Saturday, January 8, 2022

National Hot Tea Month - January

We enjoy tea all year long, but we are quite happy to acknowledge and celebrate National Hot Tea Month in January. The bone chilling month of January is quite appropriate to be featured as hot tea month. 
Have you heard the old Chinese adage that muses that three cups of tea a day keeps the druggist away. Have you had your three cups today?

Tisane, or "herb tea," is not a true tea from the Camellia sinensis plant, but rather a blend of various herbs, flowers, or spices. Herbal teas have long been enjoyed for their healing and rejuvenating qualities. Ginger is said to be calming for digestive discomfort.
The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement." -Arthur Gray

"Come along inside. . . we'll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place." 
- The Wind in the Willows

"Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world." - Tien Yuheng
"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea."
-Reverend Sydney Smith

"If you are cold, tea will warm you; If you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you."  -William Gladstone
Happy National Hot Tea Month!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A Year in Review - 2021 - Happy New Year!

January is a cold month in Pennsylvania, with off and on snow, but the Camellia sinensis tea plant in the garden grows strong and tall through it all. January is also the planning month where Susanna and Nancy outline the next special events and activities for the new year.

February, the month where we highlight Valentine's Day, and showcase roses and chocolate and everything pink and red throughout the tea room. 

While March is of course for St. Patrick's Day and the luck of the Irish. This year we also included a program by Debbie Hartman of Thyme with Debbie featuring Flatbreads and Spreads. We will be contacting Debbie to see what she will offer in the new year. We enjoy her easygoing teaching style, her demonstration of special techniques, and of course the tasting of her delicious creations.

April marks the beginning of the growing season and a wide variety of herb plants line the porch waiting to be transported and transplanted to their new homes. It's always an exciting time when the plants arrive! In April, Susanna teaches a class on Herb Gardening, and there was a class on Springtime Tonics. Both educational and informative!

May Day is fun, secretly posting a basket of posies on the neighbor's door, waiting for them to be surprised with the colorful bouquet. Of course, Mother's Day Tea is another highlight for May. May is always a busy month as we celebrate National Herb Week. Parsley was the herb of the year for 2021. We are looking forward to celebrating the Viola, Violets, Pansy, and Pansies, the herb of the year for 2022.
We honor the Queen in June with our annual Queen's Tea celebrating her birthday, even though her true birthday is in April, the Queen deserves to celebrate twice! Weed walks, Making Herbal Medicine, and Growing a Healing Herb Garden were a few of the classes Susanna held during the busy month of June.

July was a family road trip to New England where we visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden and discovered the giant trolls, the keepers of the seeds constructed throughout the garden. Such fun! Trivia Night was popular in the tea room as an evening activity along with our Taking Tea and Tarot Reading.

August included a day trip to the Magic Garden in Philadelphia. Love the creativity found at this unique location on South Street. We're always on the lookout for sources of inspiration!

September is our festival month, first we celebrate the fairies, elves, wizards, and trolls that hide about the grounds. This is such fun, and you're invited to frolic with the fairies on September 10th and 11th, 2022. Check out the website closer to the date for a current list of activities.

The end of September we are the host site for the PA Tea Festival where all things tea are shared, from tea tastings to demonstrations, lectures, and small sessions, the world of tea offers much to discover. In 2022, we hope to see you Friday, Sept. 23rd and/or Saturday, Sept. 24th. Our tea festival website will keep you updates.

Halloween Teas are the theme in October. Spooky, and hauntingly delightful tea time treats are created for these special events. Of course, the gardens are decorated for the season, too.

