A Romantic French Style High Tea recreates an event from an era of opulence and luxurious elegance
The La Belle Epoque “the Beautiful Era” was during the late 1800s in France. It was the French gilded age of opulence, luxurious elegance and extravagant home-based entertaining.
A High tea would be hosted at home with all the opulence of the late 1800s. Guests would arrive around 3 pm and stay all afternoon and evening enjoying teas, sweet and savory food and wine. It was an elegant way to host a dinner party without the heavy food and formal seating arrangements.
French opulence requires over-the-top elegant invitations. Set your color scheme using the pinks, purples, reds and pastel blues so popular at the time. Heavy card handwritten invitations placed in heavy cream envelopes set the scene early. Dress code ‘the Beautiful Era” – France 1800s. Marie Antoinette can be a great inspiration.
Setting the scene
Recreate a feeling of beauty and extravagance with your table settings. Set tables with lots of layers. Start with a long white or cream tablecloth that reaches the floor. Over this, you can lay a chiffon or sheer cloth in pink, blue or white. This creates a gorgeous floaty beginning. On top of this, you can use table runners in gold, silver or pink. On top of these layer lace doilies.
Along the center of the table, large candelabras can look amazing, especially if they are draped in pearls and dripping with crystals. Bring out all the silver and crystal for this event!
There is no way to go too far over the top with this theme. Add large vases and bowls filled with old-fashioned roses or peonies in pinks, reds, and white. Next, add glass bowls of chocolates, sweets and chocolate dipped strawberries for guests to nibble on.
Decorate the room with lots of pink, red, gold, white. You can use ribbons, balloons, pearls, silks feathers, fans, and mirrors. And have large vases of flowers everywhere. The theme can carry off a lot of ribbons, ruffles, and lace! And lots of cake!
At each place setting lay a handwritten name card and menu card. Stick closely to the theme of your invitations to keep it cohesive. Use ornate Limoge style plates, tea cups, and saucers at each place. Beautiful cream or pink napkins can be folded and held by silver napkin rings or tied with gold and pink ribbon. Silver teaspoons and cake forks should be set at each place. As should tall champagne glasses. Serve the food on the most ornate or decorated plates you have, best in pinks and gold. Lots of tiered cake stands, and glass plates.
French High Tea Food Selections
Savoury: bread rolls, cheese platters, cheese and thyme scones, ricotta, tomato mini tarts, quiches, croissants, Salmon mousse,
Sweet: Chocolate Eclairs, Macaroons, mousse au chocolate, pain au chocolat, biscuits, creme brûlée, strawberry cheesecake, pink meringues, custard tarts, chocolate cake, coconut ice
Teas: Peach, Jasmine, Lady Grey, Caramel Vanilla, Creme Brûlée,
Items for creating your perfect French High Tea Event
Per Place setting
- Pink, gold, purple, red Limoges teacups and saucers
- Pink, gold, blue or red side Plates (do not need to match the teacups)
- Tall lemonade Glasses
- Champagne Glasses
- Silver Teaspoon and tiny cake fork wrapped together with ribbons
- Ornate Place markers
- Elegant Menu Cards
For the table
- Crystal jugs and decanters for water and lemonade
- Many cake serving utensils (cake slice, knives) in silver or porcelain.
- Sandwich tongs
- Dainty silver cream spoon
- Tea Strainer
- Glass, crystal Cake Stands
- Pink, white and gold Sandwich and cake platters
- Glass bowls and stands for sweets and chocolates.
- Silver and ornate porcelain Teapots
- Glass Sugar bowls
- Ornate pink and white Milk Jugs
- Crystal bowls for the jam and cream
- Large vases with flowers
- Crystal candlestick holders
- Candelabras with white candles and dripping with pearls and flowers
- Long white tablecloths
- Sheer over tablecloths
- White or gold table runner
- Lace doilies
- Eiffel Towers