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Party Food

While a mystery party can be set anywhere, even in space, I’m partial to the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--Edinburgh. Setting a party in a faraway place with a castle, cobblestone streets, and old buildings adds drama.


In Edinburgh such a party for children might be near “tea time.” The kind of food served at “tea” is not set in stone and may be changing. In the posh hotels, it can be a selection of baked “lovelies,” small sandwiches, and of course, tea.


You might offer something like it to your young mystery party guests. I like this idea a lot. Cake and ice cream, while yummy, are sugar-high. Serving a selection of  “tea-sized, tasty” sandwiches and some fruit along with cake and maybe some cookies make it more of a meal.

Menu Suggestions

Tea Sandwiches:

  • Cheese Toasties (Grilled cheese)

  • Cheese-and-Ham Toasties

  • Ham (thinly sliced) and mustard

  • Cream cheese and apricot conserve (jam)

  • Egg Mayonnaise (Egg salad) with green onions and cress    

  • Nutella® with Tangerine Topknots


  • Slices of Apple

  • Small bunches of grapes

  • Strawberries

  • Orange wheels


  • Hot cocoa

  • Lemonade (if your party’s in the summer or early fall)

Helpful hint: I wouldn't offer tea as the drink. I've done a kids' party with it. The kids cut a wide swath around it.


  • Assorted Biscuits (Cookies)

  • Mystery Cupcakes

Mystery cupcakes are great fun for this kind of party. (If you’re doing a birthday party, group the baked and frosted cupcakes together and put a candle in each.) These cupcakes are simple to make using a package mix. The surprise is that each cupcake contains an unwrapped chocolate kiss. (Just the thing for a mystery party, don’t you think?)

Directions: Fill each cup in the tin with 2 tablespoons of batter. Put an unwrapped kiss into each cup and fill the rest of the cup with batter so that it covers the kiss to its tip. Bake according to directions on the box. Frost as you like. (Swirling chocolate sauce into white frosting was a hit at our house. Sprinkles would be fun too.)

The parents of your young guests will love you. The kids will have had sweets and nutritious food at your party and so they will not need a full dinner when they return home.

Here are some suggestions for such a party adapted for kids and for an American palate.

Mystery Cupcakes


For cookies (known as biscuits in Scotland) you might serve shortbreads and/or my favorite McVittie’s Hobnobs (The ones with the chocolate, of course). They are available through Amazon.   

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