5 food ideas for an incredible corporate afternoon tea

A platter of gourmet sandwiches with different types of bread | Chez Nous Corporate

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the
ceremony known as afternoon tea – Henry James.

Afternoon tea is more than just a Milk Arrowroot biscuit dunked into a cup of tea. It’s a quintessential English custom. In early 19th century, the Duchess of Bedford started a daily ritual that was to become known as ‘afternoon tea’. Her dinner wasn’t served until 8 o’clock in the evening and she would get ravenously hungry at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Instead of reaching for a Tim Tam biscuit and strong cup of coffee, she would sneak into her private quarters to snack on butter sandwiches, biscuits and tea (mind the crumbs).

Even today, Queen Elizabeth II has afternoon tea at 4pm with scones, cakes and a pot of tea in the company of her darling corgis. There’s no better way to impress your corporate event guests than an afternoon tea that is fit for royalty. The beauty of afternoon tea is that it can be a simple affair with finger sandwiches and dainty cakes, biscuits, tarts and slices or it can be a more elaborate high tea offering. Understated elegance and simplicity are the keys to a successful corporate afternoon tea.

To help you prepare for the perfect afternoon tea, we’ve put together a list of the five menu items you should serve. Starting with finger sandwiches, an afternoon tea is followed by scones, an assortment of petite cakes, slices, muffins, tarts and (of course) cups of tea.

Chez Nous Corporate catering have worked with thousands of Brisbane corporate clients to assist them in hosting successful corporate events. We can create a memorable afternoon tea with exceptional and beautifully presented food, combined with great service.

Ribbon sandwiches

High tea with ribbon Sandwiches, cakes and scones.- Chez Nous Corporate Catering
A traditional afternoon tea starts with a simple array of sandwiches and ribbon sandwiches make an easy and elegant sandwich option. Ribbon sandwiches are made of sliced bread which have had their crusts removed. These delicate sandwiches are made of a mix of wholemeal and white bread, with simple fillings like tomatoes, cheese, leg ham, mustard and cucumber. Also known as finger sandwiches, these sandwiches epitomise understated elegance.

The rule for perfect finger sandwiches is to cut them less than two fingers wide. Fillings should be minimal and sliced thin, so they are easy to eat. Sandwiches are cut uniformly in neat little rows. At a traditional afternoon tea, sandwiches are usually the only savoury item on the menu. Entertain your guests in style with simple and delicious finger sandwiches.

Scones with jam and cream

What goes on the scone first – jam or cream? The great scone debate between Cornwall and Devon has caused a serious stir. In Australia, we may not debate the order in which the jam and cream should be layered on the scone, but we do love homemade scones with jam and whipped cream. It is one of Australia’s most enduring afternoon tea fares. Fluffy and super light scones are comforting and rustic. Delicious! Impress your corporate afternoon tea guests with the homemade simplicity of scones, jam and cream.

Dainty cakes

Small and delicate cream cakes beautifully presented for afternoon tea | Chez Nous Corporate catering

A traditional afternoon tea finishes with something sweet like delicate cakes, cupcakes, slices, biscuits and tarts. The key to the perfect afternoon cake is to ensure they are super moist and spongy, while being delicate and easy to eat. Afternoon tea isn’t the time for a full sized lamington or muffin. Instead, think small bite sized cakes that are presented in an elegant and simple way.

Here are a few menu ideas to inspire you:
• Karen’s cupcakes
• Assorted cake platter
• Mixed cakes/biscuits/slices platter


A collection of different tarts including chocolate, friands and strawberry tartlets. Beautifully presented | Chez Nous Corporate CateringA mix of little tarts in a variety of flavours is a popular choice for a corporate afternoon tea. A tart is a baked dish with shallow sides, bottom pastry crust and an open top with different fillings. It has a firm, crumbly crust and delectable fillings like caramel, lemon curd, passionfruit meringue, raspberry cheesecake and macadamia nut. Most tarts are fruit or custard based. Our favourites are the macadamia and caramel tarts. Scrumptuous!

Friands and mini muffins

A friand is a small cake made from almond meal and melted butter, which is usually flavoured with fruit. Light and dainty, these moist little cakes are sooo good. Try our mini chocolate dipped muffins, drizzled with rich dark or white chocolate. Mini muffins are the ideal afternoon treat as are both filling and easy to eat.

Lastly, we mustn’t forget the most important element of your afternoon tea. It would cause a royal scandal not to serve tea. Australians have a love affair with coffee, so break with English tradition and serve tea and coffee.

Contact us today to find out how you can make your next corporate afternoon tea a success. Chez Nous Corporate services Brisbane and surrounds and our friendly, professional team are ready to plan your next corporate afternoon tea.