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Creating a Tea Menu for a Three-Tier Tray

Whether you are planning treats for two or a large crowd, putting together a menu for an afternoon tea can be challenging. One type of scone, three savory options, and three sweet offerings will fill most three-tiered stands with ease and are manageable to prepare. By following our tips for each of these categories, you can create teatime menus that are sure to please.


  • Since scones are best hot out of the oven, some people serve them as the first course. If you prefer to serve scones as the second course, you can serve them at room temperature or bring warm scones to the table only at the appropriate time.
  • If scones are petite, allow two per person; otherwise, one each should be sufficient. Select a flavor and a shape that will be compatible with the other courses and with the selected theme. Choose condiments that complement the taste of the scones, and be sure to allow enough for each guest.


  • Offer your guests three different options to enjoy for this course. While tea sandwiches are traditional favorites, consider incorporating savory tartlets, miniature quiches, and other flavorful bite-size items into the menu. Coordinate flavors, textures, and shapes with the tea-party theme.
  • To avoid last-minute stress, opt for recipes that can be made ahead, at least in part, or that require minimum preparation time.


  • The sweets course sits in the place of honor on the top tier of the stand and is the last to be eaten, so incorporating a variety of shapes, flavors, textures, and colors here is quite important. Three sweets of different types will make the final course of the tea menu interesting and memorable. Keep the portions small, especially if the treats are rich.


  • Fresh fruits and flowers can be colorful fillers for any tiered stand. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and orange wedges are popular choices. Star-fruit slices, kiwi slices, kumquats, and currants are less traditional but add wonderful shapes and flavors.
  • Toss fruit slices that turn brown easily, such as apple and pear, in citrus juice before using.
  • Garnish trays with flowers that are pesticide free and food safe. Roses, pansies, marigolds, violas, primroses, and orchids are excellent choices. One of our favorite sources for edible flowers is Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, 800-931-7530 or gourmetsweetbotanicals.com

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