As we drove into the citrus groves, we realized by the fullness of the fruit on the trees. We knew that the Sunkist fruit pickers would soon be by to pick and all of the yellow and orange globes. The trees, after a short hibernation will start the cycle of fruit production and in the spring they will show the fullness of fruit all over again. What a beautiful setting for Alice and all of her friends. You bet Alice was there; what’s a tea party without Alice. All of her friends were there, but we were so heavily camouflaged that who would know who was who? This was a very special tea party celebrating the eminent birth of baby boy Tash.
All of the ingredients for a tea party were set up and the partygoers were politely attacking the food. The egg salad sandwiches were plentiful; the cucumber and watercress sandwiches were harder sells. The turkey croissants with cranberry sauce are an American addition, perhaps, but delicious. British gentry would approve.
Scones you ask? Oh yes, and none have ever looked or tasted better. I wished that I had armed myself with little plastic bags at the bottom of my purse for take home sneaks. The conversations between mouthfuls were satisfying, informative and there was camaraderie in sharing the event.
I put clotted cream and lemon curd on top of a crumpet and actually wept as the flavors singularly combined. Weeping over food is usually not my forte. I had a second helping all the while delighting in finding a clot in the cream and a tang in the curd. Having an affair with a huge chocolate covered strawberry was luscious and the licking and lapping was certainly forbidden. Then, it happened. There was a tiny yellow stack about the height and width of my ring finger. I just popped it in my mouth, and then another followed by another until I realized there were chocolate stacks as well. They were my next ecstasy.
I needed something to drink, so I looked to the beverages. I thought I had poured lemonade, which as I think back would have been a disaster. It was grapefruit juice. Now that is a way to cleanse the palate I did not know existed. How clever. After a few swallows of grapefruit juice I was ready to start with another round, changing my choices somewhat. Oh Alice, there is heaven on earth and magic, too. The only thing I missed having is THE TEA.
I will have to go back to that tea party time and again in my mind and when I do I will sample all of the teas. I will experience the eye tearing clotted cream and lemon curd. I will have an affair with my chocolate covered strawberry yet again. I will not be shy at the dessert table and I will taste the frosted cookies and the raspberry tarts. I will remember that tea may not be the most important part of a tea party.