests both impressed and delighted:

Serrated Bread Knife is Key

Ditch the dull butter knife! Opt for a sharp serrated bread knife. The serrated edges gently saw through the bread, preventing tearing and crumbling – crucial for those picture-perfect slices.

Bread Preparation

Use fresh bread with a good structure that holds its shape when sliced. Avoid bread that’s dry or crumbly, as it will be difficult to cut cleanly.

Steady Slicing

Use a sawing motion with your knife, applying gentle pressure. Aim for even slices, ideally around ¼ inch thick for most fillings.

Square Up the Sides

Once the sandwich is filled and assembled, use your knife to gently trim off any uneven edges, creating a neat and square shape.

With a little practice and these handy tips, you’ll be cutting perfect afternoon tea sandwiches in no time, adding a touch of elegance and delight to your next gathering.

Classic Savory Recipe Collection

1. Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

Indulge in the sophistication of Smoked Salmon English Tea Sandwiches. Delicate layers of silky cream cheese, infused with the freshness of dill, cradle luscious smoked salmon. Each bite is a symphony of textures and flavors, offering a touch of luxury to your tea party experience.

2. Egg and cress tea sandwiches

Embrace the timeless elegance of Egg & Watercress Tea Sandwiches. Fluffy bread cradles a creamy egg salad, seasoned to perfection, and layered with peppery watercress.

This refreshing and light combination offers a delightful twist on a classic, perfect for any tea party spread.

3. Spicy Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Imagine the creamy richness of avocado meeting the zesty kick of a spicy egg salad, all sandwiched between the chewy goodness of pumpernickel bread.

Each bite is a textural and flavor explosion, the smooth avocado contrasting beautifully with the hearty bread and the spice dancing on your tongue. This unique and flavorful combination is sure to be a hit at your next tea party.

4. Date & Roasted Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

These elegant tea sandwiches elevate the classic chicken salad with the unexpected sweetness of chopped dates. Creamy mayonnaise binds succulent roasted chicken with the chewy texture of dates, while a hint of chopped celery adds a delightful crunch.

This sweet and savory symphony is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, offering a unique and flavorful twist on a familiar favorite.

5. Cheese and Onion Cheese Sandwiches

Ever wondered what goes into a truly delicious cheese savoury sandwich? Look no further! This recipe unlocks the secrets of the classic British cheese and onion sandwich, a simple yet satisfying combination you can whip up in minutes.

6. Ribbon Tea Sandwiches

Unlike traditional tea sandwiches, ribbon sandwiches boast vibrant layers! Four slices of soft bread are stacked with a different colorful vegetable spread between each pair, creating a stunning visual effect.

Popular fillings include vibrant carrot spread, earthy beetroot spread, and a refreshing parsley and lettuce (or spinach) spread, offering a delightful mix of flavors and textures for every bite.

7. Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Indulge in the delightful simplicity of these ham and cheese tea sandwiches – the perfect bite-sized treat for tea time, parties, or any snack occasion!

With just three bites, they vanish, making them irresistibly easy to devour. No cooking required – just a breeze of preparation and assembly.

8. Coronation Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

Debuting at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, Coronation Chicken Salad remains a timeless favorite that continues to captivate taste buds today.

9. Benedictine Tea Sandwiches

Crafted in the early 1900s by Louisville, Kentucky, restaurateur Jennie Benedict, Benedictine is a refreshing blend of cream cheese, cucumber, and onion. It serves as the ideal spread for creating effortlessly elegant Benedictine Tea Sandwiches.

10. Salmon Salad Tea Sandwiches

Experience the delight of Salmon Salad Tea Sandwiches, a harmonious blend of subtle flavors and gratifying textures.

These exquisite finger sandwiches have the power to elevate any tea party, brunch, or light dinner. Effortlessly crafted, they burst with the vibrant notes of fresh dill and zesty lemon!

11. Radish Tea Sandwiches with Creamy Dill Spread

In this delightful radish tea sandwich recipe featuring a luscious dill spread, these dainty tea sandwiches are presented in an open-face style, showcasing the charming arrangement of thinly sliced radishes on top.

12. Curried-Egg Tea Sandwiches

Renowned cookbook author Martha Hall Foose recounts that during the early 1960s, Mississippi ladies took inspiration from The Time Life Picture Cook Book to infuse an “exotic” touch into their tea party recipes.

This era saw the introduction of ingredients such as curry powder and orange zest, transforming traditional egg-salad tea sandwiches into culinary delights.

13. Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Craft these easy, delicious, and utterly adorable classic cucumber tea sandwiches with simplicity and charm.

Follow our step-by-step directions to create these simple yet elegant finger sandwiches, perfect for a delightful tea time experience!

14. Tiffany & Co. Corned Beef and Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Indulge in the essence of Tiffany’s from the comfort of your home! Savor the savory, tangy, and delicate charm of corned beef tea sandwiches, a delightful addition to the iconic jeweler’s menu, ideal for your next afternoon tea.

Plus, revel in the convenience – no cooking required!

15. Garlic Toast Points with Marbled Beet Chevre and Edible Flowers

Savor the exquisite flavors of Garlic Toast Points adorned with Marbled Beet Chevre and delicate Edible Flowers.

16. Roast Beef–Radish Tea Sandwiches

Enjoy the delightful Roast Beef–Radish Tea Sandwiches with Sour Cream–Horseradish Aïoli, perfect for any season of the year.

17. Radish Rose Tea Sandwiches with Lemon Butter

Delight in these bite-sized, open-faced beauties adorned with a radish rose – exquisite tea sandwiches that add a touch of elegance to tea time, as well as bridal and baby showers.

18. Ham Sandwiches With Olive, Fig and Almond Tapenade

Savor the delectable combination of Ham Sandwiches with Olive, Fig, and Almond Tapenade.

19. Salmon and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Delicate cucumber slices and slivers of smoky salmon nestled between soft, buttery bread create a delightful finger food for afternoon tea, offering a refreshing and elegant combination of textures and flavors.

20. Herbed Goat Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Tangy goat cheese gets a vibrant upgrade in these herbed tea sandwiches. Fresh herbs like chives and parsley mingle with the creamy cheese, creating a delightful and flavorful finger food perfect for afternoon tea.

Serving must-haves

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