Updated: Jan 9
Tea parties are one of our favorite things here at Nosh, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love getting all dressed up and sitting down at a decorated table with delicious teas, delicate sandwiches and tasty pastries? This girl for sure. We got the opportunity to visit The Grand Hotel over the summer when we visited Mackinac Island, Michigan. Kim and I got the chance to indulge in their afternoon tea. It was an over the top experience that's been happening at The Grand Hotel for over 100 years. It is definitely something you need to see for yourself.
When we moved to Moore in 2015 and transitioned from solely a catering company to catering with a restaurant, the spot Kim found had been a tearoom. Dainty China, crystal chandeliers and a relaxing aura make Nosh feel like the place you can hide away on a rainy day with a good book and a cup of hot tea. Most of us can be found hiding out at the table by our fireplace on cold and rainy days with a cup of hot tea.
We started doing high tea not long after we opened as Nosh. They started off as few and far between of groups of ladies celebrating things like birthdays, holiday get togethers, bridal showers, or just wanting an excuse to get the girls together for some good conversation. Since we were featured on Discover Oklahoma in 2021 (check out the Discover Oklahoma spot below), tea parties have exploded in popularity. We host about 3 to 4 a week these days and even a party every year for the kids where a Disney princess or two arrives in a grandeur that makes everyone smile.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned more about tea and a lot of history about afternoon tea. What we think of as high tea here, is more widely known as afternoon tea. Afternoon tea was served at low tables, like a coffee table by the fire or a dining table and was primarily had by the upper class around 4pm. It consisted of tea and snack items and was a means of holding people over between lunch and dinner. High tea, which sounds like it would have been something the aristocrats would have partaken in, was something the working class served. It consisted of heartier dishes and was served between 5pm and 7pm after people came home from work.
Fun fact I’ve also learned, the history of the sandwich happened in the 18th century, when John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, wanted to continue eating while he played cards. So, he asked for his roast beef to be put between two slices of bread so he could continue playing. Whether the legitimacy of those facts is true or not, I’m not sure, but it’s fun to think that’s how something we have daily came about.
If you’ve never gotten to come to high tea here at Nosh, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen some of the biggest smiles on little girls’ faces when they prance through the dining room in their fancy dress and see the table set up just for them. Our tables are set with our eclectic collection of China that we’ve acquired through so many avenues. We’ve had several people donate their grandmother’s China they didn’t want to sit in a cabinet, never to be used. Several pieces we’ve picked up from garage sales and estate sales. And recently, after losing several pieces to regular wear and tear and some clumsy hands, we found these fun ones on Amazon that we absolutely love! These are the cutest teacups and they come with matching saucers.
While we don’t follow all the strict rules of afternoon tea, because we like to have fun, let me tell you some of the things I’ve learned that are some dos and don’ts. I’ll start with the dress code. While we don’t have a dress code here at the restaurant, I always tell people when they book their tea parties this: Dress the part! Who wouldn’t want to play dress up and wear fun hats?!
Now, while there’s an order in which you’re supposed to eat the items off the tiers, we don’t judge. Life’s too short to eat dessert last, so throw caution to the wind and eat however you want to. If you’re feeling in the mood to be a rule-follower, the proper way is sandwiches and savories, scones, and then desserts. Speaking of the proper way of eating. It’s socially acceptable to eat with your fingers, but DO NOT EVER lick them at the table! Sandwiches should be eaten in a few bites, same with any of our savory items. Scones are best enjoyed, split and topped with clotted cream and jam or fruit curd. (click the link and check out our favorites of the clotted cream and lemon curd we use at home!) You shouldn’t sandwich the pieces back together either, eat each half and enjoy.
Next up: Tea. We have our own tea line here at Nosh labeled Rustic Tea. We have an amazing assortment of teas to choose from when you dine with us. You can order tea any day of the week you dine with us, and if you want to take some home, we sell our loose-leaf teas in 2 oz bags that give you 25 delicious cups of tea. We carry black, green, white, herbal, oolong and rooibos teas. Each one has a different flavor profile, and some are stronger than others. If you’re not a tea drinker and don’t know what flavor to try first, ask your server. Everyone has a different favorite and they’re always willing to share with you their favorite and what’s most popular. If you stray away from caffeine, no worries there, our rooibos and herbal flavors are caffeine free! My favorites are caramel nut and roasted almond. Kim, she’s simplistic in her tea choice, our plain black tea. We’ve even got her 12-year-old son into drinking hot tea and experimenting with what he likes to mix and add into them.
Overall, I hope this has been helpful. We get so many questions and concerns when people book their tea parties, and we want everyone to be relaxed and able to enjoy their time with us! So, if you’re ever looking for something out of the ordinary to do on a random Thursday at one in the afternoon, come visit us and have some tea. Head here if you want to see all the details on our high tea and how to book one! We hope to see you soon!