When holding an elegant tea, one must adhere to the social etiquette. Once taught to young girls and boys in earlier centuries: women must learn such etiquette from books and social classes. Understanding a few etiquette tips will make your tea a success.
In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel of a cup with no handle is to place one’s thumb at the six o'clock position and one’s index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position, while gently raising one’s pinkie up for balance.
Teacups with a handle are held by placing one’s fingers to the front and back of the handle with one’s pinkie up again allows balance. Pinkie up does mean straight up in the air, but slightly tilted. It is not an affectation, but a graceful way to avoid spills. Never loop your fingers through the handle, nor grasp the vessel bowl with the palm of your hand.
Do not stir your tea, with your teaspoon, in sweeping circular motions. Place your teaspoon at the six o'clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the twelve o'clock position two or three times. Never leave your teaspoon in your teacup. When not in use, place your teaspoon on the right side of the tea saucer. Never wave or hold your teacup in the air. When not in use, place the teacup back in the tea saucer. If you are at a buffet, hold the tea saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the teacup in your right hand. When not in use, place the teacup back in the tea saucer and hold in your lap. The only time a saucer is raised together with the teacup is when one is at a standing reception.
Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.
When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server can neatly place a slice in the teacup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon's citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.
With all the pomp and posh of tea etiquette, one needs a delicious treat to serve along with the tea. Chocolate Mouse Hearts is a rich dessert with a fruit jam finish. Using a heart-shape silicon mold for these tasty chocolate are a great addition to a Valentine’s Tea.
1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels
½ cup raspberry jam
Garnish: cocoa powder, fresh raspberries, and fresh mint leaves
1. Place an eight-well heart shaped silicon mold on a baking sheet and set aside.
2. Heat the cream and marshmallows in a small saucepan over a medium low heat. Do not boil the mixture. Stir until marshmallows are melted into the cream. Add chocolate morsels, stirring until melted and mixture is smooth and creamy.
3. Using a 3-tbsp. scoop, divide the chocolate mixture equally among the heart shaped wells of prepared mold. Tap pan to level the chocolate.
4. Freeze until mixture is very firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.
5. Garnish eight dessert plates with a dusting of cocoa powder.
6. Fifteen minutes prior to serving, remove the frozen mousse from molds. Placing mousse hearts top side down on a prepared dessert plates.
7. Spread jam evenly over hearts.
8. Garnish individual serving with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.