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Feb 3, 2008 08:55 AM

Food for afternoon tea bridal shower

I will be hospitng an afternoon tea bridal shower for about 20-25 people. Any suggestions on what to make would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I hosted a baby shower last summer. Three friends co-hosted, so we divvied up the work. One girl brought an assortment of finger sandwiches, one of which was the Barefoot Contessa's chicken salad sandwiches. So good. IIRC, there was also a veggie sandwich with roasted red peppers, cucumbers, etc. I made a yellow cake with vanilla frosting from Cook's Illustrated's Baking Illustrated -- that was a big hit. Also made smoked salmon rolled up with thin layers of cucumber and a goat cheese/parsley/garlic spread in the middle. Those went quickly. Think we also did cheese and crackers, an easy app. To fancify it, you could pick some really nice cheese's or the bride's favorite cheeses. Or you could make gougeres or frico -- think those can be made a day or two in advance.
    One thing I wanted to do but didn't have time for was to make lamingtons. I read about them on They're like petit fours, but a bit more substantial. Think cake bites. It would be a cute, novelty kind of thing, and could be done with a store-bought cake if you're looking to cut corners.
    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: chucktownlady

      I've done both bridal and baby showers that were afternoon teas, with pretty substantial food. For each one, we made 4 types of sandwiches, all cut very small, (smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill on rye; aram sandwiches with tapenade, hummus, roasted peppers and lettuce on lavash; tomato, fresh mozzarella and pesto on baguette; cucumber and butter on white bread, etc.), homemade scones with jam and homemade lemon curd (chocolate chunk, plain and currant); green salad of some sort, a featured/decorated cake, chocolate covered strawberries, tea, champagne and juice. for one I tried to make petit fours, but messed up, so we ended up with what appeared to be cake sandwiches. People have loved the food!

    2. I did most of the baking etc. for a tea wedding reception for about 50 people for my sister, and the good news is that it is pretty easy to make things ahead of time.

      I would make scones (my preference is for small cream scones with currants - happy to post a recipe if you like - with strawberry jam, and clotted cream if you can find it), tea sandwiches such as cucumber, smoked salmon, etc. (just made a pimento spread for the first time and think it would make a great tea sandwich) and cakes.

      One tip on making the sandwiches - slicing the bread lengthwise should give you a lot more yield and is more efficient. You can cut into rectangles/triangles and also use small round cookie/biscuit cutters to make little round ones, once you've filled them. You can make them the morning of, and wrap with wax paper and cover with damp tea towels. Using butter or mayonnaise on the bread will help keep them moist.

      Then cakes, etc. Madeleines would be pretty, and can also be made ahead of time. Pound cakes keep well also.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        MMRuth, I would be interested in your scone recipe. Interesting tip on slicing the bread length-wise, thank you!


        1. re: MMRuth

          I'd love to try a new cream scone recipe too!!!

          1. re: MMRuth

            I second the suggestion to slice the bread lengthwise...makes the process of assembling all those sandwiches a whole lot easier. Some (not all) bakeries will slice lengthwise for you.


            1. re: maplesugar

              If you are slicing your bread lengthwise, you can make very elegant tea sandwiches that look like a loaf. There is a name for these (ribbon sandwiches??), but I am having a brain freeze. You typically slice a long sandwich load lengthwise in 3 slices. Spread the first layer with gussied up egg salad or tuna salad. Spread the second layer with smoked salmon salad or shrimp salad. Use equal parts cream cheese & mayo to "frost" the entire loaf. Decorate with bits of olive, radishes, green onions, other types of vegetable decorations. This refrigerates very well, you can make the day before. You cut the loaf in slices to serve, either in advance or appoint some of the bridesmaids to perform the ritual. These were pretty standard fare in the 60s & 70s and are make a "retro" comeback in these parts. With new ingredients and fillings, you can vary the loaves or decorate them individually. Allow about 1 - 1 1/2 in serving per person.

              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                You can also make what I think are called pinwheels by filling two lengths of bread (minus crusts) then rolling up lengthwise, wrap tightly in saran wrap, freeze for a bit, and then slice.

          2. I have found the scone recipe from Cooks Illustrated to be easy and delicious. A must have at any tea - but don't forget the clotted cream lemon curd along with the jam. It makes my mouth water thinking about it. I host a tea once a year and one of the most popular tea sandwiches I make is one with blue cheese, walnuts and thinly sliced pear. Butter your bread to prevent it from drying, and then mix the cheese and chopped nuts with some softened butter and parsley to make a spread. Top with the fruit slices. Totally delicious. I usually serve it on wheat bread. Also a big hit are Barefoot Contessa chocolate truffles. Good Luck.

            1. I meant to say clotted cream and lemon curd!

              1. Hi,
                I'd suggest making Madeleines. JC's How to Cook has a good recipe. They are so pretty and girly. Of course, you'd have to buy the pans...

                I co-hosted a shower for a friend last spring and did some very delicate cut-out cookies in shapes that fit the theme of the shower (seaside). We did turtles, sailboats, shells and sunbursts. Very cute. Maybe you could do tea-themed cut-outs or something similar.

                You could also do your own tea blend for the bride for the favors (if you're doing favors). I think you can order such things online or find recipes for good herb combinations.