How to serve high tea like the Brits

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Royal Wedding is just days away, and if you're not flying out to England, you can still throw a party fit for a queen.

Every single day at 4 p.m., the Ballastone Inn offers a traditional high tea to its guests, just like the Brits do. Kriste Sanders, manager of the Inn, says
you don't have to buy a whole new set of china for your guests. You just have to be thrifty.

"Our owner has collected a lot of the pieces you see here throughout the years. She has pieces she's picked up at estate sales and antique shops including the teaspoons, the tea set, and even the honey container is an antique she found years ago," Sanders said.

She suggests checking your local antique stores or flea markets for hidden treasures. Of course, fresh, hot tea is a must have for your watch party.

"We only use Harney and Sons, which we believe it's the best tea you can find. We have a wide variety of teas from your traditional earl grey or breakfast teas. We have fun teas such as a jasmine or a hot cinnamon, so it's nice to offer a variety to your guests."

To go with that tea, you'll want to serve up some snacks to munch on. At the Ballastone Inn, no detail is spared.

"We have two wonderful chefs at the Ballastone and they work so hard to prepare a special tea every day."

You can make pretty much all of the traditional tea foods in your own kitchen.

"We have an egg and bacon salad sandwich as well as a cucumber, and these are made with bread you would have at home, but the way you cut them and sprinkling of the parsley you can make them look very special."

Of course, you can't forget the scones!

"We have traditional English scones made here in-house; Apricot, brie, and thyme. We serve them with traditional with Devonshire cream, and raspberry preserves, and also lemon curd."

You can even add a Southern twist.

"Some of our favorites are pimento cheese, chicken salad."

No matter what you serve up, Sanders encourages everyone to add their own personal touch to make it a day to remember.

"It's a great chance to pull out some of those pieces in your china cabinet, the silver trays, the antique linen napkins."

The little things that make for a royal celebration.

The Ballastone Inn offers high tea for non-guests as well. Just call the Inn to make a reservation for the tea service at least one week in advance. That phone number is 912.236.1484 or you can visit their website here.

A Few Recipes:
Cucumber Spread Sandwiches
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 12 slices John Derst bread

*Combine all ingredients, except bread. Spread on bread to make sandwiches. Cut into 1/4-inch circles.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
  • cucumber
  • John Derst bread
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 T. dried dill weed

*Slice cucumber into rounds 1/8-inch thick. Cut John Derst bread rounds with cookie cutter to match size of cucumber. In food processor, blend cream cheese, scallions, and dill. Spread both slices of bread with the cream cheese mixture and add cucumber.

Tomato Tea Sandwiches
  • your favorite bread
  • 3-4 small Roma tomatoes
  • Lawry's seasoned salt
  • 2 T. butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise

*Slice tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. Seed and dry tomatoes. Cut bread with cookie cutter the size of the tomato. Spread circles with butter, then mayonnaise. Place tomato in sandwich, sprinkle with seasoned salt. Roll sandwich in dried parsley flakes.

Scones with Blueberry Sauce and Devonshire Cream


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, sliced cold
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking power
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 c. sour cream

-Blueberry sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 1 c. water

-Devonshire Cream:

  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T. powdered sugar (or more to taste)
  • Nutmeg (optional)

*Measure flour into mixing bowl, cut in butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until it looks like coarse meal. Add egg yolk and sour cream and blend together. Turn out on to a floured surface and roll out to ½ -inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter and place on baking sheet. Add splash of water to egg white; mix and brush scones with the egg wash. Bake at 395 degrees for 12 minutes; turn pan around and bake 2-3 more minutes. Blueberry sauce: Combine blueberries and sugar in a saucepan. Mix together water and cornstarch and add to blueberry mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries burst and sauce is thickened. Devonshire cream: Mix heavy cream, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in mixing bowl. Transfer to serving bowl and top with nutmeg, if desired.

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