Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Halloween Tea

Many of our guests at our recent series of Halloween Teas arrived dressed in the playful spirit of the season. It's always fun to see how creative they are.

Once everyone is seated, the Afternoon Tea begins. A Witches Brew of Butternut Squash and Apple soup accompanied by a Witchy Breadstick was the first course. Dried rosemary leaves are used to create the hairy knuckles and a sliced almond becomes the fingernail.

The sandwiches included French Style Cheese Spread Eyeballs (using edible wafer paper), RIP Cheddar Pimiento Coffins, Waldorf Chicken Salad on Pumpkin Bread, Cyclops Eye (olive spirals), Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs, and 'Take a Bite of the Apple' Brie Sandwich (served warm).
The Scone course included Traditional English Cream Scones in the shape of ghosts and Pumpkin Pecan Scones served with Green Grape Worms. The 'eyes' for the ghost were currant pieces while the eyes for the worms were mini chocolate chips held in place with a touch of icing. This plate captured everyone's attention when it was served!


And for dessert, there were Gingerbread Cupcake Brains, Candy Corn Cookies, and Lemon Tartlet Ghosts.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If I Only Had a Brain....

Three hauntingly delightful Halloween Teas have taken place at Sweet Remembrances this year. Shown here is one of the desserts that featured tasty gingerbread cupcakes decorated as brains.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ladies and Their Hats Tea Party

The Ladies and Their Hats event held last month included Afternoon Tea which began with Keep it Under Your Hat Rosemary Corn Soup.
With A Tip of the Hat to the Sandwiches, we served: Chicken and Pineapple Triangles, The Queen's Crown Jewels an orange date sandwich accented with golden raisins and currant jewels, Spinach Cheese Tarts, Fruit Sandwich Cornucopia on Raisin Bread, Princess Hat Egg Salad, and a Pimiento Cheese Pumpernickel Top Hat.
And Hats Off to the Scones! We served Traditional English Cream Scones and Lemon Poppyseed Scones accompanied by Sweet Cream, Lemon Curd, Raspberry Jelly, and a Hat Pin Fruit Skewer. We also had sweet little hat favors prepared by Candy by Kelly that had two colorful hats and tiny candy pieces.

Wear Many Hats desserts featured a Floral Sun Bonnet Cookie and Jackie O's Chocolaty Pill Box.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ladies and Their Hats

We recently welcomed Marcella Farina, The Tea and Hat Lady to Sweet Remembrances for a special program.  We are so fortunate to have Marcella, a Certified Tea Specialist and a genuine Tea Enthusiast as part of our local tea community!

Rarely seen without a hat, Marcella presented a charming talk on Hats and the Woman who wear them.  It included well known hat wearers: Audrey Hepburn, Queen Elizabeth and lesser known yet still influential women in hats. brought some of her favorite hats along to share with us and we learned a bit of hat trivia. 
A Sun hat is meant to cover your head and your shoulders. Most reproduction hat pins are strong enough to fit through a well made hat. Hat pins fit through the hat, under your hair and through the other side of the hat to hold it in place in case there is a sudden gust of wind. In addition to being used for this purpose, they are within easy reach to be used as a weapon in case of an attack!
Tea and Hat Lady Marcella Farina
"Hats are the difference between being dressed and being dressed up"

Of course, we totally love how our guests will "play along" and wear all of their favorite hats. 
                                                  It makes the event even more special!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tea Decor

This clever idea to display tea cups and saucers using old wooden staircase spindles was also part of the décor in Tea by Two. So fun, and such a clever way to display teacups and saucers while repurposing the spindles.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Afternoon Tea - Tea By Two, MD

The highlight of the Quarterly Meetings of the MATBA meeting is the fact that we  typically meet in a tea room which affords us the opportunity to enjoy Afternoon Tea as our luncheon treat. It was such a pleasure to enjoy tea at Tea by Two again.

The staff members carried the tea trays into the room with style, parade-like, as they gingerly placed a tea tray on each table.

The bottom tier of the tea tray held the Scone of the Day, Cranberry Orange. There was cream and lemon curd already on the tables.

The Tea Sandwiches featured a Cucumber Sandwich, a Swiss Apple Canapé, Chicken Salad on Raisin Bread, and Rosemary Cracker with Goat Cheese. Each one tasty!

