If there is one conclusion I can draw from these books, it’s that international afternoon tea books are decidedly better than ones published in the US. Not even a close call. The US books are often repetitive, boring and Victorian frou frou. There’s a time and place for frou frou, but based off US books alone, you’d think that afternoon tea couldn’t be chic, classy or elegant. When in fact, it should be all the above. Enough with the rant ;) These are three of my favorite international books on afternoon tea.
It’s a visually driven book of all the spots in London where you can have…tea and cake! Categorized in reader-friendly sections like everyday specials for cafes and tearooms, grand affairs for a formal afternoon tea, and tea with a twist for alternative and themed tea spots. The grand affairs section is my favorite, with teasers into The Ritz, Palm Court at The Langham, and Fortnum & Mason…I will get there one day.
2. The Australian Women’s Weekly Afternoon Tea. It’s technically a magazine, not a book. But given the high quality printing, material, and structure of this “magazine,” I’ll sure be treating it like a book.
This one is all recipes – mostly sweets with a few savory tea sandwiches. How can you resist rosewater meringues with fairy floss! Expect to find everything from fig and walnut friands to lilikoi cream biscuits.
3. The Vintage Tea Party Book. The cover of this British book is little scary. This is not your cutesy afternoon tea book.
It’s a sassy, very complete and in-your-face book that starts with recipes, but also includes a lot of DIY activities. Like how to decorate a hat (you can’t attend a tea party without a hat of course), how to make candles, and how to pick the “perfect” vintage dress. Vintage dresses (and vintage anything for that matter) also creep me out, but it’s surely the thought that counts.