Friday, May 6, 2016

Afternoon Tea - Gypsy's Tea Room, Westminster, MD

A recent gathering of tea related business owners and members of the Mid Atlantic Tea Business Association (MATBA) was held at Gypsy's Tea Room in Westminster, MD last month. In addition to a welcoming reception and program, those in attendance enjoyed a delightful Afternoon Tea.

Before we were seated, the tables were set in all their finest with iced mint tea and a fresh Strawberry Almond Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette. The salad featured fresh greens, strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese and almonds; a very tasty combination!
The teas that were offered during the Afternoon Tea were specifically selected to be paired with the menu. Options included Pinhead Gunpowder, Darjeeling, Keemun, and Classic Chai. To continue with the theme of our morning session, the Science of Taste, it was suggested we compare the variety of teas with each different menu option to see how they interacted, either complementing the food, or perhaps even overpowering either the tea or the food. All four teas were available on the table to consider how they worked with the menu. 

A warm White Chocolate Scone with jam and cream was offered after the salad.
And following the scone course, the traditional three tiered tray was served. On the bottom tier, the sandwiches included a Traditional Cucumber Sandwich with Chive Butter, Smoked Salmon Canapes with Cream Cheese and Fresh Dill on Pumpernickel, Pork Tenderloin on Baguette with Sweet and Savory Pepper Jelly, and Granny Smith Apples, Cheddar & Chutney on Whole Wheat. An abundance of flavors right there!

The middle tier held a nice assortment of fresh fruit and Lemon Mousse Parfait which was so light and delicate and presented with a fresh edible violet.

And dessert featured Shortbread Cookies and (to die for) Chocolate Truffles.
Special Thanks to Jo Fleck and her daughter Lora Andrews for a delightful and memorable Afternoon Tea. Following tea, the MATBA members held their annual business meeting and concluded the day with the presentation of Goodie Bags.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MATBA - Morning Reception - Gypsy's Tea Room

The Mid Atlantic Tea Business Association recently held their Annual Seminar at Gypsy's Tea Room in Westminster, MD. The seminar typically begins with a Morning Reception. Attendees traveling from MD, NJ, and PA arrive during this time, providing a casual start to the day until everyone arrives. Several varieties of teas are brewed and ready to enjoy along with tea breads and fresh fruit.
The event was hosted by Jo Fleck of Gypsy's Tea Room and her daughter Lora Andrews of Cup Tea Bar & Cafe, also located in Westminster, MD. Lora balances her time and expertise between both locations all the while juggling the responsibilities of motherhood. 
The tea offered in the morning included Lung Ching (green), Ti Quan Yin (oolong) and  Irish Breakfast (black). The teas were specifically selected to complement the tea breads and fruits that were served. Mango Lime Tea Bread, Lemon Thyme Tea Bread, and Lavender Tea Bread rounded out the variety of tea breads. They were enjoyed with Lemon Curd or Honey Butter.

Business Associates representing Tea by Two, Bel Air, MD
 As we sampled the morning breads, fruits, and teas, we were instructed to pay particular attention to the pairing of the teas, noting how the tea and food tasted together, or observing the possibility that the flavor element perhaps disappeared or even clashed with the flavors. All of these observations were to be discussed and reviewed during our featured seminar topic that was presented by Dr. Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace on the Science of Taste.
Tea Merchandise in Gypsy's Tea Room

Monday, May 2, 2016

Summer Wardrobe Addition

 One of our cousins lives in California, and she and her husband recently visited the Japanese American National Museum located in Los Angeles.

And how fortuitous for Nancy, as she's now the recipient of a new tea shirt! Tish spotted this shirt, thought of her, and sent it along as an un-birthday present! Designed by Ken Sasaki of Sasaki Stuff, the design is called the "Tea Maiden". It's presently listed on their gift shop website if you'd like one!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy May Day!

Once the coveted gift of a secret admirer, May baskets seem to have gone out of style. Alas, we live in a harried time and a pretty basket of flowers found on our doorstep would indeed be a surprise. In a less stressful era, weaving tiny baskets and gathering mosses to line them were another sure sign of spring. Forget-me-knots, violets, primroses and pretty little wild flowers nestled in the moss were a sentimental offering. 
Excerpt from Mrs. Reppert's TwelveMonth Herbal, 1996, Remembrance Press

May Day celebrations are held all around the world. One enchanting little tradition involves secretly putting a pretty bouquet of fresh spring flowers on your neighbor's doorknob. If they discover you doing this, they must give you a kiss! What a sweet little tradition! This lovely little nosegay includes smiling pansies, sweet lily-of-the-valley, a petite spring tulip, and lovage greens. This delicate little bouquet is in an embroidered hankie that has been folded and neatly pressed into a cone. A satin ribbon, with two bows is attached to the hankie in order to hang it on the door.
Happy May Day!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Celebrating the 5th Wedding Anniversary!

