It's high time for a spot of tea, dear

Pop-up tearoom brings colonial tradition back

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013
jan saville
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/ FAIRFAX NZ
Tea lady: Jan Saville started Dorothy’s pop-up tearoom to cater to demand for a portable high-tea service.

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The British love of tea is catching on in Canterbury where vintage china, dainty cakes and lovely linens are the latest in party trends.

High tea often includes specialty teas, petite sweets, savoury bites and anything dainty enough to match the beautiful china it is served on.

Once thought of as a colonial tradition, high tea is now very much back in fashion.

British tea lover Jan Saville launched her pop-up tearoom last week.

Dorothy's operates from a retro green caravan and can be set up anywhere for any occasion.

Saville pops on her frilly apron and lines up row upon row of gorgeous china cups and saucers. Tea is served from a huge pot decked out in the Union Jack, and scones are piled on cake stands complete with strawberry jam and pouring cream.

"I was given lots of crockery by my mother-in-law and I always wanted to start a real tea shop," she said. "It's very English."

Saville originally wanted a bricks-and-mortar tea room but a pop-up shop was an easier option post-quake.

"I think there's a definite market for high tea," she said. "It's a little bit of fancy luxury, and it's affordable."

Dorothy's will pop up anywhere for any function.

Another British tea enthusiast, Sarah Betteridge, bought up large before she moved to Christchurch in 2011.

With her, she brought a vast collection of vintage china, silver cutlery, all the trimmings for a tea party.

Her company, Vintage Tea Party, can cater high tea for any group or event. Customers can choose to hire both the tea party hardware (cups, plates, and serveware) and the food, or just hire the china and serve their own tea and food.

"I think high tea is pretty new here compared to the UK," Betteridge said. "It's been very popular there for ages."

Betteridge said tea parties were riding on the coattails of the retro and vintage interior design and fashion trends.

"It's just so nice isn't it? Tea and cake and dainty sandwiches.

"It's quite elegant and it's not an everyday thing."

Betteridge said most of her parties were hired for baby showers, hen parties and corporate functions.

The Tea House in Lincoln is founded on a love of tea. Set in a cute 1890s villa, The Tea House serves tiny sandwiches and specialty cakes all year round.

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