And the fall dessert selection included Pumpkin Bar, Apple Blackberry Tart, and a Leaf Sugar Cookie. Fall, on a plate!

And this is what it looked like on my plate before I started to sample and savor each course.
Oh, yum!

And, a little peek at some of their tea room décor. This fun sign is in the restroom. Did you spot the teacup wall paper?

This vignette is so pretty, isn't it? You can find Tea by Two on Facebook, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chocolate and Tea Pairing

Members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association gathered at Tea by Two in Bel Air, MD for the fall quarterly meeting earlier this month. A portion of the meeting was set aside for a tea and chocolate pairing under the guidance of Lisa Boalt Richardson. She explained that pairing is an art and a science, that there must be a conscious effort and a deliberate process that involves being totally engrossed in the moment. You must learn how to taste. Having said that, it's important to know that there is no right or wrong answer.

We had a variety of chocolate in front of each of us. We were instructed to take a small bite of the chocolate and let it soften and melt from the warmth of the mouth. Then, take a sip of the tea. After noting the flavors, a sip of water was offered before repeating the process with the second tea. The Lindt white chocolate was paired with Sencha and also with Gunpowder, both green teas. Our group noted that the white chocolate overpowered the sencha.
The Cadbury milk chocolate with the highest fat content, thus coating the mouth, was paired with two teas that are opposites in astringency levels. Paired with a Ti Kuan Yin Oolong and a Glenburn single estate Darjeeling we noted that the chocolate sweetened the tea and made it smooth. The semi sweet was paired with Ceylon Kenilworth and also a hearty Glenburn Estate Assam golden tip. The Assam and the semi sweet created a balanced flavor combination, almost becoming one. And finally, the Lindt bitter chocolate with 70% or more cacao was paired with the Assam and a puerh. The puerh balanced well with the bitter chocolate.
This was definitely an enjoyable and entertaining afternoon, not to mention quite tasty, too!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Modern Tea - Lisa Boalt Richardson

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Boalt Richardson during the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association meeting held at Tea By Two in Bel Air, MD. Lisa, a certified tea specialist and well known author on the subject of tea hails from Atlanta, GA. This was a special book launch for her newest publication, Modern Tea. Lisa has also authored Tea With a Twist and The World in Your Teacup.
Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage is a comprehensive book that includes a variety of pertinent information for both the newbie recently introduced to the world of tea and the devoted tea enthusiast looking to enhance their education. She offers tips for purchasing tea, storing it properly, and brewing techniques. Moving beyond the cup, she shares about cooking with tea including pairing tea with chocolate. At the book launch, we had a tea and chocolate pairing guided by Lisa. We'll share that tomorrow. You can find Lisa on Facebook here: Lisa Knows Tea.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Haunted Gardens

Since we have three Halloween Teas scheduled this month, Streets of Treats this coming Saturday where local children visit area businesses for Trick or Treats, our Garlic Dinner with the 'Witchy Woman' later in the month and herb gardens that are open to the public, dawn to dusk, we decorate the gardens in the spirit of the season for the month of October.
Haunted, but not overly scary, we enjoy it when others visit the gardens and snap photos or point out surprises tucked here and there. For those of you that can't visit the gardens this October, here are a few quick shots of the décor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Angelica!

Happy 15th Birthday to a very special, smart and beautiful young lady! You bring us such joy in everything you do. Your love of reading, your affection for family, your enthusiasm for horses, your disdain for cows - it all brings us great joy! May love, laughter and happiness abound with each passing day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Herbal Dinner - Sinking Spring Herb Farm

Our final dinner together as a group was at Sinking Spring Herb Farm.  Owner Ann Stubbs prepared a great farmhouse kitchen buffet meal for us.  Red Beets flavored and garnished beautifully.
Apple Salad,  Chicken Pot pie, Beans and Sausage, Mashed Sweet Potatoes,  Fresh Watermelon and Pound Cake were all part of the meal.
Nasturtiums were offered as a peppery little nibble as well.
This old country farmhouse had little nooks and crannies filled with treasures and little touches.

Ann is  a dried flower arranger so the house was adorned  with wreaths, mantle pieces and door pieces.
Seating was set up in the main dining area, and her living room.  Ann came through and shared a history of the farm with the group.