Has it really been five years since we celebrated the Royal Wedding of Kate and William? Their love continues to blossom, and they capture our hearts with each arrival of the royal blessings.

At Sweet Remembrances, we celebrated the wedding with several gala events. This display of all things wedding which included my vintage Barbie Doll in her wedding gown, was set up in the tea room for a week of royal celebrations.
To begin the festivities for the week, Nancy donned a pearl tiara and served a Ladies in Waiting Tea that featured a diamond and sapphire cookie to resemble the engagement ring.

A Royal Reception was planned for the following evening.

Shown here is the sandwich selection from the Royal Reception that we enjoyed after the wedding. As you can see, gold, crystal, and china were all put into service for such a regal occasion.

Dessert included Will and Kate's favorites - a rich chocolate biscuit cake and a sweet petite raspberry wedding cake.

It has been fun looking back to the celebrations from five years ago!
Here's to the next five! May they be just as happy and blessed with good health, lots of adventure and great joy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Treasures from Friends

Every other month, a group of friends visit Sweet Remembrances for Afternoon Tea. They are a happy lot of work buddies - some are still in the work place, others have since retired - but they gather together to laugh over old times and keep up with friendships forged over the years. During their last visit, they surprised me with an amazing tea themed gift. Nestled in a red cloth box was the most intricate little tea set made using natural bird egg shells.

The set, from Mexico, included a petite tea pot crafted with the whole egg, a sugar and creamer also made with the whole egg, and six amazingly delicate little tea cups using half shells that are nestled in small brass fittings to resemble a tea cup. This is the most unique tea set I've ever seen! And it came with a glass display box.
Cleverly artistic sister Marj, arranged the tea set in the glass box and tucked geodes, thin pieces of sliced rock, and feathers to compliment the set. What a beautiful treasure to display in the tea room. Thank you so much to fellow tea fanatics that simply knew I would adore this special tea set!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Planting Herbs Article from the Archives.

 This flashback features an April 25,1975 article on planting herbs that appeared in our local Carlisle publication, The Evening Sentinel. Bertha Reppert, the founder of The Rosemary House, discusses different herbs to consider for spring and summer planting. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy Birthday to the Queen!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday today in Windsor, England, no doubt with pomp and circumstance coupled with glorious pageantry as only the British can do. Celebrations have been ongoing all week. This little collection of English treasures are tucked high on a shelf in Sweet Remembrances Tea Room.
 The tin on the left, with a portrait of a stately young Queen was sold as a souvenir of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II which took place on the 2nd day of June, 1953. Originally it held flavoured Toffees. The small Royal Albert bone china dish was another commemorative piece for the Coronation. With a nod to the Queen Mother, the smaller teapot shaped caddie marks the 100th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. 

This beautiful Foley Bone China teacup and saucer was made in England and is another tribute to the 1953 Coronation of the Queen. It features the Royal Cypher, or monogram of Elizabeth II Regina.

And this beautiful teacup and saucer is part of The Royal Collection and was crafted to commemorate the 80th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Collection Trust Shop has created a teacup and saucer in addition to other official commemorative chinaware in celebration of this milestone 90th birthday.
This collection of stamps shows the progression of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II over the years.

On the occasion of her 21st birthday she promised "my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service".  A promise she continues to steadfastly keep.

Long Live the Queen!
Long May she Reign!
and, Happy 90th Birthday!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tea Pots Galore!

We have a nice selection of tea pots and tea time treasures available in the shop!

 Looking for a special gift? The Rosemary House is your place!

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Farewell to Downton Abbey Tea

With the silver polished, the tables set and the aprons starched, the scene was set for our final series of Downton Abbey teas held this past week. Life will go on, but we enjoyed stepping back in time to an era of elegance and sophistication.
Angelica poured loose leaf tea from the silver teapots. An assortment of teas were brewed and served throughout the day. Windsor Castle, Blue Lady, French Caramel Creme Brulee, and Decaffeinated Orange Spice were just a few of the assorted teas. With a chill in the springtime air, it was perfect sipping weather.

 A bowl of Spiced Pecans was on each table for nibbling as all the guests arrived to this sold-out special event.

