I love afternoon tea -- from a simple cup just for me to a "pull out the stops, polish the silver", formal tea for friends.
One of the things I collect are tea things. From English tea sets (cups, saucers, open sugar, creamer, cake plates and big cake plate) to all of the little English silver things that make having tea such a pleasure.
This afternoon, I packed up my things and off I went to a Victorian bed and breakfast in town to do a program on tea accoutrements for a darling family of 12 ladies -- from grownups to little girls.
My tea things:
Front row: two English pastry forks, two European 5 o'clock spoons, tea spoon (notice the difference in size), lemon fork, cake serving fork
Left hand corner: holder for sugar cubes, English blue glass and silver sugar dish, tea caddy spoon
Middle Back row: Sugar sifter spoon
Right Hand Corner (from the top): tea strainer, tea strainer that fits into a teapot spout, tea ball; 18th century mote spoon
They're all laid out on a set of tea napkins
The English pastry forks are used for tarts and such. One tine is double thick which makes cutting crust easy. I use them all the time for desserts!
Five o'clock spoons are really the spoons used for tea. They're smaller than the teaspoon which is actually too big for a teacup.
The lemon fork is used to serve lemon slices that go into the teacup. (for those that prefer lemon).
The cake serving fork is used to serve slices of cake. It's Victorian and I'd buy another if I could find one.
The sugar sifter spoon is used to sift sugar into the teacup. In Victorian days, sugar was often lumpy -- this spoon ensures that the lumps are added to your cup!
The tea strainer is one that rests on the table and you pick it up when you pour your cup of tea.
The spout tea strainer goes into the spout of the tea pot and swivels. Your tea is poured through it.
The tea ball is filled with tea leaves and after the tea is brewed, it is pulled out. It is silver, like most of them seem to be.
The mote spoon is early and is used to catch stray leaves in tea cups. The pointy end allows you to poke the leaves that clog the spout -- pushing them back into the spout.
It was a fun afternoon.