The end of November is the beginning of the holiday tea time season with our annual holiday teas that kick off the day after Thanksgiving. Holiday tea cups, teapot napkin rings, and all things red and green make the tea room joyful and delightful until the end of the year.
December is a month of holiday teas in Sweet Remembrances, and plenty of shopping in the Rosemary House. At the end of the month, family and friends celebrated at a candlelight tea catered by Faith. Here's to a year of fabulous memories, and to another year of herbs and teas.
Thank you for all of our customers, friends really, that join in our activities at the tea room and in the gift shop. You inspire us to create more special events and 2022 promises to be a year full of unique opportunities! Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 Grand Finale Celebration

Earlier this month, we celebrated 2021 with a Grand Finale Afternoon Tea. Holiday reds and greens completed the table scapes. A festive menu announced what was to come. There was definitely a festive holiday spirit throughout the tea room. 
The event began with an Amuse Bouche, or as it translates from the French, 'to amuse the mouth', a precursor to the meal, something to get your juices flowing. It included two small Artichoke Truffles (thank you ME for sharing the recipe), coupled with a Parmesan Crisp, fresh parmesan cheese shavings, and a balsamic drizzle all graced with a fresh sprig of thyme.
The First Course featured a chilled Avocado Soup topped with freshly snipped chives and a burnet leaf.
The Second Course was a fresh Pear and Pecan Salad with Parmesan Balsamic Dressing. It included spring onions and fresh basil in the dressing, and was topped with Parmesan cheese and sugared pecans.
The Third Course was a nod to Afternoon Tea Time Treats and boasted a Greek Feta, Cucumber & Olive Toast, a miniature Turkey and Cranberry Filling in Petite Fillo Cup, a Puff Pastry Holly Leaf with Basil Pesto and Feta Filling, and a Poppyseed Chicken Salad in a Fillo Cup.
The Fourth Course was a refreshing interlude which included a Double Berry Wine Cooler.
The Fifth Course were warm Savories and featured Cranberry glazed Meatballs, Hot Cheddar Mushroom Spread and Crackers in a small serving spoon, Almond Bacon Cheese Crostini, and Chicken Almond Canape garnished with a fresh sprig of Rosemary (for Remembrance). 
The Sixth Course was our Traditional English Cream Scone with Sweet Cream and Lemon Curd served alongside a skewer of Red and Green Grapes.
The Seventh Course held a trio of sweet delights including a Merri-mint Trifle, Snowball Cookie, and a Crème Brule Truffle.
The Eighth Course was a round of liqueur served in milk chocolate or dark chocolate shot glasses. We offered an Orange Cream liqueur or Susanna's Spiced Apple Brandy liqueur. Milk was also an option. Families and friends created special memories at this Grand Finale end-of-the year celebration.
And throughout the afternoon, elegant harp music plucked by award winning harpist Mary-Kate Spring Lee of Seasons filled the air.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Annual Holiday Workshop & Afternoon Tea

There are certain annual traditions held in the tea room, and the Holiday Workshop and Afternoon Tea would be one of those special events that occurs in early December. This year our guests created a festive holiday gnome made using a pinecone (sprayed white on one side for the 'beard') with a felt hat and fuzzy nose. The 'demonstration' gnome has found his new home in one of the tea room Christmas trees. As guests arrive, tea orders are placed before beginning the craft. After the craft is complete, all supplies are whisked away, the tables are quickly set, tea cups are filled and the afternoon tea begins. 

The first course featured a Pear and Pecan Salad with white cheddar cheese, red onions, fresh pears, and sugared pecans all dressed with a Maple Dijon dressing
The sandwich array included an Apple, Cranberry, Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich on white bread, a Hot Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese Crostini topped with fresh parsley, a triangular Turkey, Provolone & Avocado Sandwich, Marinated Greek Veggie Medley in a Phyllo Cup, and Basil Pesto filled Puff Pastry Holly Leaves.

Scones for the day included our Traditional English Cream Scone and a triangular Cranberry Pecan Scone served with Sweet Cream and Raspberry Preserves alongside fresh fruit.

And the dessert medley concluded the day with creamy Pumpkin Mousse in a Chocolate Cup, Cranberry Bliss cake, and a White chocolate Peppermint Cookie. This joyful afternoon of crafting, friendship, tea, sweets and savories has become a holiday tradition for many. Afterwards, a quick stop next door at The Rosemary House offers some aroma therapy and the opportunity for some Christmas shopping, too.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sweet Remembrances Annual Holiday Tea - 2021

 The tea room is decorated a week before Thanksgiving in preparation for the holiday celebrations that begin the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tea pot tree is in its place, the holiday china pulled from storage, and seasonal music is in the air. Always a popular way to entertain out of town guests, or simply an opportunity to get 'into the spirit', these holiday teas have been a tradition for well over thirty years! 

