Monday, January 30, 2017
We have three January birthdays in our family - all celebrated at the end of the month. Cedar, reaching 14 this year and growing taller every day, kicks off the family celebrations with a birthday on the 29th. Little did he know that his Aunt Carrie wanted him to arrive on the 30th when she celebrates her natal day. Their birthdays are close enough to be birthday buddies. Also on the 30th , cousin Anne is celebrating in LA. Sending a shout out to all three.
Friday, January 27, 2017
A weekend visit to New York included an excursion to a tea room in Seymour, CT, Tea With Tracy. White lace curtains, white chairs and a pale blue decor coupled with large sunny windows created a bright and cheerful room.
Once seated, our attention was immediately drawn to the clever names for the variety of teas that were offered. The Princess & Super Hero Teas brought a chuckle from Susanna and Angelica. Can you guess which tea Susanna selected?
The menu options were framed and available on each table. Breakfast is served early Sunday morning, and tea service begins at 11:00 on Sunday. We arrived shortly thereafter, and selected the Afternoon Tea. We were able to select one sandwich each, one scone, and one dessert. Since there were four of us, we selected four different items in each category, so we were able to sample a wide variety of their specialty items.
The top tier held the four assorted scones which included Cranberry Orange, Chocolate Chip Butterscotch, Pineapple White Chocolate and Onion. They were served with butter packets and a tiny teacup of jelly. Devonshire Cream was available for an upcharge which we selected. It was also served in a tiny white teacup.
The middle tier held the petite tea sandwiches on white and wheat bread. Our selection included traditional cucumber sandwich, egg salad with curry, chicken salad with fresh herbs, and raspberry and brie sandwich. We were happy to be able to sample a variety of sandwiches.
The bottom tier was laden with large pieces of dessert. Cutting each piece into fourths offered us the opportunity to sample each sweet treat which included Pecan Pie, Carrot Cake, Cherry Almond Bread Pudding, and Chocolate Crepe Cake.
It's always fun to have the opportunity to visit another tea room, to be the guest! The tea room was a hustle and bustle of activity the entire time we were there. Located on a busy little street, there were plenty of small antique shops and consignment shops to explore after tea.
Friday, January 20, 2017
This Royal Albert bone china tea cup from England is on display in the tea room. It is clearly marked on the bottom of the saucer and the cup. There is an elegance with the solid black saucer and the rich black and mauve roses circling the cup.
Found in another section of the tea room is this tea cup set with a slightly more modern design. The iridescent saucer sparkles, and the black and white swirl is replicated in both the saucer and the tea cup. There is no marking on this elegant and sophisticated cup.
These two pretty tea cups have matching designs on the saucer and cup. It's always a treat to finish drinking your tea and have the beautiful floral design to admire. The cup and saucer on the left is marked 'Made in Japan' while the set on the right is stamped Royal Sealy China, Japan.
And finally, this cup and saucer set was part of the original collection that was given to me from my mother shortly after the tea room opened. Mom was happy to pass her collection to me as she was thrilled to have more space in her cupboards to continue collecting!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
How to Make - A Really Fine Cup of Tea
Use fresh water. Bring to a furious boil. Put tea in teapot, one level teaspoon per cup (more or less as desired) plus 'one for the pot.' Pour boiling water on tea. Steep three to five minutes - the longer the stronger.
These directions are specifically for black tea. And over the years, most recommendations for making tea no longer include the need for adding 'one for the pot'. Of course, these are all simply guidelines, it's all to personal taste, add more or less tea as desired and steep as long or as short as you prefer. Eventually you will find the perfect balance and achieve a really fine cup of tea.
Monday, January 16, 2017
The John Wagner & Sons business began in 1847 'since the days of the clipper ships'. This Pennsylvania company offered a wide variety of teas and spices, and was one of the first teas that we sold in The Rosemary House, right alongside Constant Comment. There was a wide variety of flavors, each distinguishable by the color of the tin. You could find Orange pekoe (orange tin), Keemun (black), Jasmine (yellow), English breakfast (red), Formosa Oolong (light green), Imperial gunpowder (medium green), Irish (kelly green), Earl Gray (purple) Rare Mandarin (lavender), Pan fired green (blue), Mint (white) and Ch’a Ching Chinese restaurant (white).
