Cricket Teas are one of sports greatest traditions, like strawberries and cream at Wimbledon or Guinness at the Cheltenham Festival.
A cricket tea is an integral part of any cricket match. For many players, the prospect of a good tea on a hot summer’s afternoon is just as important as playing the game itself, if not more so. After a long few hours of dropped catches, first ball ducks and dodgy umpiring decisions, it all seems worth it when tucking into that cheese and chutney sandwich and a jam-topped scone.
It’s no surprise that the perfect cricket tea is not unlike the traditional afternoon tea, although perhaps a little heartier. According to most cricket players and fans, sandwiches, scones, cakes, fruit, squash and lashings of tea are required. This isn’t fixed ‘though as some clubs like to offer crusty bread and a range of meats, cheeses and pickles, so each player can make their own, on their plate – almost Ploughman’s style.
Each club will have their favourites but they rarely deviate from these vital elements. Competition is fierce on producing the freshest sandwiches, lightest scones and fluffiest cakes and woe betide if standards are not high. So here are the ingredients for a perfect cricket tea. Thankfully, it’s not essential that you understand the rules of the game to enjoy an afternoon watching cricket – ‘though it does help. For approximately 30 hungry people you should offer:
Generous sandwich platters - You’ll need two large loaves and 2 dozen finger rolls or crusty rolls for variety.
Keep the fillings simple, recognisable and easy to eat.
Filling favourites are -
Egg Mayonnaise or Egg and Cress, Coronation Chicken with cucumber, Tuna Mayo and Sweetcorn, Corned Beef and Salad, Cheddar Cheese and Tomato
Quick bites - Offer a selection of mini pork savouries such as pies, mini sausage rolls and mini Scotch eggs. Allow 2 per person.
Chip and dips - Put out large bowls of assorted crisps and tortilla chips with two or three small bowls of dip, e.g. Bonne Maman Onion with Sichuan Pepper Chutney, Soured Cream & Chive and a Tomato Salsa.
Cakes and bakes - Offer an assortment of cakes, several large cakes for cutting and an assortment of smaller bite-sized should be plenty.
Tray bakes and sweet loaves are easy to do and simple to serve. Try a crowd-pleasing Lemon & Wild Blueberry Swirl Cake or this Strawberry & Orange Traybake which has a moist poppy seed sponge and fruity jam and coconut topping – (and if catering for plant-based eaters, the vegan version of this cake makes up beautifully too)
Something larger to cut in wedges makes a good centre piece like a Rhubarb Crumble Cake or everyone’s favourite – a Chocolate and Strawberry Roulade. (All of these can be made ahead and frozen which is invaluable).
Scones are a must. Serve them warm, halved and topped with butter or cream and plenty of Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve. Try Bonne Maman's Lavender and Buttermilk Scones
For a quick and easy mouthful to put together, try mini shortbread biscuits topped with soft cheese or crème fraîche, a dollop of Bonne Maman Lemon Curd and a fresh raspberry on the top, or a batch of crumbly jam-filled shortbreads.
Sweet & fresh - Have a bowl or platter of some easy to eat fruit, like clementines, strawberries, raspberries and bananas alongside a large bowl of chilled Bonne Maman creamy mousse pots such as Chocolate, Rhubarb, Blackcurrant or Strawberry, or Bonne Maman Crèmes. Allow at least 20.
And of course, tea … and orange squash
For the detailed Shopping List for a Cricket Tea like this to bowl over both teams see here