Taking time for a cup of tea is considered by millions to be a moment of calm and enjoyment in our hectic lives. A quintessential British tradition, the taking of afternoon tea or high tea is no less enjoyable and such an indulgent way to spend an afternoon with friends and family. It generally involves taking fine tea, a selection of delicate sandwiches, cakes, scones and pastries and all served in opulent surrounds.
If you’re looking for a special tea venue, then you should visit the High Tea Society website. I had a little chat with Michelle, the editor of High Tea Society, to find out a little more about the society and her tea adventures.
High Tea Society Girl
Michelle, what is the High Tea Society and how did it all begin?
High Tea Society www.highteasociety.com.au features reviews on high tea venues, news and competitions. It started as a hobby six months ago, but the interest in the website was staggering. It has now turned into a popular online community with the website, Facebook fan page, Twitter profile and the recently launched email newsletter.
You must have a passion for high tea. Where is your favourite establishment for high tea service and why?
This is a difficult question as I have so many favourites for different reasons. When I lived in London, I went for high tea at the Savoy Hotel; this is probably the moment that my passion for high tea began. The Savoy Hotel is a very stylish venue and guests dress for the occasion. There was a jazz band playing all afternoon and people got up and danced. Closer to home, there is the lovely Peninsula Tea Gardens (below) in Perth, situated in the grounds of the National Trust building Tranby House. This is a stunning location as you can sit outside under the white umbrellas that overlook the Swan River. In Melbourne, the Strangers Corridor in Parliament House offer a very special afternoon tea (when Parliament is not sitting). And for a fun afternoon, there is the Garden Tea Party at Madame Brussels.
Note: As of December 15, 2007 The Savoy closed to undergo a £100 million restoration. The hotel is scheduled to reopen in 2010.
Do you have any tips for ladies looking to host their own high tea party?
The beauty of hosting your own high tea party at home is that it’s an opportunity to express your own style. So be glamorous with your invitations, teaware, menu and make sure you invite a range of interesting people to attend – as it’s all about the good conversation.
Teaware is an important part of the high tea experience. Do you have a personal favourite tea set?
I have my eye on the Wedgwood Polka Dot tea set (below). It’s a period design that was pulled out of the Wedgwood archives and re-released.
What do you appreciate about a good high tea event?
What I’m looking to do with High Tea Society is bring back an appreciation for the tradition of high tea, but with a contemporary twist. I would like to see high tea venues going to the effort, providing live music and turning high tea into an event. I recently enjoyed high tea at The Victoria Room (below) in Sydney. Guests made an effort to dress formally for the occasion – it was a lovely afternoon.
…thank you for sharing your High Tea Society story with us, Michelle
Peninsula Tea Gardens, Perth
Wedgwood Polka Dot Tea Story cup and saucer with Harlequin tea
Wedgwood Polka Dot Tea Story Teapot
The Victoria Room also host Children’s High Tea Parties on Sundays, from 10.30am – 12.30pm (booking essential). Such a fabulous idea to introduce your child to the traditions of taking tea. I love it!.