tea for two …. and other things I’m missing right now!

by Sharon Santoni

Are you like me, longing for the little things in life? Here in France we are back in a lockdown situation.  It is not as tight as last Spring, but we are still being very careful and I have to admit there are some things I am really missing.

Of course first and foremost I am missing seeing our family.  Parents, children as well as good friends, all of this is put on hold for the moment.

So today, and in anticipation of next year when we can get back to a more normal lifestyle,  I’m thinking about the simple pleasure of afternoon tea.   When my children were growing up, tea time was a Big Thing.  Endless tea-parties with home made cakes and breads, it was such fun.   

But in my family, the absolute queen of high tea was my grandmother!   Be it in the garden on a summer afternoon, or in front of the fire when it got cold, nobody could lay a tea quite like her.  Small embroidered napkins and the obligatory cake fork.  Tiny sandwiches, individual home made cakes, a subtle mix of bite sized morsels, some sweet, some savoury …. and of course the tea itself.

She used loose-leaf tea, with a proper tea strainer and a pretty tea pot in its tea cosy.  I loved it!  She aways warmed her pot with a quick swirl of boiling water, before adding the tealeaves.   Boiling water was poured in, the tea well stirred, the lid put on and the tea left to stand for two minutes.

Today when now and again I sit down for tea with a friend, I love to make it pretty.   Individual cakes are a must, either from the patissier or home made, and a good quality tea with lemon or milk according to taste.    I’m currently using this Degrenne teapot, with the inbuilt compartment for the tea, it is so practical.
A ‘proper’ teatime requires that nobody is in a hurry, and ‘teatime’ can last for an hour or two. This is a moment for conversation, for sharing, for catching up and caring. All those things will happen again soon, and in the meantime we have these pretty memories of tea time in the garden this summer.

For more information on the Degrenne teapot, check out our MFCH Boutique here We are carrying the pot in two colours and two sizes.


Francesca November 20, 2020 - 4:57 pm

Dear Sharon,
I perfectly agree with you. I love tea time so much that I often pamper myself and my friends with a cup of tea, home made cakes and some savoury treats. The pleasure of Afternoon tea is really invaluable and effortlessly beneficial to your mental as well as physical health.

Sharon Santoni November 20, 2020 - 5:13 pm

Exactly Francesca. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Gayle Coleman November 20, 2020 - 7:47 pm

Sharon, I would love to know the recipe for the cream filled cake topped with fruit on your latest post. It looks like it might have a crunchy base? Looks wonderful!!

Lynne B. November 20, 2020 - 10:17 pm

Reminds me of my grandmother. Even though she left England for the heat of Australia she carried on the tradition. I loved sitting in the garden drinking afternoon tea in her pretty, delicate cups and using cake forks.
I still have them tucked away in in a cupboard somewhere.
All your photos of your cakes look delicious!
We are just coming out of lock down where I live. Let’s hope it lasts!

Carol Granger November 21, 2020 - 2:29 am

Sharon, If you have it, PLEASSSSEEEE share the recipe for the awesome dessert in the first photo of this post! I would love to make it for my Thanksgiving gathering next week. It may not be traditional but I don’t believe anyone will mind once they take their first bite! Thank you!

Judith Lambert November 20, 2020 - 7:55 pm

My English family was also known for their lovely tea times and I have a few of the recipes that I love to share with others. I too would love to have the recipe for the fruit topped delight! We have just gone into lockdown again in British Columbia just as we are getting ready to move into our new home that we have designed and built. I will be practicing making some of these special things to be prepared for when we can entertain once more! Wishing you and yours well Sharon

Ann November 20, 2020 - 8:40 pm

Sharon, I too would love to know that recipe. It looks wonderful! Like Judith, I’m trying out new recipes to get ready for life after quarantine.

darby callahan November 20, 2020 - 11:37 pm

years ago we used to vacation for a week in July at a bed and breakfast that offered tea in the afternoons. there was always something savory, cookies or cake, often a special desert. tea, hot or iced, perhaps even lemonade. such a treat when we retuned from the beach. It was served on the porch of the Victorian styled house. There was such a sense of peace and well being in those days that I have yet to experience anywhere else.

Sue November 21, 2020 - 1:23 am

I love this post! We always have afternoon tea on Sundays. I bake a nice cake and get out my finest Fürstenberg China and cake forks. I love it! In summer, a sponge layered with cream and berries, or a puff pastry with custard cream and berries, or mini pavlovas sprinkled with pistachio nuts, served with berries. Winter, a nice lemon cake or chocolate. This Sunday, I have home made passion fruit curd and cream layered in a sponge cake. I also like a savoury scone with a bit of cheese and pickle. I just wish I had a garden as beautiful as yours to serve it in!

Dorothy November 21, 2020 - 2:46 am

So I’m understanding that we’re NOT going to get the recipe for that little creamy treat featured in the photo! Oh well, we’ll just have to be patient for all good things in these days.

Emm November 21, 2020 - 3:58 am

In these days of angst, I alternate between hope that the scientists will soon find a way to manage this plague and despair over human stupidity about it — so the idea of sitting down with a proper cup of tea is most appealing. And like others, I have my grandmother’s delicate bone china cups, tucked into a cupboard I think. Thank you for a most welcome suggestion. I raise my cup to you and yours.

Sue November 21, 2020 - 2:12 pm

The cake people are asking about looks like a typical dacquoise, egg whites whipped til soft peaks form, then slowly add sugar and whip till incorporated, fold in ground hazelnuts. Bake in a spring form pan and serve with whipped cream and berries. It can also be made in layers or used as a layer with sponge cake..

Lesley Coleman November 21, 2020 - 10:14 pm

Loved your article about afternoon tea. In Australia we are coming out of lockdown and also going into Summer, my favourite time of the year so it is time for celebration with life getting somewhat back to normal and afternoon tea with like minded friends, yes please. Passionfruit sponge anyone?

Debbie November 23, 2020 - 5:38 am

The desserts look amazing. It certainly is a different world we are all living in. Some are more affected than others and my heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones or been seriously ill due to this virus. Things will eventually become more normal as people are vaccinated but it will take time as all the (and I hate to use this expression) bugs are ironed out.
In the meantime enjoy the small and special things life has to offer, be kind to others and follow what the smart and educated people say.
I try to get my daily fix of all things pretty. I go online for a little while and look at pictures of gorgeous gardens and farmhouses and chateaus in France. Your blog is one way I can escape into a peaceful place.

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