The first course featured a Salad that include Feta cheese, fresh pears, pecans and Parmesan cheese with a Balsamic Vinaigrette Drizzle.

After the salad, guests were served Spinach Artichoke Crostini toasty warm from the oven. A second appetizer featured Apple and Blue Cheese Bundles, also freshly baked and served warm.

 A plate of sandwiches was served to each table. The sandwich course included Chicken Bombay Sandwich on Raisin Bread, Seasonal Asparagus with Egg Yolk Butter, a Cucumber Sandwich with Herbed Mascarpone Cheese and a Carrot-Ginger Round on Multigrain Bread.

Scones, always baked fresh and served warm, included Traditional English Cream Scone and an English Countryside Cranberry Scone. They were served with Sweet Cream and Old English Marmalade alongside fresh Orange Slices and Pistachio and Mascarpone Topped Strawberries.

Dessert included Lavender Shortbread Florettes, Petite Chocolate Cheesecake, and Coconut and Lemon Curd topped Cake.                                                                                                                                                                                             The printed menu featured quotes from the show. We loved this one from Lady Edith Crawley, "It feels so wild. To be out with a man, drinking and dining in a smart London restaurant." And, from Lady Mary, "People grow up and move away and things change."

Did you get a chance to see the full section special advertising supplement that appeared in the Sunday New York Times the week before Downton Abbey aired in January. Thanks to Brother-in-Law Philip for saving his copy, we were happy to be able to pass this around during our tea. It featured a review of all the characters and an update on all the past seasons. 
And, a letter of thanks and gratitude from Julian Fellowes, the Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of Downton Abbey, leaves us with the possibility of a movie, a stage play or a musical. Any one of those would certainly be fun! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tea with Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar

Rosemary Gladstar recently traveled to The Rosemary House to present an herbal seminar that included sessions about Backyard Medicine: Weeds of Wonder and Herbs for Natural Energy & Vitality. Prior to the seminar, Susan Kiskis, author, yogini, speaker & whole health guide interviewed Rosemary for an article in her online magazine, Freedom Journal. Susan has graciously granted permission to share the article with our readers. Thank you, Susan! And an extra special Thank you, Rosemary for the outstanding presentation.

Tea with Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar
by Susan Kiskis, April 3, 2016
Known as the “Godmother of American Herbalism,” Gladstar sat down for a cup of lemon balm and chamomile tea blended by The Rosemary House & Gardens owner, Susanna Reppert-Brill. Wearing her trademark moon pendent necklace, dressed in purple, her warmth reflects a nurturing instinct. Despite the late hour, and a delayed flight into Harrisburg, the Vermont resident spoke enthusiastically about her lifelong commitment to herbal medicine.

“Everything evolved from my love and passion of plants,” she says about her extensive mark on the herbal world.

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Sonoma County, California, Gladstar was heavily influenced by her maternal Armenian grandmother, Mary.

“When my grandmother would weed, she would be weeding and putting these plants into her basket and she would be telling us, you know, how these plants were used and then she would cook them up into food.”

Mary and her grandfather met on the death march in Armenia. She told the young Rosemary, God and plants saved her life.

Her passion for plants was further cultivated by her family's faith. Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Gladstar was drawn to books from authors from her faith, one of them being Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss. The groundbreaking book on healing herbs, published in 1939, along with church co-founder Ellen Gould White, who also wrote about herbal and natural healing, helped to shape Gladstar's growing passion. That influence supported her decision at the age of 13 to become a vegetarian, a path she still follows today.

After years of backpacking and living in the backwoods of the U.S. and Canada, Gladstar eventually settled back in California where, due to the lack of herbal access, founded Rosemary's Garden, a retail herbal store in 1972. As customers lined up, the interest in knowing herbs more intimately also blossomed. She started teaching small groups, eventually forming one of the oldest, and still surviving herbal school in the U.S., California School of Herbal Studies, in 1978.

Following in the footsteps of Kloss and White, Gladstar authored 12 books on herbal healing and co-authored an additional one. From the classic, Herbal Healing for Women to the more current, Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use, Gladstar has influenced a generation of herbal enthusiasts. Despite her ambitious career she says, she is modest about her legacy.

“I just serve the need.”

Gladstar never set goals to become an author or entrepreneur, yet life enfolded before her. In 1974, Gladstar and environmentalist Drake Sadler, founded Traditional Medicinals. The company today, no longer run by Gladstar, still ranks their top product sales with her original 13 blends. From "Smooth Move" to "Gypsy Cold Care," Gladstar still cares for those who don't know her name, but understands the connection of herbal remedies to a healthy lifestyle.

