Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Informal Victorian Dessert Course


The Victorian informal dessert course (most likely fruits arranged on a pedestal server with nuts in the shell scattered on the table) after formal Victorian dinners has always intrigued me.  It seemed the perfect thing for Thanksgiving this year. 

I’ve read that after a formal dinner everything would be removed from the table including the tablecloth.  Then the maid took the finger bowls, (which had been previously arranged on a plate, protected by a doily, with rose petals floating on the warm water and the fruit knife and nutpick on the plate) and placed one at the left of each guest, removing her pie or pudding plate if she has finished.

Nut crackers and grape scissors are laid in convenient places, and when all have finished with the pie or pudding, the maid retires and leaves the guests to the informal enjoyment of the fruit and nuts.

Each person removes the plate from under the finger bowl, leaving the doily under the bowl, and uses this plate for the nuts or fruit.

I think it is a lovely way to end the evening and to introduce some Victorian fun traditions to the little plum teapot which is steeping Charleston Tea Plantation First Flush for Thanksgiving Day.

Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!
~Jane Austen


La Tea Dah said...

A very interesting post. I enjoyed reading about the proper way of presenting the nuts and fruit. All the utensils sound interesting and unusual. A Victorian maid really had to know a lot of things!

samovar said...

so quaint! Where is a maid please? Andrea

s. franks said...

Martha, I have enjoyed each post on the traveling tea pot. Wonderful job.

Have a great Thanksgiving.


The Teaist said...

That's very cute. I wasn't aware of the tradition but it makes sense. Wouldn't this have been the moment that ladies would have withdrawn to the drawing room for a cup of tea and a toddy while the gentlemen drank something stronger, smoked cigars and discussed the business of the day?

That, or I've just been watching too much Downton Abbey :)

Gwen said...

Oh, it all just sounds so lovely and the presentation is beautiful!!

amherstrose said...

Just beautiful and the perfect way to end a celebration. You have had some amazing tea times with that little purple pot. I am thinking you will miss her when you have to send her on her way to the next lucky tea lover.

Mary Jane

relevanttealeaf said...

I learned something new regarding the informal fruit and nut concluding the Victorian dessert course. It's lovely! Love your vintage equipage.

Marilyn said...

A Victorian tea for Thanksgiving is so special. I love that you have shared this idea. Fruit and nuts makes such a lovely ending to a special meal. All your accoutrements are just beautiful.

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Your table settings are sometimes like a history of Victorian etiquette. Amazing what little "gadgets" they came up with that most of us know nothing about.