A Green Tea with Nina Daryanani


How much does Nina Daryanani love tea? So much that her husband, after seeing her host countless tea parties for family and friends, gave her the nickname "Lady Sippington." The British-born expert developed her interest early, when she learned practical skills for holding an afternoon tea from her mother, grandmother, and ladies in her hometown of Enfield, UK. After moving to America, Nina began sharing her love of traditional, English teas by hosting personalized parties. Since she'll be visiting terrain in Westport on July 2, she gave us a peek at her newly-styled "Green Tea" table-- perfect for a summery, outdoor gathering-- and shared a few tips for hosting a party of your own.

Setting the Table

Keep your tablescape contemporary by mixing plain fabrics with patterns and light with dark. Pair a dark, solid napkin with a light, floral tablecloth, or a white tea plate with a richly patterned cup.

Always use cloth napkins, even when outside. You can fold napkins flat and place them to the left of the tea plate, or stack the china and place the napkin in between. Avoid napkin rings and fancy folds-- those are for dinners.

Teaspoons are always provided. They should be placed behind the cup with the handle of the spoon pointing the same way as the handle of the cup. Look for special teaspoons that speak to the theme of your event. For this outdoor tea, I chose leaf-shaped silver and carved wooden spoons.

Flowers at teatime should always be fresh. For this table, I used fresh sage. Keep your arrangements simple, small, and ideally fragrant-- nothing too tall or fussy.

At Tea Time

Hold a teacup by pinching the handle, not hooking a finger through it. And pinkie down, always!

For an outdoor tea, serve sandwiches with plain cream cheese and English cucumber sliced very thin, on a rustic bread. It's proper to take and eat them with your fingers. No need for a knife and fork.

If you serve a hot Darjeeling tea, there's no need for a creamer jug or sugar bowl. Called "the champagne of teas," Darjeeling is best taken as-is.

On July 2 in Westport, join Nina for an English garden tea party and learn how to host your own afternoon tea. For more information and to RSVP, please visit our events page.

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