Shiny Tomato has been a little quiet lately. That’s because we’ve been busy vacationing, stampeding in Calgary, attending family reunions and having a Mad Hatter Tea Party. Our annual family tea parties have been happening for over 15 years and are a summer tradition. Our Mom always hosts them in her serene yard and the setting is so perfect you might think you’re in a movie set. She pulls out all the stops — and her most favoured and colourful china teacups and dishes. We always admire them while choosing which ones to use (she has over 75 teacups, of which 50 are our favourites) and listen with new ears while she tells the story behind each one. All are from family or were gifts. Laying out the table, washing the china, preparing the finger sandwiches and dainties, setting up the hat-making station, and making the party favours are almost as pleasurable as the actual tea party. Almost. The food, oh my god the food.
The finger sandwiches were the star of the show, right after the china and linens. This year my Mom and Cate made egg salad, radish and cucumber, arugula and goat cheese (flavoured with lemon zest and olive oil), tomato and basil, and salmon. A tip from my Mom – order the bread pre-sliced lengthwise the day before. The bread holds up really well. And wrap the sandwiches in plastic as soon as you make them and chill them. Deviled eggs also made a starring appearance as they have every year.
We had a wonderful assortment of sweets and dainties. Mom made chocolate slice with colourful marshmallows and lemon tarts, Steph made neon lime coconut bars, I made rosemary shortbread, Jody made Queen’s Lunch Squares, and Patti brought delightful and colourful macarons. A tea party isn’t a tea party without scones and Steph made some fresh that morning and brought them, along with homemade strawberry jam. They were ridiculously good. The company was just as good as the food and the bursts of raucous laughter and the naughty signs Steph created made it truly a mad hatters tea party. I felt happy and at home and most comfortable amongst my friends and family, some I hadn’t seen for awhile. But it only felt like yesterday. Until next year. Love you all. -bvox