Tea time or goûter in French resonates with each and every one of us. Whether it’s part of a childhood ritual preserved into adulthood and scrupulously respected on a daily basis, or a desire to try English-style tea time for a weekend, it retains a comforting quality that does us good.
A sweet or savoury snack that’s always welcome in the late afternoon, and helps put off dinner until later.
Having been in the city since the beginning of April, I wanted to take a break, recreate a bucolic moment (I miss the countryside) and take advantage of spring by injecting the freshness of the season. So I set up a table with the idea of setting the scene for a country-style, poetic Parisian tea party, combining soft but fairly bright colors, floral motifs and little spring bouquets of daffodils… I also added tableware that appeals to the imagination, with a touch of Alice in Wonderland for a touch of fantasy. It’s all about fantasy when you’re setting even a small table, so you might as well indulge yourself.
A sweet and savoury snack
If, like me, you’re more salty than sweet, you can easily incorporate English-style mini-sandwiches into your snack. This is inspired by English tea time, when tea is often accompanied by Coronation-style sandwiches (made with chicken, mayonnaise, curry and coriander) or the famous cucumber, dill and cream cheese sandwiches. To this we add a few sweet elements like a simple cake. I often lean towards lemon cake with icing, but this time I wanted to make a Banana Bread with the bananas I had left over, which were ripening a little too quickly on the kitchen table.
It was all about doing something with those bananas that were sitting, unhappily, on the kitchen counter. I always have a few on hand, even though it’s a fruit that doesn’t inspire me at all. On the other hand, if I incorporate them into a Banana Bread-type cake or a good homemade apple compote, I immediately take a different look at them.
An easy to make goûter
The great thing about tea parties is that they can be a lovely occasion for simple entertaining. There’s none of the pressure of a lunch or dinner with starter/course/cheese/dessert, which are more formal and require more work. And it’s just as much fun to invite your friends to taste: it’s an invitation that always surprises and makes you smile. You can use what you’ve planned to serve at the tea party, add eggs and toast, change the time of the invitation to 11 a.m. and turn that Parisian tea party into a brunch!
For afternoon tea, I usually serve one of my favorite teas (Marco Polo from Mariage Frères) or a green tea from China. And when my nephews or children are present, it’s a cup of hot chocolate with a little vanilla whipped cream. Because you can never enjoy life’s little pleasures enough… and I love to see their eyes sparkle when I add a few marshmallows to the cream… and it works really well on the older ones too!
To recreate a tea party in the garden, click here.
Recipe for Banana Bread
- 240 g plain flour
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 200 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 225 g butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 5 very ripe bananas (or 4 bananas and 1 pear)
- 80 ml liquid cream
Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
In a food processor, blend the softened butter with the sugar, then add the beaten eggs, bananas (and pear, if you like). Add some of the flour, then the milk, and repeat the process.
Butter a cake tin lined with baking parchment and pour in the mixture. Bake for 50 min to 1 hour at 180°C.