When Linda Butchart attended a local tea service, the design on the elegant china looked very familiar. It was American Beauty – a vintage style covered in red roses. The china was identical to a set once owned by her late mother. It was a set she had grown to cherish. Butchart was about to launch a new catering business with long time friend, Karen Dingwall and took it as a sign.
“I just felt like my mom, who passed a couple years ago, was kind of speaking to us,” says Butchart. “She would have very much supported this idea. So we decided to use her china.”
The pair spent months collecting as much vintage china as possible before launching The Travelling Teacups this past June. It is a mobile catering company that prepares and serves a classic British tea, complete with vintage china and decor as the backdrop to traditional and modern appetizers served on three-tiered dishes and paired with tea from Floating Leaf Tea.
Not to be confused with high tea, afternoon tea is served during the gap between lunch and dinner and is traditionally meant to be more of a treat served with sweet cakes and scones. High tea, on the other hand, is traditionally served much later in the afternoon with a heartier meal.
While each Travelling Teacup party is a little different, a standard tea service includes four pre-determined teas chosen from a variety of blends such as vanilla Earl Gray, oolong plum or coconut kiss. Throughout the service, the tea is presented with information on the blends to help you make your choice as it is served.
Meanwhile, three-tiered serving dishes are filled with sweet and savory homemade appetizers. Guests can expect classic tea pairings like strawberry crumpets with homemade jam and Devonshire cream as well as savoury items like avocado egg salad pinwheel sandwiches. There are gluten- and dairy-free options available.
Since the business is set up as a catering service, the company is equipped to handle any occasion or venue, including graduations, baby showers and business meetings. The Travelling Teacups also offer Wedding Day Bride’s Brunch, which happens during the morning of the big day while the bridal party gets ready.
All the experiences are customizable with decor and table settings to match the venue and occasion. Tents, tables and chairs are available for rental. You can opt for full service or have The Traveling Teacups kick-start your experience, leave and only return once it’s time to take care of the mess. Make your tea extra special with add-ons like fascinators for hire, tea leaf readings with certified readers, fresh floral arrangements and live music. The company also offers the rental of their vintage china for use at your own party or event,
For Butchart and Dingwall, tea means comfort or friendship. As Butchart explains, when you have a cup of tea, it’s sharing time together.
“When you do an afternoon tea, it’s celebratory,” says Butchart.
For more information on The Travelling Teacups, visit travellingteacups.ca.