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Strawberries & cream tea party at The Tea Salon Melbourne

Yesterday we hosted a sweet little tea party at The Tea Salon at Emporium Melbourne for some of Ava's friends and their gorgeous mummas. This is our favourite time of year for a tea party and there really is no better setting than The Tea Salon!

My guests and I were lucky to be joined by the founder of The Tea Salon, Jill Jones-Evans, who was the most gorgeous and gracious host. Here are all the details.

Tea Party Theme + Decorations

The theme for the tea party was strawberries & cream.

The Tea Salon is such a gorgeous setting so I didn't need to do much decorating at all. Down the centre of the table I scattered some greenery, my favourite strawberry truffles from Yarra Valley + Great Ocean Rd Chocolateries and the most delightful ombre pink chocolate-coated strawberries by Badria at Chocolate N°5 At each place sat a sweet box of strawberry cookies made by Ellana at Sweet P Cakes & Cookies in Noosa, which were wrapped with ribbon and handwritten Thank You tags from Tara at Wildfire Co.

The Tea Salon’s vintage tea pots, cups, saucers and plates looked perfect alongside the handwritten place cards by Wildfire Co.

Down the middle of the table sat piccolo jars of the most beautiful blooms from Polly at Piccolo & Peony in South Yarra. The vibrant hues of purple and pinks just popped against all the soft tones on the table.

The Menu

On arrival we served the prettiest pink champagne cocktails with edible blooms for the mums and strawberry milkshakes for the little ladies. (You should have seen the girls faces as the tray of milkshakes was brought over to the them! I’ve never seen a more excited group of girls!)

We served The Tea Salon's stunning Couture Spring High Tea menu which included an assortment of ribbon sandwiches and scones followed by cookie sandwiches with strawberry crème patissiere, the most decadent Chocolate Marquise Tart, Classic New York Very Lemony Cheesecake and the most exquisite buttercream cupcakes smothered in sweet meringue kisses & edible flowers. The food was all absolutely delicious and we were not surprised when we learnt that someone who used to work at The Windsor now heads the kitchen.

The girls were thrilled with the Children’s High Tea menu, which included chicken sandwiches, scones - and even a choc chip scone which Ava is still talking about! - cupcakes and cookie sandwiches.

To finish we all enjoyed a pot of tea, with French Earl Grey being the most popular choice on the day.

The gluten free High Tea (pictured above) is a delicious and decadent affair.

The tea party table.

The girls absolutely loved the strawberry cookies made by Ellana at Sweet P Cakes & Cookies.

Gorgeous stationery from Wildfire Co.sat alongside some of the sweet treats from Chocolate N°5 and Yarra Valley + Great Ocean Rd Chocolateries.

The jars of blooms from Piccolo & Peony (above) were just perfect for the occasion..

The gorgeous chocolate pyramids and ombre pink strawberries were made by Chocolate N°5.

Take Home Treats

Guests took home the boxes of Strawberry cookies from Sweet P Cakes & Cookies, posies of blooms from Piccolo & Peony and boxes filled with Chocolate N°5 Chocolate No. 5 pyramid chocolates and strawberries, The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie truffles and even some scones from The Tea Salon.

It could not have been a more beautiful morning and we are so grateful to The Tea Salon and the following group of suppliers for making this tea party + photo shoot possible.

Photographer: Jade Smith @byJadeSmith

Venue + High Tea catering: @theteasalon at Melbourne Emporium.

Styling + concept: @thepartybebe

Chocolate Coated Strawberries + Pyramid Chocolates: @chocolateno5_

Strawberry cookies: @sweetpcakesandcookies

Stationery: @wildfire_co_

Pictured left and below is the founder of the Tea Salon, Jill Jones-Evans.

Interview with the Founder of The Tea Salon, Jill Jones-Evans.

Between bites of scones at our tea party, we caught up with Jill to hear about the inspiration behind The Tea Salon and her tea party essentials. I am thrilled to share my interview with Jill below.

Tell us about the inspiration behind The Tea Salon?

The Tea Salon was borne out of our former Sydney restaurant, The Victoria Room and a love for High Tea! Launched in 2003, with its opulent British-Raj décor, The Victoria Room quickly became the hotpsot for ‘it-girl’ High Tea gatherings. After handing over the reins to new owners in 2013, we went on to open The Tea Salon, first at Westfield Sydney and then here at Emporium Melbourne. It was here, in this new incarnation, that High Tea, shopping and fashion came together to form a perfect combination.

