The Ladies-who-lunch have discovered a new social phenomenon. Afternoon tea parties and soirees! Yes, move over brunches and lunches, our fashionistas now prefer to surface way past noon.
The latest party trend is tea parties of all sorts – From Champagne tea parties (A convenient way to begin knocking the spirits back before sunset) to full on afternoon bashes where the flavoured teas and goodies never stop flowing.

With the influx of gourmet delicacies today's trendy hostesses serve Earl Grey and English Breakfast Tea available at malls across the country like HyperCITY which stock products from UK's premium grocery brand, Waitrose and the like.

Other goodies include low cal feta cheese samosas (baked not fried) for the figure conscious as well as the usual afternoon part fare such as sandwiches, cakes and scones.

The easy part about entertaining at tea is that there are plenty of delicious recipes that can fit your budget, skill level, and style. Finding a tea party menu that works for you is simple and uncomplicated. Today's tea parties need not stick to the classic, three-course structure of most formal teas (sandwiches, scones, and desserts) and can be modified depending on the time of day and the guest list.

The trick is to have many variants of the same dish. Thus platters of multiple dips such as chunky salsa, guacamole and corn chips, are easy to assemble along with open sandwiches in both veg and non-veg options. Use flower or heart shaped-cookie cutters to make tea biscuits and sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly or fruit-flavored cream cheese fillings may be more popular with young taste buds than more traditional tea sandwiches, such as cucumber and cream cheese.

For drinks a nice bowl of party punch with plenty of freshly chopped pieces of fruit is splendid. Iced tea and fresh juices are welcome additions to steaming cups of tea. Miniature cakes, decorative sandwiches and colourful cookies are delightful must-haves.
Commenting on the popular high tea served at Café Prato, Clinton Cooper, Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai says "The idea is to offer our guests a much needed mid-day break and tea time acts as a perfect excuse for just that. There is something about the old world charm of sharing the tradition of afternoon tea in a classic setting that brings the nostalgia of conversations alive. "

A SAMPLE TEA MENU
Savoury Pinwheel Sandwiches
Smoked Sausage Rolls
Smoked Cheese Filled Vol au Vents
English Scones, preserves and clotted cream
Assorted Petit Fours
Vanilla Cheesecake enrobed in Swiss Choc. Ganache
Chocolate Decadence dipped in Swiss Choc. Croquant
Banana Split Tartlets
Lemon Meringue Bouches
Mini Battenburg Cake
Grand Marnier Genoise Turbans