Monday, February 15, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea!

Valentine's Day is always a special day in the tea room with lots of pink, red, and hearts galore. The tables were set with red paper hearts and a rosebud napkin graced the place setting. An assortment of pink teacups completed the scene. The menu and tea list also featured hearts to add to the festive day. Once the guests have made their tea selection and their first cup is poured, the first course is served. The salad featured Spring greens, fresh berries, sugar coated pecans, a dusting of Feta cheese and a glaze of poppyseed dressing.

Following the salad, an array of festive heart shaped sandwiches was served. They included Pimiento Cheese on Pumpernickel, Cheddar, Apple, and Green Apple Chicken salad with a little heart cutout, Sweet Red Pepper with Boursin Cheese, Strawberry Bread Heart with Mascarpone Cheese, Brie and Raspberry Tartlet, and Fruit Cornucopia on Raisin Bread.

The scone course always includes the Traditional English Cream Scone, cutout as a heart for this special tea served alongside a glazed Double Chocolate Scone with fresh fruit garnish and Sweet Cream and Raspberry Curd.

The trio of desserts included a Chocolate Almond Cheesecake, Pecan Tea Cake, and a White Chocolate Mousse filled Chocolate Cup. Yum!

Vintage Valentine candy boxes adorn the shelves in the tea room to add to the festivity. 
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

2020 - A Year in Review

In the beginning of the new year we celebrated with an employee appreciation Afternoon Tea at Emigs Mansion in York County. It was a lovely gathering of family and friends and a delicious variety of food. More details and photos are in this blog post.

Also in January, members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association gathered at the Elden Street Tea Shop in Herndon, VA for one of their quarterly meeting.                                                                   

February featured our annual Valentine's Day teas. We held two this year, one on Valentine's Day and one on the Sunday of Valentine's Day week. Such fun with hearts galore!

In March, at one of our events for the year, we held a
Tea and Honey Pairing in Sweet Remembrances. Everything prepared for the tea featured honey and a tasting in different teas completed the evening.

A few excursions to local tea rooms were on the agenda while Angelica was home for spring break. Susanna, Nancy, and Angelica enjoyed a special outing to Olivia's Tea Room in Camp Hill, in March. While an adventure to Oxford Hall Tea Cafe in New Cumberland included Afternoon Tea and a tea leaf reading session.

Our annual St. Patrick's Day tea was featured in March. Festive, green, and with the luck of the Irish, we celebrated one last tea in Sweet Remembrances, and just like that, restaurants were shut down to indoor dining with Covid on the rise. We had no way of knowing what the rest of the year would look like.

Kids in the Kitchen became a routine. With a college student home and a high schooler too, quarantine provided an opportunity for the kids to learn a few cooking skills. From making lentil joes for dinner to spiced nuts just because and dipping chocolate covered Easter eggs, there was always something going on to keep us all entertained and nourished. Angelica even tried her hand at scone making. With Easter on the horizon, the kids made bunny cakes, and Susanna made lemonade!

Typically our Easter celebration includes family from NY and another sister from Jim Thorpe. This year, with travel restrictions, we were our small family unit of five, but we had all the traditions expected with a delicious Easter morning breakfast to a ham and potato dinner.

May included a Mother's Day Afternoon Tea 'to go'. With the lockdown extending longer than expected, plan B for Mother's Day included Afternoon Tea 'to go'. It was all hands on deck for help preparing a complete Afternoon Tea. It was an adventure, but a lot of Mother's and their families enjoyed a special treat in the safe confines of their own homes. 

June included an Afternoon Tea special for members of the Penn Cumberland Garden Club. Garden tours were coordinated throughout the summer, and the tour held at The Rosemary House offered the opportunity to order an Afternoon Tea Garden Party. Members were able to enjoy the tea in the garden, socially distanced of course, or take their boxed tea home to enjoy.

The local church hosted garden tours in July. It was an opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy nature and fresh air, and gather ideas for decorating the garden.
August featured A Sampling of Spanish Tapas with outdoor dining or indoor dining as an option. With limited seating indoors, we were thankful to have the garden patio to provide additional seating. Angelica presented a program on Spain, bouncing back and forth between the indoor seating and the outdoor dining. It was a lovely and extra special event.

More Afternoon Tea events for the family. First up, a Magical Tea at TranquilaTea Tea room in Waynesboro in early August was a special birthday celebration.

While a journey in the other direction took the family to Elizabethtown for another August birthday tea at Manchester Teas and Tarts.

