Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Our church has a service auction every year, and on Saturday, I went to an event that I successfully bid on last spring: a formal tea party and concert hosted by the women’s a capella quartet, Fourté. I was drawn to the event because I’m a big fan (and friend) of the group, and loved the idea of an intimate concert in someone’s home, not because I’m a big tea drinker. In fact, there is currently nothing but Lipton tea bags in my cabinet, and maybe an old Earl Grey or Celestial Seasonings going stale in a drawer. Today I was enlightened to the variety of tea that’s available, with our menu including 11 different types and flavors, just the tip of the iceberg in the world of tea. Teabags are apparently anathema to a fine cup of tea; our tea was brewed by using loose tea in tea infusers which were placed in individual pots of tea, which is the way to make a proper cup. Along with the tea, we enjoyed all the little delicacies that go along with a traditional afternoon tea: the tiny cucumber sandwiches, the scones with jam and clotted cream, the artfully prepared canapés. My favorite was the cracker topped with cream cheese spread, and decorated with tiny pieces of flower-shaped pimiento on thin slivers of red onion stems. I mean, really, I’ve never in my life seen so much attention lavished on a cracker. I’ll admit that my lack of proper tea knowledge was showing, from my confusion about the silverware (a spoon that is actually smaller than a teaspoon is used for tea??) to my mistaking the clotted cream for butter. But the teas were delicious, the company delightful, and the concert a wonderful treat, and hopefully, I'll get the chance to do it again next year.