Good Gracious High Tea

Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan, Images Brydie Thompson

I’m sitting in the sun on the deck at Denise Buschor’s home. While we sip tea from delicate cups, a pair of tui are frolicking in the blossom tree. It’s an idyllic setting to take a moment and have chat.

The cups we are drinking from were once Denise’s grandmother’s, and she has fond memories of drinking from them as a child when on special occasions they would have a tea party. This is apt as memories, occasions and those special little touches are at the centre of Good Gracious High Tea, a business Denise launched late last year.

A chef for many years, Denise has cooked around the world, but it was when she worked in a retirement village a few years back she started to think about creating a special offering, one that was a little unique, recreated memories while creating new ones.

A business course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa saw her narrow down her focus and decide to specialise in high teas. “As a chef,” Denise says, “I wanted to create something nice because cooking [professional] is pretty unglamourous.” High teas hit the mark in so many ways!

Beautifully flexible, they suit everything from an intimate celebration for two to a wedding. They can be tailored to a corporate occasion or bought as surprise gift from afar. You can opt for the full service where Denise will come to you with everything, including the beautiful tea stands, cups and even little café tables, or the food can be boxed up for you to pick up and serve.

In the works is a food trailer giving even more flexibility, enabling Good Gracious High Teas to pop up in a park or backyard to create an amazing high tea. And amazing is what Denise is aiming for.

Synonymous with an occasion, high teas offer Denise an opportunity to be creative, reinventing classics and tantilising tastebuds. Her mango lamington is a stand-out and quickly becoming a signature. Then there is the indulgent chocolate crunch with marshmallow singed on top, not to mention the delicate egg sandwich made with local Flaveur bread.

While creativity and presentation are key, Denise goes to considerable effort to source the best local ingredients, from the Solomon Gold’s chocolate in her dense fudge cake to other delicious ingredients like Heilala vanilla, local macadamia nuts, eggs, cheese and many more. The sourcing of ingredients is just one way Denise’s care shines through.

As a child, Denise remembers those times with her kuia, sipping tea from the beautiful cups. She hopes that Good Gracious High Tea will offer people the opportunity to be nostalgic, to remember times past while creating new memories to be treasured.

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