Thursday, July 24, 2014

Balancing Tea Trays!

Our Afternoon Tea visit to the Inn on Biltmore was the first time young Arielle and Gracie have attended a 'real' tea. They have had tea parties at their home, and of course, here in Mechanicsburg when they visit at the holidays. But this was extra special. Every time the waitress would enter the Library Lounge, Arielle's eyes would get bigger, and she would announce that something else was coming to our table.
When I turned around and saw the waitress carrying three heavily laden three-tiered tea trays plus the stand, I couldn't believe it! In one fell swoop, she opened up the stand, and gracefully placed the tray full of tea trays on the stand. Oh my!

This is not something that will take place in Sweet Remembrances! I can barely carry one tea tray out let alone balance three above my shoulder. Oh, no!  
 Kudos to our waitress! and Kudos to the Pastry Chef for a delightful Afternoon Tea!
And Love and Hugs to Arielle and Gracie, thank you for joining us for tea!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Afternoon Tea - Inn at Biltmore, NC

With seating in the Library Lounge, elegant Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2:30 - 4:30 at the Inn at Biltmore, Asheville, NC.

Cream, Sugar, and Honey
 The first course, the Amuse Bouche, is comprised of one or two bites and is intended to tickle the senses and start the tea experience. A petite pie crust filled with an apple butter cream filling, it served the purpose.
The Family at Tea Time

Look at the joy on Arielle's face as she is presented her special children's afternoon tea plate consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheese sandwiches topped with a beautiful assortment of fresh fruit. Younger sister Gracie announced, 'these are the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I have ever had'.

Individual plates featured the Delicate & Savory Bites: Deviled Quail Egg with Radish, Lemon Goat Cheese with Caper & Dill, Duck Confit, Blueberry Jam, & Truffled Shallot Spread, Malt Candied Pork Belly Strawberry, Mint, & Yuzu, Smoked Salmon Rillettes, Cucumber with Crab & Scallion, and Caramelized Brie, Poached Apricot, & Candied Thyme.

Vegetarian Option of Delicate & Savory Bites
Cedar with his special ham & cheese sandwich.

The Chef's daily selection of seasonal cheeses with honey, fruit, and crackers were served next.
The three tiered tea tray featured orange scones on the bottom tier, sweet pound cake in the middle, and pastries of the day on the top tier.

Scones, with Devonshire cream, jam, and lemon curd.

Truffle, Lemon Curd Tart, Chestnut Macaron, Coconut Cake

Finger Licking Good! (Apologies to Emily Post and Miss Manners.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Selecting Tea - Sniffing Tea

We enjoyed Afternoon Tea at the Inn at Biltmore in Asheville, NC. We were seated in the library where they serve tea daily from 2:30 - 4:30. Once seated, this beautiful chest of loose leaf teas is awaiting your decision. They provide a small portion of each  tea in clear containers with a complete description on the lid.

Mighty Leaf teas are served at the Inn at Biltmore. The nice selection includes 4 herbal infusions, a white tea, a green tea, and three black teas. We all sniffed our way thru the varieties until we were satisfied with our choices.

Once the tea arrived, the process of filling each tea cup began. Individual pots, and individual silver plated strainers to catch the tea leaves, required complete concentration.

May I pour you some cream?

 Everyone was happy with their tea flavors!

Although these young ladies have enjoyed afternoon tea with their mother, their grandmother, and their aunts on many occasions, this was their first 'real' grownup tea as a family outing. We'll share the menu tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Biltmore House & Gardens, NC

A visit to North Carolina isn't complete without a tour of the impressive Biltmore estate, America's largest home and acres of historic gardens located in Asheville. This fabulous destination was created in 1895 by George W. Vanderbilt as an escape from everyday life for family and friends.
Interior photography is not allowed, but know that their is grandeur spilling forth in every room. Your tour includes access to three floors, including the basement where the domestic staff kept the house functioning in perfect rhythm. The indoor pool, also in the basement, was quite impressive.

The gardens feature an Italian garden, a Shrub garden, walled gardens, and a rose and azalea garden. Simply beautiful

A quick visit to the farm, offered a peek into the earlier days of the Biltmore era where families lived on the estate raising livestock, tending crops and working on the dairy. Today we visited the farmyard where they have a wide variety of free range chickens and goats.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grandfather Mountain, NC

A family vacation took us to North Carolina recently where we visited with the younger generation. Eldest sister Carrie and husband Phil joined us as we journeyed to their daughters home. A day excursion from her home included a visit to Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC.

We arrived in time to observe 'enticement' time for the bears. This activity is meant to break up the day for the animals, and may include a variety of different activities, such as offering a board with an unusual scent for them to sniff out and enjoy, or tossing cake crumbs into different areas of their housing so they are encouraged to pursue the pieces of cake. When we arrived, as the crowd gathered, the bears seemed to know it was time for a special treat. 

In addition to an informative nature center  and gift shop, a wide variety of ranger activities and trails, there is a mile high swinging bridge that offers majestic views of the mountain. The bridge swings freely, but the movement isn't noticeable unless you stand still.

Once you are on the other side of the bridge, you can climb further along the rocks and crevices until you are on top of the world. Cautious older cousin Cedar protected his younger cousins as they made the trek to the highest peak.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Culinary Herbal Planter

 A week or so ago we had a workshop to create your own culinary herbal window box. The participants could choose from  Dwarf Sage, Basil, Parsley, Burnet (which tastes like cucumbers), Curry plant (which isn't where curry comes from but smells/tastes like curry), Par-Cel (looks like parsley and tastes like Celery), Rosemary, Thyme and many others.
First we put in coffee filters so the soil doesn't wash out through the drainage holes.  Good drainage is a must with herbs.  Then we filled the box part way with organic soil/compost mix.  Next we tucked in 4-5 herbs and a cheerful pansy for some color.  
When they get home they are instructed to put the planter in full sun (5-6 hours of sun) and water daily.  It is also extremely important to clip and use frequently!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wild Foods

Rick Hueston of Primitive Café recently spent some time in our gardens introducing us to backyard wild foods.
He brought a variety of his favorite Foraging Field Guides.
And a delicious sampling of  a wide variety of goodies for us to try including pickled milkweed capers, cornelius cherries, Hemlock Wine and Wild Cherry Mead, Sow Thistle with pine nuts and yellow peppers,  Wild garlic mustard and dandelion pesto.
If you are interested in learning more about wild foods Rick Hueston keeps an active and interesting facebook page called Primitive Café.
Rick believes wild food needs to be 2T - Tantalizing on the plate and Tempting to the taste buds.