Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Tea - 2017

Every year we hold two Halloween Tea events in the tea room. These special events are frequently sold-out as soon as they are announced! Many guests make this an annual event, being sure they attend each year! After walking thru the haunted herb gardens, they come inside for our haunted tea.

We start with a salad, which was a Pear, Pecan, Cheddar Cheese and Red Onion Salad with a Maple Dressing. The contrast of sweet maple with tangy Dijon in the dressing provided a hauntingly delicious taste sensation!

The sandwich course could have been called 'here's looking at you' as there was an abundance of eyes this year! The sandwiches included a Ham & Cheese Coffin with a Peppery Mustard Mayonnaise. There was a Pimiento Cheese Pumpkin with a surprised look and a ghoulish Chicken Salad eyeball. A Googly eyed pineapple sandwich, a Herbed Spinach Ball, and a Witch's Cauldron with Brie and Orange Marmalade rounded out the plate.

The scone course included a Ghostly English Cream Scone with currant eyes and a triangular Pumpkin Pecan Scones. Small individual bowls of sweet cream and orange marmalade were at each place setting. Tart green apples were served with a sweet Caramel Cream Dip.

And for dessert, Roses and Bones mini Cake, a Mummy Chocolate Truffle, and Pumpkin Bread with whipped cream ghost. Yum!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

25th Annual Garlic Dinner - 2017

This past week was our Annual Garlic Dinner where we feature garlic in every form from the appetizers to a tasty tempting dessert and everything in between. Not only did we serve roasted garlic and minced garlic and mashed garlic there was also black garlic! Have you heard of it? Black garlic is new to us, but guest chef Linda Gauvry of Tastebuds introduced us all to black garlic. It is a fermented garlic where tangy garlic undertones mix with a molasses-like richness to create a unique flavor mesh billed as 'culinary gold'.
Once our guests placed their orders for hot pots of tea, we began serving the meal. A plate of individual appetizers included Roasted garlic stuffed dates drizzled with pecan honey butter,  Cucumber bites with whipped garlic feta dip, and Sun-dried tomato ricotta crostini. 

Following the appetizers, we served a beautiful plate of Pumpkin roasted garlic soup with an herbed pesto swirl topped with an edible nasturtium and accompanied with am oversize  buttery garlic Parmesan dinner roll.

The main entree consisted of Honey garlic chicken (a moist chicken breast topped with a honey garlic glaze) with chive and garlic infused hand mashed potatoes served alongside herb and garlic roasted rainbow carrots. The carrots added such a pretty complement of fall colors,

Dessert was a yummy Apple Spiced Cake topped with pecans and served with a Roasted Garlic and Honey Poached Black Garlic Sauce. Fresh figs harvested from the Rosemary House garden garnished the plate. A delicious ending to a very unique meal. 
Kudos to guest chef Linda Gauvry of TasteBuds Personal Chef Services for tonight's dinner presentation.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tea with the General & Mrs. Robert E. Lee

We recently welcomed Frank Orlando, a Civil War living historian representing General Robert E. Lee and his wife Bonnie who portrayed Mrs. Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee for a presentation where they shared their fascinating story and brought history to life.

Before the presentation, we offered our guests a southern style red-white-and-blue Afternoon Tea. Each guest received a glass of Southern Sweet Mint Tea to accompany the salad which featured a Fresh Raspberry, Parmesan, Bacon & Pear Salad topped with Raspberry Cream Dressing.

The sandwich course included a Stacked Sandwich with Spinach and Pimento Cheese layers, fresh Georgia Peach & Brie Crostini, Star Studded Magnolia & Ivy Tea Sandwich, Curried Chicken Salad, and Sweet Potato Biscuit with sliced Baked Ham.

 The scone course included a Traditional English Cream Scone with sweet cream and jelly and a slice of Orange Glazed Poppyseed Tea Bread along with Fresh Fruit.

And dessert featured a slice of Robert E. Lee Cake which is a four layer lemon cake with lemon curd filling in between each layer frosted with a lemon and orange sweet icing. Yum! There was also a small triangular piece of Southern Praline Coconut Brownie.
Our guests enjoyed the presentation by the General and his wife (a descendant of George Washington). Duty and Honor were the theme of the presentation, two words that symbolize all that Robert E. Lee represents. Passionate about their story telling, the two presenters bounced their story off of each other, keeping the audience enthralled with their interpretation of this historical figure.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dollies Tea Room, Clear Spring, MD

Members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association gathered at Dollies Tea Room earlier this month for their October quarterly seminar. Dollies has hosted the association members on previous occasions, but it's always a delight to return to Clear Spring, MD to enjoy this lovely tea room.

 We were served the October Tea Menu which Amy features in her tea room this month. The menu changes on a monthly basis. For starters, we enjoyed a tasty Tomato Lentil soup. That was followed by a Lettuce-less Greek Salad, with a colorful assortment of veggies topped with a sprinkling of Feta cheese.

The presentation of the three tiered tray is always a show stopper! The Afternoon Tea tray included a variety of tea sandwiches, On the bottom tier were Cucumber, Egg Salad, Chicken Salad, and a Deviled Potato.

The cucumber sandwich has a cheerful orange bow wrapped around it. And the chicken salad triangle has the cutest little 'apple' cut from a thin slice of cheese. That was a fun festive touch! And the Deviled Potato is stuffed inside a petite potato. Think of it almost like a twice baked potato! That's unique.

