When I was younger, tea parties were a part of daily life. My Mom always had an afternoon cup of Earl Grey, so of course my sister and I, along with our 50+ stuffed animals, had to have our afternoon tea, too. I eventually even had my own china tea set (in pink and mint green polka dots, no less). Our tea parties weren’t always fancy and we didn’t always dress up, but for special occasions, we would go all out. Our Valentine’s Day tea parties, in particular, really stand out in my mind, or I should say, the heart sandwich cookies (including the miniature versions we made for the stuffed animals) stick out in my mind.
When I was choosing a theme for this month’s Dress & Dine, my mind instantly went back to those Valentine’s Day tea parties I had as a child, and I knew I had to recreate an adult-appropriate version for February’s post.
Dress// Half the fun of a fancy tea party, is dressing up in fancy clothes. Things like florals, lace, bows and tulle instantly come to mind, and of course lots of pink for Valentine’s Day. As you can see I went in a flower-y direction, donning a floral skirt, a floral lace top (that I wore at our wedding), and a floral necklace. So as not to look like a full-blown flower shop, I switched things up a bit with a pair of striped heels. Pink nails and lips, and a high bun completed my Valentine’s Day tea party look.
Dine// Most of the items on the Valentine’s Day tea party menu are reminiscent of traditional tea party food, but each has been given an updated twist. Petit fours are made from funfetti cake cut into mini heart shapes and drizzled with white chocolate. The tea sandwiches are filled with a roasted garlic whipped feta or balsamic roasted strawberry cream cheese. I also whipped up some mini feta beet tarts (the colors are perfect for Valentine’s Day) and the mini rosewater whoopie pies from yesterday make an appearance. (Find all the recipes below.)
Drink//For beverages, the obvious drink of choice is tea, since this is a tea party after all. However, since this is a party geared towards adults, you better believe that tea is going to be spiked! I created a tasty tea cocktail (should I call it a ‘teatail’?!) from one of my favorite teas (Earl Grey), some of the leftover roasted strawberries from the cream cheese, and of course, a splash of bubbly to finish it off (because everything is better with champagne!). (You can find the recipe below.)
I also included a bowl of loose Earl Grey tea for guests to scoop into favor bags and take home.
Decorate// Decorations are the icing on the cake of any party. Whether you have a few balloons and a nice bouquet of flowers (fresh or dried), some confetti tossed on the table and a few tea lights lit, or you go all out with name cards, banners, fun straws and fancy silverware, decorations are what pull everything together. If you are short on time, there are plenty of adorable, pre-made options out there, like these available on Minted (hint: the banners and signs are all customizable allowing you to put a personal touch on your party decor). For my decorations, I worked with Minted to shower my party with some ombre love, making sure everything from my customizable party sign to the adorable stickers and my favorite paper straws all screamed Valentine’s Day fun. One tip when you are decorating- make sure each food has a little sign letting guests know what it is (this is especially helpful for those who might have food allergies).
*All paper products and decorations were generously provided by Minted. All opinions are my own.
- Funfetti cake, about 1/2" thick (I used funfetti cupcakes sliced into thirds)
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
- Sprinkles, optional
- Use a mini heart cookie cutter to cut the cake into hearts. Lay the hearts out in a single layer on a cooling wrack that has been placed on top of a sheet of wax paper.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate, cream, and vanilla. Stir constantly until the chocolate has melted.
- Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the hearts, decorate with sprinkles (if you choose), then let the chocolate harden for at least one hour.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- 2 cups of strawberries (I used frozen)
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup of cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of feta
- 1/4 cup of cream cheese
- A pinch of salt
- Bread, crusts cut off
- To make the balsamic roasted strawberry cream cheese: Spread the strawberries on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, and the pinch of salt. Roast at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the berries begin to brown and the juices are running. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Once the strawberries have cooled, place about half of them, along with half the syrup that has formed, into a cuisinart, along with the cream cheese and powder sugar. Pulse until well combined, about 30 seconds. Place the cream cheese in a covered bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour to harden it up before using.
- To make the roasted garlic whipped feta: Thinly slice off the top of the head of garlic and remove any loose skin. Rub the top with the olive oil, then wrap it in a piece of foil. Place the foil packet on a baking sheet, and roast at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- After the garlic has cooled, peel the skin away and place the cloves in a cuisinart. Add in the cream cheese, feta and pinch of salt, and pulse to combine.
- Assemble your tea sandwiches, by first cutting your bread into squares (I cut each slice into 8 squares), then spread one half with the cream cheese of your choice before placing another piece of bread on top.
- The cream cheeses can be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, however the sandwiches should be made as close to your party as possible.
- Phylllo dough
- 1/3 cup of feta cheese
- 1 cup of beets, chopped (I used canned)
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray, then line each tin with 3-4 pieces of phyllo dough (I found it was best to either cut the phyllo into small squares with food scissors, or just use my hands to gently rip off small pieces).
- Top the phyllo with a few beet pieces and a sprinkle of feta.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown. Serve immediately.
- These taste really good topped with a little of the roasted garlic whipped feta (if you have any left).
- 3 oz Earl Grey tea (steeped and cooled)
- 1 Tbsp Roasted balsamic strawberry syrup (puree the remaining strawberries and juice from the above cream cheese in a cuisinart)
- 1 oz Elderflower liquor
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Champagne
- Chill Gin and Elderflower liquor in shaker over ice. Then add in tea and balsamic strawberry syrup and shake. Strain into tea cup and top with Champagne floater.
- This can be made sans alcohol. Just use the tea, strawberry syrup, and sparkling grape juice in place of the champagne.