In 1991, she co-founded the Northeast Herb Association and just a few years later, Gladstar founded, United Plant Savers, a non-profit that serves to protect native medicinal plants in North America and their habitats.

Looking at her 44 year career, an outsider would conclude she is a chronic entrepreneur, an author and advocate. However, just skimming through the foundation of each project, you can easily see how herbalism seeded the genesis of each one.

“I've never looked at it from that perspective,” says Gladstar. “I've always looked at it as I'm an herbalist and all of those things, out of being an herbalist, that naturally grew. I was just an herbalist and there was a need for it.”

Today, Gladstar lives on a 500 acre botanical preserve and farm in Vermont where she runs Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center. The 67 year old still travels offering workshops to want-to-be herbalists and garners tens of thousands of views on YouTube with her herbal how-to videos.

For more information on Gladstar's retreat center, programs and travel journeys, visit

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Apartment - Wish List!

Intern Molly Sams  is moving into her first post-college home. As a guest blogger today, she shares her apartment wish list. It is a great gift giving list for any twenty-something on your list.

1. The Best-Selling Roastmary has to be #1 on the list.
I have started using Roastmary here and there and quickly fell in love. As many of you know, this spice blend is perfect for any meat, veggies, and is even tasty in sauces and pasta. I personally use it in dipping sauce most regularly. It has enough kick that it's delicious with crusty, warm bread. I know I cannot have my first kitchen without it.

While we all have Pinterest, the recipes, plans, and crafts in all the scrapbooks will be unique to the fudge-filled cake or DIY crème brulee we’ve all seen online. There are hundreds of wonderful light and hearty recipes within the scrapbook pages and will help me bring herbie goodness into every facet of my home.
3. Pot Herbs

Pot herbs will be perfect for the soups and stews that I plan on making so I have lunches and dinners made ahead of time. To make sure they do not get too blasé, pot herbs will add some much needed spice and will hopefully inspire me to become more daring in my culinary experimentation.
      4. African Market Baskets (for Central Market)
   I only live a few blocks away from a phenomenal farmer’s market in Lancaster. It has everything from fresh produce to locally butchered meat. I cannot wait to buy all the goodies at market to try out new recipes and dishes. Because I’m sure I will want more than a few radishes here and a jug of milk there I want to get a few market baskets that will help me bring all the deliciousness
      home. The market baskets are super sturdy and easy to carry since they have leather handles.

I only have carpeting in the upstairs bedrooms but I want to make sure when I move in that I start with a fresh slate. The house we rent was built before the 1970s and I’m sure the floors can talk. So to give them new life I’m going to vacuum them with carpet stuff (lavender, of course) so they stay fresh even after move in day.

6.   Blue Lady and French Caramel Flavored Teas

I fell in love with the French Caramel black tea from just the scent of it before I ever tasted it. It is a great tea to mix with as it is a good base tea that does not overpower the other flavors and it, of course, smells amazing. Blue lady is a nice delicate black tea that I love and cannot wait to wake up to a tea of that on Saturday and Sunday mornings as opposed to my regular black coffee.

7.  Garlic and Chive Brew Bread

The brew breads are really simple to make and perfect for when my house warming party or when I need fresh bread to go with my perfectly seasoned stew for lunch. I unfortunately have a serious addiction to bread but I think if I can convert my taste buds to Garlic and Chive Brew Bread I think I can cut down on my bread intake and enjoy the slices I create even more.

     8. Potpourri

I’ve noticed that potpourri has been making a bit of a comeback in the herb world. Luckily for me, The Rosemary House has some adorable mixes full of color and scent that I know will be the envy of many of my friends. Now if I can just find a good basket to put it in…

     9. Spices (all of them!)
Along with the pot herbs and brew bread I cannot wait to try my hand at spicing my own dishes. I have worked with my mother at The Essential Herbal Magazine along with Susanna and I have seen what amazing meals you can create with spices. While I’m sure I’ll end up running through Susanna’s spice drawers like some sort of spice hoarding troll I cannot wait to work with Ceylon cinnamon and turmeric.

    10. Plants (all the plants! For the container garden)

Speaking of a hoarding troll, this will be the first garden that is just mine and I am so excited to put a bunch of herbs all around my little plot of land. Unfortunately I am not allowed to plant in the yard but it does mean I can hew my container garden skills (or complete lack thereof). With plenty of lavender, rosemary, parsley and whatever else I can get my hands on I am excited to begin my own herbal collection.