In late August the family took the university student back to Penn State for their covid semester. The students made it thru the semester, mostly hibernating in their dorm rooms and attending zoom classes.

And in September, the youngest started his senior year of high school, Class of '21. A maroon and steel cake was enjoyed after the first day of school. Our senior was on the winning football team, making the start of the school year pretty exciting.

October included decorating the gardens, and hosting two annual Halloween teas. A journey to Penn State to celebrate Angelica's 21st birthday on a crisp fall day was also on the agenda for October.

We welcomed Debbie Harman of Thyme with Debbie for a fall program in October, Cooking with Herbs of the Mediterranean Region. It was a demonstration that included tasting a nice variety of fresh herbs. Debbie will be returning to the tea room for several classes in 2021, Flat Breads and Spreads in March, Grain Bowls in May. Watch our Calendar of Events for updates for these fabulous classes.

In November we hosted our quadrennial Presidential tea event. This event is held every four years, with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a presidential event. We were pleased to welcome Executive Chef John Moeller, author of Dining at the White House. Chef Moeller served at the pleasure of three presidents, Bush, Clinton, and Bush. He shared many interesting stories of his experiences at the White House.

Early December saw a few traditional holiday themed events in the tea room, but another abrupt shutdown mid-December caused us to move to Plan B and offer a final 'to go' tea for the year since supplies had already been purchased for a weekend of tea parties. The culinary Santa crew offered inspiration for the dessert menu. Here's to 2021! May it be all that you hope for!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

National Hot Tea Month with MATBA

January is National Hot Tea Month! Let's celebrate with members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association. MATBA members have launched their Hot Tea Month Recipe Book and guide project today. Each week, members will be highlighted, their businesses will be introduced to you, and a link to their recipe page will be provided. You can save the recipe page, print from the pdf the members provide and collect all the recipes throughout the month!

Kathleen Rogers of Set to a Tea loves to turn her design & illustrations into products to share with you. MATBA is thrilled to highlight her this month as she has created the cover for the Hot Tea Month Recipe Booklet. Visit her website to download the cover to begin to create your very own personal recipe book provided by members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association.

Betty's Tea Travel is the next member featured. Visit her blog for a recipe for Cherry Almond Scones. Be sure to download and save the recipe to add to your new MATBA recipe book!

Greenhalgh Tea, owned by Karen Donnelly, a certified TAC Tea Sommelier professional She sells loose leaf teas and assorted tea ware. She shared a recipe for Gluten Free Blueberry Cake.

Deborah and Mike Raab of Tea-for-All in NJ share a recipe for English Style Muffins using a Chai concentrate. Tea for All offers a variety of quality teas, accessories, and specialty classes.

Our very own Susanna Reppert of The Rosemary House shares two recipes to add to your growing MATBA recipe booklet, Triple Lemon Tea Bread and the adorable Gingerbread Cookies. Click on each pdf link for a printable page.

Nancy Reppert of Sweet Remembrances Tea Room shares two recipes for the MATBA recipe booklet, Traditional English Cream Scones and Strawberry Tea Bread. The link provides a pdf to print the recipes.

Kathleen Edinger of TeaScapes shares a recipe for her Spirited Break. Enjoy this adult beverage iced or hot, if you prefer.

Nishchal Banskota of Nepal Tea provides a recipe for Golden Milk, Golden Hour Drink which incorporates a wide array of spices including turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, and fresh ginger.

Melissa Fitch Ciccotelli of Tea You There offers her recipe for Eclipse Cookies. You can find her recipe on her Facebook page. She recommends you enjoy these cookies with Earl Grey Tea.

Judith Krall Russo of Tea Food History shares a recipe for a warming winter cocktail, Winter's Apple.

Janet Meyers and Erin Bradley of Tea by Tea, a charming tea room located in MD, posted a recipe for Chocolate Chai Americaine Cookies.

Allison Sommer of Desert Breeze Tea Par-teas (currently in Las Vegas, NV) hosts event planning and catering. She shares this recipe for Moist Lemon Tea Cakes.

Kathy Cody of Calabash Garden Tea Room & Gift Shop in North Carolina suggests making your presentation pretty makes everything better!

Marnie D'Amato of The Garden Tea Room in Conyngham, PA. Marnie creates enchanting tea experiences at her specialty events. She offers a recipe for Apple Brie Bites.

Judy and Bill Larkin, certified Tea Specialists from STI and owners of the Larkin Tea Company, LLC in Martinsburg, WV, are happy to share several soup recipes using tea, including Creamy Green Tea Soup with spinach and chicken.

