Hye Tea Social – a 10-year tradition at St. Leon Armenian Church, NJ

My sister, Dawn, and brother-in-law, Ara, visited us in
Florida last week. They brought several gifts as a way to thank us for
our hospitality –
specialty chocolates, 2 dozen of our favorite chorags, made by the women at St. Leon
Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, NJ,  and a copy of their Women’s Guild ‘Hye Tea
Social’ – 10
th Anniversary recipe booklet created by Barbara Hovsepian, a long-time family friend. We couldn’t have been more
pleased with these gifts – and, of course, their company.

The Women’s Guild at St. Leon has a large, incredibly active,
membership which organizes exciting functions throughout the year.

For the past ten years the Guild has hosted a popular event
generally held in the month of May called ‘Hye-Tea Social’. For their first Tea,
each member was asked to bring their own favorite tea cup. Each year after that
another item was requested – ‘hat, gloves, parasol, fan, nosegay, brooch,
pearls, and shawl’. This year’s request was to ‘wear your Hye-Tea best!’ My
sister reported that most came all decked-out for this festive occasion.

Besides dressing to impress, the bite-sized refreshment
assortment really takes center-stage. There is a dedicated committee which
plans and prepares countless recipes to serve the eager guests. The Hye-Tea
fare includes ‘traditional English tea items as well as some Armenian dishes’.
This year’s booklet contains many of the recipes they have served
over the past ten years, and I understand the social attracted over 200 women
(members with their mothers, daughters, and granddaughters). Very impressive!

The Hye-Tea is all about the eye-appealing food, assorted
teas, fun entertainment, and lively comradery. The menu varies from
year-to-year, but favorite bites make it onto the menu year-after-year.

Here are a few of the recipes that are easy to prepare and can be served for any occasion …

Zhazhig and Crackers (Cheese Ball)


4 oz. softened cream cheese

8 oz. softened Farmer’s cheese

½ cup sweet onion, finely chopped

2 stalks inner celery ribs, finely chopped

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

Salt to taste


Mix the ingredients together until well-combined. Spread on
crackers or 3-inch lengths of celery stalks.

: Basturma and Egg Salad (Makes 24)


6 hard-cooked eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper, to taste

12 slices of basturma, cut into short slivers

24 mini pitas


Peel and chop the eggs. Add the mayonnaise, salt and pepper;
mix to combine.

Cut a small slice off the edge of each mini pita. Gently
open and stuff with some egg salad. Gently push in some of the basturma
slivers, leaving a little of the basturma exposed at the opening.

Butter Balls (Yields 4 to 5 dozen)


1 cup butter, softened

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. almond extract

2 cups sifted flour

1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

Powdered sugar – enough to coat butter balls


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix butter with sugar until creamy. Add salt, extract and
flour; mix without over-mixing. Add nuts and mix lightly.

Place dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie
sheet. Bake until light brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on rack.
Shake powdered sugar over the cooled cookies.

View Comments

  • That's interesting about the Zhazhig/Jajig. Although I often eat it ON celery, I've never seen it made WITH celery. I almost made a batch just this past Wed because I was at one of the few local grocery stores that sells the Farmer's Cheese, but I knew I'd eat it all! ;)

Recent Posts

Easter Menu Planning? Look no further!

  I don’t know about you, but in our family, we’re all about tradition when…

3 months ago

St. Sarkis Day and 3 celebratory recipes

It’s that time of year again! St. Sarkis Day, the moveable feast day on the…

5 months ago

A Traditional Recipe for Armenian Christmas Eve – Nevik

Way back in 2010 Ara Kassabian shared his family’s recipe for Nevik with The Armenian…

6 months ago

Thanksgiving Recipes Revisited

With Thanksgiving Day just hours away, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite,…

7 months ago

George Mardikian’s Chicken Tchakhokhbelli recipe, dish favored by Georgian princes.

My family and I had the distinct honor of meeting George Mardikian at his restaurant,…

12 months ago

Antonio Tahhan and his recipe for Kbeibat, Middle Eastern dumplings

My first encounter with Antonio (Tony) Tahhan, the Syrian-American food writer, researcher, and storyteller, spans…

12 months ago

This website uses cookies. find out more.