This will be my second year celebrating the Queen’s birthday. The royal monarch is still a relatively new concept to me but I find it extremely fascinating.
The childhood idea/dream of being in a royal monarch as a young American girl consisted of Victorian clothing, etiquette training, beautiful dresses, grand castles, adored crowns, structure, high society, and glorious high teas!
The concept of being royal is deemed regal and grandeur of high society.
After moving to New Zealand last year there was nothing more regal than a monarch’s holiday. The idea of celebrating the Queen’s birthday was an exciting concept to experience.
After researching the Queen’s birthday traditions, the real birthday date for the Queen is April 21st. The countries within the Queen’s commonwealth can decide the date on which to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. New Zealand decided to celebrate the Queen’s birthday on June 7th.
After researching the queen’s birthday and going over the monarch’s history, the idea of a glorious high tea came to mind to celebrate the Queen’s birthday!
Creating our own Afternoon Tea!
There are many styles of “Tea” with different settings and times to “Tea”. The style of high tea we will be creating today is an “Afternoon Tea”.
There will be three plates served for “Afternoon Tea” which are comprised of sandwiches, scones with lemon curd/cream, and cakes/treats.
For “Afternoon Tea” we will serve the tea around 12:00 Noon due to the larger portion sizes of the plates.
Our first step was to decide on the products that we would serve for the Afternoon Tea. Traditionally afternoon tea has a lot of dairy and gluten products, as I try to limit these items in my diet. I wanted to have a complete Afternoon Tea that would have both options for my partner and I.
After searching for gluten-free products and dairy-free options, we found multiple products that could be substituted in the Afternoon Tea.
It was easier to find gluten-free products compared to dairy-free, but I live a limited diet compared to total elimination diet.
(*With this in mind- the products will be mostly dairy and gluten- free but there will be a few products that have gluten and dairy*.)
Creating the tiered plates
The bottom tier of an Afternoon Tea consists of tea sandwiches. Queen Elizabeth’s favourite tea sandwich is rumoured to be cucumber and cream cheese sandwich. Cucumber sandwiches also happen to be my partners favourite.
So, we decided to make cucumber sandwiches. Our cucumber sandwiches were comprised of cucumber, cream cheese, and white bread with the crust cut-off.
The gluten-free and dairy-free version was the same recipe but with dairy-free cream cheese and gluten-free white bread. (Side Note: the dairy-free cream cheese is vegan, and I find the taste to be exactly like dairy cream cheese, Highly Recommend!)
The second sandwich we made for the afternoon tea was egg salad. We decided to create one normal sandwich with white bread and of course with the crusts cut-off.
The gluten-free option was Olinas Gluten-free fig and sunflower seed crackers topped with egg salad. The egg salad consisted of boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and was dusted with paprika.
The second tier was filled with date scones, these were not handmade. The scones were bought from the countdown bakery. I would recommend buying scones from a local bakery compared to a grocery store bakery.
For the gluten-free scone option, I decided to make banana bread as a substitute. The Peter Rabbit cupcake liners were used to bake the banana bread into a scone shape. The cupcake liners worked perfectly to get a circler shape. The shape of the banana bread looked fitting with the normal scones.
The second tier also consisted of one of the most important things! (As I have been told by my partner) Cream for the scones! Cream is one of the most important parts of an Afternoon Tea!
After searching through New Zealand supermarket for whipped creams, we decided on Tatua dairy whipped cream for the dairy option.
We found a canned Coconut Whipping Cream for a Non-Dairy option!
A non-dairy option for cream is hard to replicate and the canned coconut cream tried its best to be creamy.
We soon realized the key to making the coconut whipping cream is to not over beat the mixture. If the coconut whipping cream mixture is over beaten the mixture will turn soupy.
Another staple in an Afternoon tea is a lemon curd to pair with the whipped cream. The lemon curd that we decided on was the Bakers Lemon Curd.
I have not had anything bad or artificial from the Bakers Company all their products have been rich in flavour. The lemon curd was no exception!
I highly recommend trying their lemon curd on toast for a afternoon treat!
The coconut whipped cream and Bakers lemon curd had a delightful taste. The coconut and lemon flavour created a pin᷉a colada flavour, who doesn’t like that!
The coconut cream has an intense coconut flavour, so if you are trying find a non-dairy option make sure that you are a coconut fan.
The banana bread scones was a great combination with the lemon curd and cream.
Compared to the basic scone the lemon curd and cream became the main flavours of the combination.
The Bakers lemon curd has a great non-artificial lemon flavour, this added with the cream creates a sweet-tart flavour.
Thus, making it hard for a dairy-free and gluten-free option to recreate.
Next time, I will try to make a gluten-free scone that is not as sweet as the banana bread. This will let the cream and lemon curd to be the main flavour of the combination.
The dessert tier was filled with plenty of options for a sweet tooth. I was surprised to find the lollie rocky road in New Zealand. The lollies are quickly becoming one of my favorites.
In the USA, rocky road is an ice cream favour. The ice cream is comprised of chocolate ice cream that is mixed with little marshmallows and walnuts.
(*With that said there may be another version of rocky road candy in USA, but I am yet to find it!)
The New Zealand lollie slab is comprised of chocolate, marshmallows, almonds, and fruit candies that creates scrumptious flavour with multiple textures.
Rocky road is not dairy-free but it is gluten-free!
The next dessert we have for the Afternoon Tea is an Apricot Louise Slice. The Apricot Louise Slice was also a new treat to me, but my partner really enjoys them.
After doing research on Louise Slice, the treat consists of a biscuit or cake bottom with jam covered in a coconut crust.
The Louise Slice is claimed as a classic Kiwi treat and was named after Queen Victoria daughter, Princess Louise of England.
We also had gluten-free shortbread cookies from Orgran company and Tasti smooshed caramel & sea salt wholefood balls for a gluten-free and dairy-free option.
These tiers became a beautiful afternoon tea that looked picturesque. The afternoon tea was such a fitting way to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. An afternoon tea with such a beautiful essence that needed to be accompanied by a pot of coffee or tea.
Coffee or Tea?
We made the coffee using the delonghi electric moka pot with Robert Harris French Roast Coffee. (Sidenote: Moka Pot blog post coming soon) The dark roast of the coffee beans pairs well with the sweetness of the Afternoon tea treats.
Robert Harris coffee is a New Zealand coffee company. The company website states that it is one of the first companies to bring coffee to New Zealand.
The Loose-Leaf tea enjoyed throughout the Afternoon tea was from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.
The tea was a subtle black tea – flavoured with amaretto spice for a light and aromatic taste. The tea is marketed to be paired with a light dessert.
The tea company is originated from Portland, Oregon USA with the mission statement to provide high quality tea for gourmet retailers.
The combination of coffee or tea with an afternoon high tea was a wonderful way to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Both drinks bring an experience to the afternoon tea and enhance the flavours of the food.
The experience of preparing an afternoon tea was tiresome for my partner and myself. We realized the time and energy needed to complete the task of a high tea was a rather large feat.
We concluded after creating our own high tea that we would certainly enjoy a professional high tea with more understanding.
I would recommend creating a homemade high tea to celebrate event! The time spent together with friends enjoying the coffee, tea, and food is a memorable moment.
You can understand the moments of leisure for members of royalty. There is an understanding of the regalnesss of the event after creating your own high tea.
The high tea experience is only fit for a queen! With this Happy Birthday to the Queen!
Please comment below if you would create your own High Tea? And what treats you would serve for your own high tea?