Saturday, December 15, 2018

Holiday Hand Bell Concert in the Tea Room!

We welcomed nationally known solo handbell artist Ron Bellamy of  Lancaster, PA to the tea room recently where he performed holiday classics and entertained with his delightful skill of bringing to life this amazing array of handbells and chimes. After playing a beautiful assortment of holiday numbers, our guests were provided chimes and sheet music and a quick introductory course in playing the chimes and singing along to holiday favorites concluded the mini concert.
Afternoon Tea preceded this special event where bells took center stage. A Holiday Coleslaw with an Orange Vinaigrette was topped with a petite red beet bell. Sandwiches included Cranberry Pistachio Chicken Salad, Benedictine Bells, Cranberry Conserve and Brie in a Tart Shell, Swiss Apple Melt, Roast Beef, Tomato Puff, and Basil Pesto on Pastry Rounds, and Asparagus and Blue Cheese Rollups. Special thanks to Kathie Bittenbender of First United Methodist Church for the use of her handbell cookie cutter to create the Benedictine Bell sandwich. Kathie is the handbell choir director for the local Methodist church in Mechanicsburg.

The scone course included English Cream Scones and Cinnamon Chip Scones with scone toppings and fresh fruit. Dessert featured a Chocolate Coconut Bon Bon, Petite Glazed Fruit Cake and Cream Cheese DreaMint Bells.

Here is Ron Bellamy performing a rendition of Silent Night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Desserts! From Sweet Remembrances!

 Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy some holiday desserts.


 All homemade. Simply delicious.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gingerbread Boys and Girls - a recipe

Our big 5-0 anniversary year celebrations continue ~1968-2018~. This photo is the front room of the shop in 1973.  Although difficult to see, the tree is trimmed in adorable gingerbread boys and girls, each one decorated with festive outfits. Below is the recipe we used and you will note that this recipe will make approximately 100 gingerbread boys and girls. If you are planning to decorate with these little cuties, be sure to make the hole before you bake the cookie! The delicious combination of fragrant and flavorful spices makes this a favorite recipe of ours to this day.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

ARGO Tea, Chicago, IL

A quick journey to Chicago, IL was not without tea! Located in the theater district within walking distance of the CIBC Theater where we were fortunate enough to see Hamilton, was this casual tea cafe, Argo Tea. This chain of cafes was founded in Chicago in 2003. 
Special blends, unique flavors, and cleverly crafted teas are their specialty. A small display case offered a choice of muffins, cookies, and mini quiche. This cafe was a hub of activity with people coming and going, while others lingered over their cup of tea, working or socializing. 
Colorful displays surround the cafe. Along one wall there was a beautiful display of a wide variety of teas that they offer. The clear glass bottles provide the opportunity to see the leaf,  while the placard features its origins, and growing conditions.

Pumpkin Chai was the beverage of choice on this late fall afternoon.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Winner! HamiltonCHI

Our father taught us not to throw away our money. We were not allowed to toss coins into fountains, and we were not a family of gamblers, or lottery players. Those lessons have stuck with us over the years. But, a free lottery App with the chance to win $10 tickets to attend Hamilton, well, I'm not throwing away my shot! And, after several months of entering the lottery to attend the show in New York, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, and Durham, this announcement popped up on my phone! Winner! Two tickets in Chicago! With 24 hour notice, Angelica and I headed to Chicago, driving non-stop!

What a surreal experience! Lots of driving, occasional stops for gas and food, and back on the road. Angelica was the navigator once we hit the city. Locating a parking garage within close proximity of the theater, we explored the streets of Chicago before dinner and the show. Artistic sculptures and pretty floral areas brighten the windy city. Speakers with piped in music are tucked in some of these decorative sections. Musicians on the street corners offer their Paypal address on cardboard boxes in case you don't have cash to toss their way.
Can you tell we were beyond excited? The majestic CIBC Theater in Chicago opened in 1906 at a cost of over one million dollars. We were glad to see it!

What a memorable whirlwind experience! And I continue to play the lottery, although other family members think they are next up to attend the next $10 winning show! Angelica and I have been bumped to the back of the line!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tea with President LIncoln

We were thrilled to welcome 'President Lincoln' to the tea room earlier last month. AKA James Hayney, local to our area, he carries the height and look of Lincoln with authenticity. He greeted each guest with a very presidential handshake before he started his informative program covering many aspects of Lincoln's life and career in politics.