Kathleen Hippeli, a certified tea sommelier, tea professional and etiquette consultant, and owner of One Steep at a Thyme in NJ, shares her recipe for Spinach Pie.

#hotteamonth #matbamakes #teabiz #tearecipes

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Holiday Afternoon Tea 'To Go'

With a mandate from the Governor, restaurants (tea rooms, too) in PA were officially closed down Dec. 12th through Jan 4th. Having supplies on hand for Afternoon Tea to be served on both Saturday the 12th, and Sunday the 13th, the tea room staff had to transition to Plan B. Everyone with reservations for the weekend was contacted and Afternoon Tea 'to go' was offered for pick up on Sunday. 

The Apple Cranberry Salad featured leafy green lettuce, red and green apples, craisins, sugared pecans, all topped with feta cheese. A small container of cranberry apple dressing was included in the box. The festive holiday doily lined container featured fresh fruit and the sandwiches: Sliced Turkey & Havarti Cheese with Basil Pesto Mayonnaise, Roast Beef with water chestnuts,  onion and mayo on pumpernickel, Olive Pecan Squares, Brie Tarts with Raspberry & Pecans, and a Triangular Ham & Chicken Salad Sandwich with orange curry butter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Scones, prepared and baked fresh in the morning, included traditional English Cream Scones alongside Cinnamon Chip Scones with a small tub of raspberry preserves and sweet cream.

The dessert variety included Peppermint Meltaways, Spice Cake decorated with a holly leaf, Pound Cake with cream cheese frosting and green sprinkles, a petite Chocolate Cup filled with Strawberry chocolate sauce and mascarpone cheese, and a layered Chocolate Coconut Bar. Yumminess! It was a morning full of prepping, baking, packaging, and more packaging. Once everything was in the little to go containers, the Afternoon Tea; placed in a large bag (as shown above), along with a sample of loose leaf tea, was ready to be picked up and enjoyed in the safe confines of home.

One of the tea party 'to go' recipients shared this beautiful photo of their very special tea party set up at home using the holiday china. What a fabulous way to make this holiday Afternoon Tea Party 'to go' extra special. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

It's a Tea Themed Tree!

The table top tea themed Christmas tree has been in place for a few weeks as the tea room is decorated just before Thanksgiving. The little tree is adorned with a myriad collection of miniature themed tea pot ornaments, some collected during vacations in far away places, others received as stocking stuffer gifts through the years, and even more are pieces of tea themed jewelry acquired at gift shops; all with the purpose of sharing our love of tea!
If you look closely, you will see that the tree is stuffed to the gills with miniature treasures. This is my favorite tree! I love setting it up, and I'm saddened when it's time to take it down.
To add to the joyful spirit of the tree ,the small cloth nestled underneath is a piece of teapot themed material with gaily colored teapots, a Mary Engelbreit design. In keeping with the theme, holiday teapots are placed around the base of the tree because they make me smile. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

A very Festive Afternoon Tea

December is a month for holiday teas, although we scheduled fewer events this year, we held our popular annual Holiday Craft and Festivi-Tea this past Sunday. As our guests arrive, they place their order for tea. While they are creating their craft, guided under the tutelage of Susanna, the kitchen crew is busy brewing pot upon pot of tea, ready to pour when the craft is completed. The tea began with a Holiday Coleslaw laden with green cabbage and savoy cabbage, green apples, pecans, craisins, red onion, and a delicate dressing.

Sandwiches included a Cranberry Pecan Triangle. Sliced Turkey with orange marmalade on rye bread, toasted Crostini with Apple and Brie (oh, yum!), Sweet & Savory Pimiento Cheese on Pumpernickel with a thin layer of strawberry jam, Sliced Prosciutto with homemade fig preserves, and a Benedictine Sandwich with cucumber and onion, parsley garnish and a cutout tree topper.

Oven fresh scones featured our Traditional English Cream Scone (always!) and White Chocolate Apricot Scone served with sweet cream, apricot preserves and a portion of fresh fruit including pomegranates.

A dessert medley included Pumpkin Cheese Cake, White Chocolate Shortbread Cookie, and a Chocolate Cup filled with mascarpone cheese and a chocolate raspberry sauce in the bottom of the cup. Fresh raspberries were added to this festive trio of desserts.

The tearoom is decorated for the holiday season with festive touches here and there. Holiday events are scheduled throughout the month, although not as many as past years. Covid decided we needed to limit the number of guests at our teas this year, and although social distancing and mask wearing change the festive atmosphere ever so slightly, the joy among our guests attending the holiday events is still evident.