It really does seem to be the ultimate venue for a mother/daughter date. My daughter and my Mum are both loving this tea party.

We love to see generations of ladies sharing a special High Tea experience together! When we first created The Tea Salon concept, we really wanted to provide a beautiful space where young girls could come with their mums and/or grandmums as a special treat. And today is certainly this!

Can you share your tea party essentials with us?

Absolutely! No tea party is complete without gorgeous teaware such as floral teacups, teapots and cake plates – these needn’t cost a fortune and don’t necessarily need to be matching sets either! Here at The Tea Salon, we prefer to mix it up with gorgeous mis-matching teacups and cake plates to create a fun and quirky vintage look. Check out your local Vinnies or the sales for some super-cute teaware bargains. Where possible, fine china is always preferable to heavier teaware. Guests love to feel posh for the day! You will also need some quality napery or cool paper napkins – the options here are endless. Recently I attended a tea party where the sweetest Liberty print paper napkins were offered. A successful tea party also requires a beautiful setting, whether that be your garden, sunroom, balcony or, depending on the season, picnic-style. Tea Party picnics are divine in summer. The beauty of hosting a tea party is that you can prepare your menu items well before guests arrive – this way the host gets to enjoy the tea party too!

This brings us to the most important part – what delicious morsels will you serve? There are no strict rules around food for a tea party except to offer guests an abundant cross-section of sweet and savoury items. Best to keep individual desserts petit-style (suggest 3-4 per person). Savoury items such as ribbon or triangle sandwiches or savoury tarts are best served small also. So they stay super-fresh serve sandwiches when guests arrive. It’s nice to serve quality loose-leaf tea in teapots rather than using teabags, though when I attended afternoon tea at The Plaza in New York, I noticed they used teabags!

And finally, depending on the occasion, you may like to serve pink Champagne as we have done today or, for a more discreet look, prepare cocktails in pretty teapots and serve to guests in teacups. No one need ever know!

We adore your Spring High Tea menu, can you tell us about this menu and take us through how you plan the seasonal tea party menus?

Each season I consult with our Head Chef and his wonderful team to develop our new High Tea menu. Fortunately, we have a passionate and talented team who always love to create new desserts. For each new High Tea menu we work with what’s in season, what’s hot right now and we always make sure to include something rich and chocolatey! Finally, we balance out the final menu taking into consideration colour and palette. This spring we are loving using gorgeous edible florals.

The little ladies at today's tea party are thrilled with their special children's High Tea menu, what are your recommendations when hosting a tea party for children?

When hosting a children’s tea party, while the focus is on a pretty table setting, special treats and sipping ‘tea’, aim to keep it short and sweet. Children’s attention spans can be limited, therefore have some fun activities on hand such as colouring, bubble blowing or some old-fashioned party games. If the season is right, then I would suggest a garden tea party where there is lots of room for cartwheels in between sipping tea! You may not wish to serve real tea therefore I would suggest our Turkish Apple Tea which is not really a tea but a lovely, sweet tisane which can be served warm or iced. Fruit alongside the sweet treats is also a welcome addition. On Halloween in our neighbourhood we offer trick or treaters slices of watermelon (once the sweets have all gone) and I have never seen such grateful smiles.

It has been a hugely successful year for The Tea Salon in Melbourne and Sydney, what plans are in store in 2017?

I can’t even tell you how excited I am for what’s in store for the brand in 2017!

As you would have seen in recent years, we will continue to collaborate with brilliant creatives in the food, baking, styling, fashion, media, publishing and event industries and we’re already planning for some brilliant projects that even we couldn’t have imagined when we started. Next year’s focus is on bringing new products and experiences into our stores that combine delicious treats with interactive and highly shareable experiences that will delight our customers.

This year we’ve been lucky to have some very special events including launches, book readings, cake demonstrations and photoshoots for media, fashion and music and we know that next year will bring even more opportunities to reach new audiences (and tastebuds!)

We’ve also got plans to expand our footprint and while I can’t reveal much, I can tell you that you should expect to see The Tea Salon in more of your favourite destinations!

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