The Afternoon Tea began with an assortment of fresh fruit served with a creamy Caramel dip.

Sandwiches included Chicken Cheddar Apple Sandwich on white bread, Cheesy Artichoke Spinach Crostini, Creamy Lemon Pecan atop Pumpkin Bread, warm Chicken Fricasse over a herbed biscuit, and Pimiento Cheese on Rye. According to food history blogs, chicken fricasse is known as one of Lincoln's favorite meals.
The following course included Traditional English Cream Scones served with sweet cream and raspberry preserves and Poppyseed Tea Bread with a mascarpone cheese rosebud. Fresh fruit completed the plate.
Dessert included Shortbread in the shape of an eagle and glittered with gold sugar. Homemade Gingerbread with spicy cream piped on top. Warm gingerbread is also noted to be one of Lincoln's favorite foods. And, Lincoln preferred tea over coffee.

This article in The Burg (a Harrisburg, PA community paper) provides additional information about our local 'Mr. Lincoln'. 

For additional information, visit James Hayney's website, Looking for a Lincoln.

James Hayney's mission is 'keeping history alive'. And for this Sunday afternoon in October, we all felt as if we were in the presence of the 16th President of the United States!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Charleston Tea Plantation, South Carolina

A short hop to South Carolina included a visit to the Charleston Tea Plantation located on Wadmalaw Island, in the heart of South Carolina's lowcountry. Billed as America's Tea Garden, this destination has long been on the bucket list.

The gift shop is nestled among nature's bounty of old oaks, and upon entering, the visitor is offered a selection of self-serve tea, either hot or cold.

Hop aboard the green trolley for a tour of the tea garden where hundreds of thousands of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) stretch as far as the eye can see. Our animated guide shared the history of the plantation, the harvesting, and stories of the animals found in the area.
We hopped off the trolley to check out the tea plants up close and personal in the greenhouse. Rows and rows of young plants are tucked in here, being coaxed along and closely monitored until they are large enough to plant in a new field.

This large green machine is their one-of-a-kind tea harvester. Most proud of this monster, it harvests the tea bushes all summer long which are then dried and processed in their factory. A walking tour of the factory offers a glimpse into the actual production of tea. We visited on a weekend in October, both the big green machine and the factory were at rest.

What a fun stop!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

East Bay Meeting House, Charleston, SC

 A long distance jaunt south took us to Charleston, SC (the oldest and largest city in South Carolina) where we had reservations at the East Bay Meeting House for Afternoon Tea. Located in the heart of the French Quarter of this historic town, the East Bay Meeting House offers lunch and dinner, and during the off peak hours of 4 - 7, they provide Afternoon Tea by advance reservation.

 Elegant place settings provided a hint of what was to come. The tea tray was situated in the center of the table prior to our arrival, wrapped in paper towels to keep the sandwiches fresh. Once we sat down, the paper towel draping was removed to display the array of tea time treats garnished with flowers and a variety of fresh green leaves.

Our hostess offered an assortment of tea selections from Mighty Leaf tea. Individual little tea pots, with the tea bag steeping, were brought to each guest. Our choices ranged from a white tea, to Bombay Chai, to English Breakfast.

The tiered tray had a wide variety of sandwiches on the bottom tier, each one as tasty asa the previous one. The middle tier held a slice of rum cake, a layered chocolate cake, and a sugar cookie while the top tier held orange scones with cream and jelly. We savored each bite, enjoyed gathering at this location with family, and would certainly return if we were in the area again.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Tillymint's Tea Room, Souderton, PA

Here's another little peek at the very decidedly very British decor found in Tillymint's Tea Room in Souderton, PA. From a beautiful collection of English bone china tea pots, very stylish Sadler tea pots with a literary theme to a small homage to Yorkshire Tea, the second most popular tea brand in England, this tea room shouts We Love England, We Love Tea!

Above, a private collection of all things British including celebratory china for a variety of royal weddings. Below, the Union Jack flag bunting is so typical of British locales, and who doesn't love Harrods?
Everywhere you turn, there is something representative of Britain.
Including a hedgehog collection in the powder room!