Don't they all sound delicious?
Sunday, January 15, 2017
When The Rosemary House opened in 1968 (celebrating 49 years this year!), we carried tea and spices from a local Pennsylvania company, John Wagner & Sons. The Ivyland, PA company was founded in 1847, eventually sold to another company in 1996, but is no longer available. The teas were sold in gift sets, or they were sold loose in a large Treasure Chest. This is the lid from the chest.
The loose leaf tea was sold in specialty food stores and gift shops such as the Rosemary House. The assorted teas were packaged in tins, in several sizes. Shown here are the smaller tins that were tossed in the chest. Customers could pick out their favorite teas, and select a different flavor each time they came to the shop. Look at that price! 35 cents or 3 for a dollar! Now, you can find the empty little tins on eBay for $8.00 a piece!
Friday, January 13, 2017
The set includes a double spouted 6" high tea pot and two matching cups that snuggle each other and sit perfectly together on one plate. The markings on the bottom of the white porcelain pieces feature a barely visible indented stamp that says 'taste' and then a large capital S to begin the words setter and sigma.
Think of all the time it saves. The pretty blue and white tea towel was a gift from my niece, Jessica.
Special thanks to both Jessica (for the tea towel) and Dennis (for the tea set).
Sunday, January 8, 2017
The teapot, handmade in Britain, by a company named Schokolate with the tag line 'chocolate with a twist' comes complete with a little instruction booklet and a list of do's and don'ts. This 3-step adventure first includes making some hot cocoa in the little pot. We followed the directions to make several smalls cups of hot cocoa by placing instant cocoa in the pot along with a small portion of water. We enjoyed the cocoa, and using the really useful chocolate pot for this purpose. But our family, gathered around the table, was eager to move onto step 2.
Step 2 involves turning the chocolate pot into a fondue setup by adding a few tablespoons of hot water to the pot, you are instructed to stir until it develops into a smooth creamy fondue. We sampled the fondue with marshmallows, angel food cake, strawberries, bananas, and kiwi fruit. Each tasty tidbit as good as the previous sampled piece.
Thank you, Janet. This was a fun treat the whole family enjoyed!
Thursday, January 5, 2017
The tin contained the cutest assortment of wash clothes - a tea pot, a tea cup, and a sugar and creamer set. How fun is that! They are almost too fun to use, but certainly perfect for a tea enthusiast. Special thanks to my thoughtful tea room customers.
And also during the holiday season, these pretty lace edged muslin tea towels were presented to Susanna and I from another good customer/friend.
Many thanks to our customers. You have surprised us and delighted us this holiday season, bringing joy and happiness with your thoughtful gifts.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
This lovely miniature porcelain tea set has found a new home in Sweet Remembrances, and I am ever so grateful for this newest addition to the collection! It is a reproduction of a gorgeous porcelain tea service used in the Biltmore House around the late 1800s. The swooping, curving design and the lavish use of such a rich dark turquoise coupled with the elegant gold highlights represents the rococo style of china.
The tea service that this replicates can be found on display in the Oak Sitting room in the Biltmore House in North Carolina, while this miniature tea set is proudly on display in the tea room. Elegance at its finest!
And the festive card attached to this surprise gift, from my Favorite Tea Group, indeed!
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful gift!
Monday, January 2, 2017
...Penn State! That's the rally cry heard around the state, particularly this week as the Penn State football team is in California, ready to play against USC in the Rose Bowl today. All TV stations will be tuned to this exciting game as Penn State celebrates the end of a comeback season under the expert guidance of coach James Franklin.
Stepping back in time to 1995, 23 years ago to be exact, Penn State played in the Rose Bowl beating out the Oregon Ducks. Through a family friend, we were able to secure tickets to the Rose Bowl game that year and sent our parents out to LA as a surprise Christmas gift. They visited with mom's sister, toured the behind the scenes of the making of the Rose Bowl parade floats, and attended the Big Game. Mom, shown here in her blue and white Penn State proud outfit, was a good sport and attended the game with Dad, knowing full well he would have much rather watched the game with his best buddy, Max.
(Final Score - USC 52 - Penn State 49)