 Dollies always served her Signature cream scone, and there was Cinnamon Chip alongside it. Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream were offered in a miniature serving dish, and a petite fresh fruit skewer accompanied this course.

Desserts included Gingerbread, Prince William Cake (plain biscuits meshed with rich chocolate), Vanilla Toffee Cookie and a Shortbread Cookie. 
And the Afternoon Tea always ends with sorbet. The flavor for this month was Apple Cranberry.

Before the tea began, we had the educational portion of the meeting where members shared experiences, shared what works for their business, while others shared merchandise that they carry. Questions were answered, notes were taken, and new ideas swirled around the room. 
The business meeting was held after the tea. Following the business meeting, members headed back home to implement many of the new ideas. The next Quarterly Seminar will be held at the Red Brick Bakery and Tea Room in Red Lion, PA. Newest member, Chef Dani has offered to be the host location for the January 22nd seminar (weather permitting).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MATBA October Seminar - Dollies Tea Room, Clear Spring, MD

Members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association recently gathered at Dollies Tea Room in Clear Spring, MD for one of their quarterly meetings. As members gather from distant locations, it is customary for the hosting tea room to offer a welcoming reception. There were four instant pots filled with freahly brewed hot tea to start the day. 
Guests could select from Imperial Mango (an Oolong), Peaches & Ginger, Black Dragon, or Orange Mandarin. Amy, the owner, sources her tea from a variety of vendors, and included the name of the tea purveyor on the little signs attached to the tea. East Indies Tea Company (a member of MATBA), Harney and Sons, Teaoli, and Tea Source were all represented.

The morning reception featured a mini crustless zucchini quiche, a tasty little fruit cup with a sweet sauce, yogurt with homemade tea flavored granola (scented with earl grey tea), and small pieces of a tea bread. A very yummy way to start the morning!

 Members from NJ, PA, and MD were in attendance at this meeting. These seminars represent a reunion for members, and an inspiration for many, and a chance to enjoy Afternoon Tea, all the while learning from each other.

Amy has a real sense of style, and the decor in the tea room is pleasing to the eye. Little tea vignettes are tucked here and there, and a pretty gift shop is located in the corner of the tea room.

This post has been linked to Antiques and Teacups
 Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Halloween Decorations

The gardens are haunted for the Halloween season. We have goblins, ghosts, and ghouls scattered about the gardens, along with festive pumpkins, and other not so scary decorations. Special thanks to Jim Thorpe sister Marj and her creatively wicked designs the gardens are spooky! With two Halloween Teas scheduled this month, our community Streets of Treats where the kids and their parents trick-or-treat at the local businesses, and our Annual Garlic Dinner coming up soon, the haunted gardens get a lot of attention.

So feel free to visit the gardens, we consider them public gardens, open from dawn to dusk. Stop by if you dare! And how do we decorate the tea room for the season? Well, we try to maintain the serenity of the tea room, with little touches of Halloween tricks and treats. This little skeleton drapes loosely over a framed teapot picture.

And we have creepy spiders crawling up the lace curtain, not everyone notices the spiders! And pretty little spider stencils are scattered about on a table that displays some china.

Of course we have fall decor, a pretty little pumpkin teapot and colorful fall leaves grace the tables. But beware, the teapot might hold some Gangrene Tea or Creepy Cappuccino for the unsuspecting visitors!

Friday, October 20, 2017

PA Tea Festival - 2017 - The End of the Day

How do tea festival organizers end the day? Brewing tea, of course! Tea specialist, Rie Tulali, journeyed all the way from Las Vegas to Mechanicsburg to represent Tealet and to assist in any way necessary. She was the young lady hosting the tea tastings on Friday and the audio-visual tech extraordinaire on Saturday in the lecture hall. Do you ever wonder what millennials/tea enthusiasts carry in their backpacks? 

Rie travels with tea, a gaiwan set and all the necessary accoutrements to be able to brew tea at a moments notice. 
Rie offered to prepare several Taiwanese oolong teas for us to sample and enjoy. As she was preparing the tea, she shared about the local farmers that grow and harvest the tea. And she talked about the unique flavors associated with oolong tea.

Skillful hands measured, steeped, brewed, poured, all the while she shared, sipped, and repeated the process coaxing additional steeping from the leaves.

We sampled Ruby Oolong #18 which is a Taiwanese black tea, a cross between Formosa Oolong and Assam cultivars that produces an Oolong that is lighter in body than a traditional hearty Assam, but still bold enough to call it a black tea. It was quite unique and special.
The other Taiwanese Oolong that we sampled offered the familiar roasty, toasted notes associated with an Oolong, both in the bouquet and in the cup. What a perfect way to end a perfect weekend of tea! Special thanks to Rie for all that she shared, both with the private tea tasting, and the contribution she made to make the PA Tea Festival successful. 
Notice the large wet leaf (L) compared to the curled dry leaf.
Rie is currently transitioning in her role in the tea community.  She is branching out into the world of tea education. Her new business, Modern Day Tea (the website is under construction) promises to make it easy to learn about tea.  Rie is enthusiastic and informative, her contribution to the tea festival was greatly appreciated. We hope that she will join us again next year!