When Valerie Barendregt invited me to a cream tea at her place, I certainly never dreamed of the elaborate affair depicted here, but after seeing the tablescape she had staged for her next catered event, I know to expect nothing less than wonderment from the owner of The Cheeky Teacup. Having started her Atlanta-based business this year to cater tea parties and other events, Valerie likes to herself create every aspect of the parties she plans, from centerpieces to homemade menus. As a sole-woman business owner, I respect the desire to work independently to satisfy your internal artist, especially if she happens to throw a fabulous tea party.
The dining room’s woodsy color scheme was the perfect backdrop for our autumn tea, and Valerie chose a dusky pink tablecloth (note the pretty touch of corner bows) to soften the rich reds and greens of the space. She pulled fall leaf colors into her floral displays and dotted the embroidered linen tablecloth with pine cones, dried oranges, mini pumpkins and greenery. At Valerie’s table, part of the excitement are the many delights that catch the eye: like the beautiful teapot on ornate warmer, vintage tea towels and antique china pitcher.
Nearby, Valerie set up a tea station with a gorgeous ivory, gold and rose patterned teapot on a warmer, a second glass teapot with blooming tea ready to pour, and an array of sweeteners and tea choices, including some from her recent visit to Turkey. In two teapots already on the table, Valerie served one of her (and my) favorite teas: Darjeeling, which I find needs no doctoring to be a delicious accompaniment to a cream tea.
Valerie also introduced me to a new sweetener: “nabat” – Persian rock candy infused with saffron. I very much loved the international influences at this Southern tea party.
To get an idea of just how generous Valerie’s hosting style is, check out our recently released video on Hosting Cream Tea. Coincidentally we had just released the video days before this tea party, so Valerie and I had a good laugh at the contrast. In addition to the customary cream tea menu you’ll see in our video — tea, scones, clotted cream and jam — Valerie served brie with crostini, buttery homemade almond croissants and perfectly sized, soft homemade scones with a light glaze. Yogurt parfaits in beautiful stemware and fresh fruit made this a complete morning meal.
To spread on our scones, Valerie set out generous dishes of jam, clotted cream, lemon curd and marmalade.
No detail is overlooked on Valerie’s tea table. Note the darling mini teaspoons set out for our parfaits, the serving spoons in each condiment, the decorative ribbons topping each tiered tray, the mini tongs at the ready, and crystal water glasses (sometimes omitted from a tea table, but very welcome, because caffeinated teas and the sweet treats of an afternoon tea can actually make you thirsty).
Having happily sampled Valerie’s baking, and seen how thoughtfully and beautifully she arranges a tea party, I would recommend The Cheeky Teacup to any Atlantans looking to celebrate in scrumptious style. It is truly a treat to attend a tea party thrown by The Cheeky Teacup. Thank you, Valerie, for inviting me to experience one for myself!