Once our guests are seated, individual pots of tea with their selected flavor are served. Once everyone has their tea, a fresh green salad topped with red and green apples, Parmesan Cheese, sugared pecans and sweet craisins, dressed with a homemade cranberry dressing is served.

The sandwich array is presented next. This holiday it featured an Apple Sandwich with Cinnamon Honey Butter on Raising Bread. The tip of the sandwich was covered with pecans. There was a Pimiento Cheese Sandwich topped with petite garlic sweet pickles. A warm and savory Rolled Asparagus Sandwich with blue cheese filling graced the plate while a Cranberry Pistachio Chicken Salad Sandwich was served on white bread. A Puff Pastry sandwich with Goat Cheese and assorted vegetables completed the plate of sandwiches. 

The featured scones included our customary Traditional English cream Scone served alongside a Cranberry Orange Pecan Scone. Sweet Cream, Orange Marmalade and Fresh Fruit completed the plate.

The dessert medley included a Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Rosette frosting, a Snickerdoodle cookie with cinnamon chips in the cookie, and a yummy Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream Topping. That one seemed to be the favorite. A special thank you to all of our guests that attended the first holiday teas of the 2021 season.
Santa-themed trinkets in the hallway include a jolly old tea-for-one pot that I'm sure Santa would just love. The little stitchery in the frame was worked by a family friend and says 'Santa's Pot of Tea'. Lots of little treasures can be found throughout the tea room that add to the festivity. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Tea by Two, Bel Air, MD

After a long year plus of Zoom sessions, members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association (MATBA) gathered together in person at fellow tea business Tea by Two in Bel Air, MD for their quarterly meeting in October. The day begins with a morning welcoming session as members traveled from NJ, PA, and MD to attend this special gathering. Assorted flavors of tea seated upon warming pots greeted the members. There was also a mini breakfast buffet with an egg casserole, fresh fruit, and jumbo sweet muffins.  

Since this took place in October, the tea room décor was set for the fall season. Owners Janet and Erin have been active members of the tea association since it was first created in 2005. Their welcoming hospitality was a good place to enjoy our first official in-person gathering. After an informative program, we gathered in the gift shop as the tables were being set for tea.  

Individual teapots offered members a chance to select their personal favorite tea among a wide selection of choices. Once the tables were set, members seated, and the first cup of tea was poured, the tea service began. There is a Pai Mu Tan white tea in the coordinated white tea pot.
Thick and warm Butternut Squash soup was the first course. A perfect selection for this fall afternoon. After the soup, the three tiered tray laden with a wide variety of seasonal tea time treats was presented to each table.
Scones, Sandwiches, and Desserts rounded out the tier.

The Tea Sandwiches, served on the middle tier, included a Cucumber Sandwich, Roast Beef, Carrot & Cheddar on pumpernickel rye bread, and Pumpkin & Apple Sandwich. All very fresh and tasty.

A warm Cranberry Scone served with lemon curd and sweet cream was on the bottom tier.

The top tier held a delectable array of desserts, their 'happy ending' that included Pumpkin Spice Muffin, an Autumn Sugar Cookie, and an Almond Toffee Bar. All delicious.

MATBA President, Debbie Raab of Tea-For-All in Trenton, NJ, presided over the business portion of the gathering. Tea-for-All will be the destination for our next in-person meeting in April 2022. Our membership consists of tea business entrepreneurs, tea room owner, tea bloggers, and tea educators, within a 7 state region, including NY, NJ, MD, PA, DE, WV, VA and DC. We also have out-of-region membership opportunities, and we offer Zoom meetings for those unable to attend. Fellow member and tea mentor Jennifer Petersen of Tea Trade Mart joined the meeting via Zoom from Vancouver, WA.

Shopping and socializing in the gift shop before and again after the meeting. It was a good opportunity to be gathered with fellow tea business enthusiasts for the afternoon. Special thanks to Erin and Janet for hosting our first in-person gathering. 

Looking for a clever way to display teacups that no longer have their saucers? Here's a unique idea that you might consider.