Chocolate Fantasy Fundraising Tea Party

Late winter is the perfect time for a tea party; this is true for individuals as well as for organizations. Obligations usually lighten after the holidays, so it isn’t difficult to find lots of willing hands to help host this tea. While the Chocolate Fantasy Tea Party would work in the home, it is really meant to be enjoyed by a large group.

This tea would work perfectly for groups within an organization. For example, maybe the third grade PTA moms would host for the rest of the PTA moms or the young married class at church would host for the other church members. An organization could open this tea party to the general community too if they have a large team of volunteers.

The Chocolate Fantasy Tea Party features only chocolate desserts, tea and other beverages. Imagine a fancy bake sale crossed with a buffet line. This is a tea that men and women and children can enjoy. It should look pretty, of course, but elegant wouldn’t really work here.

Long tables arranged in a U-shape hold the various chocolate treats that are offered. Guests first pick up a simple white dinner plate and walk along in buffet fashion. They may take as many of the desserts as they like. Each dessert is priced separately so that someone taking a few chocolate truffles doesn’t pay as much as someone with chocolate cheesecake, fudge and a brownie on her plate.

How to pay depends on the size of the event. For a small tea, each guest through the buffet can receive a ticket marked with the cost of the items on her plate. Colored stickers work well here, a red circle indicates a $1.00 item, a green sticker for a $2.00 item, etc. A cashier at the end of the line can total the bill and collect the money. For a larger tea though, all desserts can be categorized by type, priced accordingly, the cashier looks at the guest’s plate and totals her bill. This method is quicker but there is an extra step initially.

The tea guests are then directed to the dining area where they will find tables designed by each table hostess. So long as the hostess follows a chocolate theme, she should decorate as she pleases but this isn’t the time for using the good china, especially if children are welcome. Creativity is the important feature here and admiring the various table designs is part of the fun. Each guest will find a napkin, silverware and a water glass at her seat. The table hostess will take orders for the various teas offered or other drinks that may be available.

For many fundraiser or group teas, everyone is asked to bake or prepare the same foods from the same recipes. For the Chocolate Fantasy Tea Party though, each volunteer should make whatever she most loves. Variety is important to this event. There should be a control sheet though so that there aren’t ten chocolate cakes and only one pie.

Categories to fill include: cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, candies, pastries, breads and muffins. Be sure to have a nice mix of large desserts like cakes and small ones like cookies. Figure, just about everyone can make a chocolate chip cookie but not all of us make big, gorgeous chocolate cakes.

Try to estimate how many guests you’ll have. In a closed group, this shouldn’t be too difficult but when the tea is open to the public, it is pretty hard. You could sell advance tickets but that limits folks who hear about this tea at the last minute. Do your best to have enough chocolate treats for everyone who shows up but when the desserts run out, they run out.

Don’t fill the buffet tables with too many of the same item at the same time. Depending on space, you might decide to cut only one cake at a time or display only one basket of chocolate muffins instead of putting out all 5 baskets you’ve received. Or you might combine pieces or slices from different bakers on the same serving platter. It would look good to have a big plate of several kinds of brownies for your tea guests to choose from.

It is always nice to have a few door prizes or raffle items. A specially decorated cake from your town’s best bakery would be a sweet win. The bakery will probably give a discount in exchange for the advertising. The cake could be present or a photo and a gift certificate could be used as your guests might be rather full and not want more cake for a while. At the other end of the spectrum, a gift certificate for a spa day or exercise class could be fun too.

One word about chocolate fountains—don’t. They are expensive to rent, $500 plus the cost of the chocolate. The chocolate must be melted before it goes into the fountain which means time, mess and extra dirty things to wash. And people think it is funny to stick their fingers and tongues directly into the chocolate flow.

This Chocolate Fantasy Tea Party is a good money maker. All food is donated, each table hostess is responsible for her table decorations and there won’t be any shortage of guests. Please see my post Fundraising Tea Party for more details on holding this kind of tea party.

Chocolate recipes begin tomorrow!

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