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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Ahead of the royal wedding, throw yourself a tea party

If you are planning to view the royal wedding on TV, make sure you have a high tea menu to match

While bowl food and food trucks may not sound regal, Prince Henry of Wales and his American bride Meghan Markle are tying the knot in true millennial style on 19 May. Breaking away from tradition, the royal couple is also trading the classic British wedding fruitcake for a more on-trend lemon elderflower cake with “the bright flavours of spring", as tweeted by Kensington Palace. According to the tweet, an East London organic baker, Claire Ptak, was handpicked by Markle.

For fans of the royal couple who plan to watch the live telecast of the wedding on Saturday, this is a good starting point to plan the menu for the viewing party. “They are an unconventional couple and I would mix up the high tea menu with British and American faves," says Pooja Dhingra, owner of Le 15 Patisserie in Mumbai. “So, there would be cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream along with mini doughnuts and salted caramel popcorn," says Dhingra.

This is also a good time to pull out the tea service. Neha Lakhani, Delhi-based pastry chef and co-founder of Troublesome Duo Kitchens, says, “It’s important to organize bite-sized portions of both sweet and savoury items on gorgeous platters in keeping with the special occasion." For the sweet treats, Lakhani recommends madeleines, shortbread cookies and bite-sized French pastries (think mini Opera cakes and Paris brest). While savouries, according to both Dhingra and Lakhani, should include finger sandwiches such as cucumber and dill, smoked salmon with cream cheese, avocado on toast (a nod to Markle’s Californian roots) and a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian canapés. A melon and cheese salad will add a fresh note to the tea party, says Lakhani.

Of course, the party would be incomplete without a selection of teas. Dhingra recommends serving infused teas such as hibiscus, orange, mint and floral teas that can also double up as iced teas. “Since the weather is pretty warm at the moment, your guests might appreciate some elderflower lemonade and fruity sorbets," adds Dhingra. According to her, elderflower extract is readily available at gourmet food stores and can be used to flavour drinks as well as food. “Its refreshing floral notes balance the lemony flavour well." If you are feeling creative, Dhingra also recommends freezing ice cubes with edible flowers to use in your iced drinks.

Must-have British desserts

English trifle: It’s slices of sponge cake topped with jam / fruits and vanilla custard but as Dhingra points out, it’s hard to beat the nostalgic value of this classic English pudding. Serve it in tea or shot glasses for a trendy spin.

Madeira cake: Lakhani loves the subtle lemony flavour of this classic English teacake. It’s easy to bake and some lemon zest will turn up the flavour.

Victoria sponge cake: This sponge cake sandwiched with raspberry jam and dusted with sugar became popular during Queen Victoria’s reign. This versatile teacake as it can be served with whipping cream and a jam of your choice

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