Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Christmas Tree Tea Cups!

This collection of holiday teacups feature a variety of delightful Christmas trees. Shown here is a Royal Albert tea cup with the Old Country Roses style and a festive Christmas tree front and center, complete with ribbon swirls, classic gold rim, and the iconic pink and yellow roses we all love about this Royal Albert pattern.

Another familiar style is the Spode Christmas Tree pattern introduced in 1938. This vintage Spode pottery was originally made in Stoke-on-Trent in England and conjures memories of Christmases past with celebrations around the tree. Modern versions of this pattern are available as platters, pitchers, and more.

This colorful teacup pattern from Japan is called Happy Holidays. It features a decorated tree complete with presents under the tree. The familiar Nikko bear is front and center among the gifts. Introduced in 1986, the pattern was discontinued in 2014.

Another Royal Albert holiday design is this Christmas Magic tea cup from 1990, A variety of toys can be found under the tree, on the back of the cup, and on the center of saucer. The familiar country roses pattern encircles the cup and saucer with holly leaves and berries dancing around the china and among the flowers. This pattern had a short run, and ended in 1993. 
We love setting the table with this colorful assortment of Christmas tree tea cups!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Growing Rosemary

This is an excerpt from Bertha Reppert's book on Growing and Using Rosemary, published by Storey Communications:

On mild days in the winter, I put my collection (of Rosemary plants) outside for a breath of fresh air. If the weather reports are favorable, they can stay outside for several days, much to their liking. Moving the plants is a bit of a nuisance but well worth the effort. I can hear the grateful rosemaries whisper, "Thank you."
 Here in Central PA, we are lucky when a Rosemary plant survives the winter outdoors. We always leave a few planted in the ground but the majority are in large pots and we bring them in on New Year's Day and take them back outside on St Patrick's Day. Rosemary can easily go down to 22 degrees or even a bit below and they prefer the out doors to our hot dry houses. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Ho! Ho! Ho!

The culinary Santa collection is once again on display in the hallway. Santas of various shapes and sizes adorn the oak side-by-side and also perch atop the old radiator greeting our guests as they enter the tea room. The Santa collection has grown over the years and includes gifts from family and friends, and a few souvenirs from travel destinations. Such a jolly old elf!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sugarplums and Tea, Lancaster, PA

In October, members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association gathered together at Sugarplums & Tea located in Lancaster, PA for their quarterly meeting. Tucked in a somewhat residential area is this stately building that houses the tea room.
Linda (Tea on the Tiber) and Terry (Dollies Tea Room)
We always enjoy a morning reception provided by the host tea room as members of the association arrive at different times, traveling from NJ, MD, PA, and VA for this particular meeting. Quiche (two varieties), scones with assorted toppings, fresh fruit cup, and tea round out the morning options.  
The tea room has several seating areas, and we were seated in the enclosed porch. With lots of windows, it offered a cheerful open feeling. The day started with a program by Amy Thorn, artisan wine maker and motivational speaker entitled 'From Passion to Purpose'. Amy and her family own Thorn Hill Vineyards which specializes in hand-crafted artisan wines. She shared her story with us, and offered inspiration as we each discover our passion.

After the program, Afternoon Tea was served. We each selected a flavor of tea from their extensive list of teas. First course included a pumpkin bisque and a spicy cheddar scone. Perfect for a beautiful fall day.

The tiered tray included their traditional Hawaiian Chicken Salad, cucumber with carrots and dip, a petite quesadilla, salad greens, and an array of desserts on the bottom tier.

The dessert trio included a petite pumpkin cheesecake, peanut butter mousse in a chocolate cup, and a third dessert. We also enjoyed a little bubbly from the Thorn Hill Vineyard to tie in the program and tea.
Karen (Greenhalgh Tea) Mike & Deb Raab (Tea-for-All)
Following the afternoon tea, the business meeting conducted by current president Deb Raab of Tea for All rounded out the day. We are pleased to welcome Justine Cooney, owner of Sugarplums and Tea, as a new member to MATBA.

Monday, December 2, 2019

What's in a Tea Cup? Memories!

We welcome December with all the joy associated with the celebrations held throughout the month. A month of tea parties in Sweet Remembrances, a month of preparation, shopping and more shopping to find the perfect gift from The Rosemary House, a month of friendship, and a grand finale with family gatherings. December is busy! But this fine bone china tea cup (decorated in England) also holds a bounty of memories.

This festive December teacup reminds us of our travel destination several years back, 2016 to be exact, when we headed to Vancouver to attend the 17th Annual International Bell Symposium (Angelica and the local bell choir rang in the concert along with 800 participants from around the world and 3,500 bells). After the symposium, we took the ferry to Victoria, British Colombia with a side trip to the Butchart Gardens. This lovely souvenir overflows with memories of a warm summer and beautiful vacation with family. We leisurely strolled the fabulous gardens abundant with colorful flora, and then enjoyed Afternoon Tea in the Dining Room where we overlooked the Italian Gardens. Simply lovely memories.

Afternoon Tea at The Butchart Gardens

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Our Annual Holiday Tea after Thanksgiving

 As the Thanksgiving holiday ends, thus begins the season of holiday teas in Sweet Remembrances. Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving have traditionally been a favorite time to begin the festive holiday season with a relaxing Afternoon Tea. The tea room is decorated with tabletop trees, colorful poinsettias adorn the shelves, and the collection of culinary Santa's are gathered in the hallway. The holiday tea cups are out of storage, and are in full service now through the end of the month.
Our first holiday tea began with an Apple Cranberry Salad that included assorted greens, fresh red and green apples, craisins, honey roasted almonds, feta cheese, and a fresh cranberry apple dressing.

An array of sandwiches included Cranberry Chicken Salad, Goat Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes topped with a Christmas tree cutout, Melted Brie, Pecan and Apple Crostini, Roast Beef with Horseradish butter on Pumpernickel, and an Artichoke Pistachio Pesto.
The scone course featured our Traditional English Cream Scone coupled with a Gingerbread Scone served with sweet cream and lemon curd. Fresh fruit rounded out the plate. The dessert course featured a White Cake with Orange Buttercream and Cranberry Topping, a Buttery Pistachio Cookie, and a frosted Eggnog Cookie. Yum!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

We Give Thanks!

As we enter the season of thanks giving, we are reminded of the many blessings we have among family and friends. We are grateful for the joy and happiness each one of you brings to the table.                                                                Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Spicy Souvenir from Martinique

Our sister Carrie, and her husband Phil, have been traveling the globe on their quest for adventure. One of their destinations included a quick trip to Martinique, touted as "a little bit of France in the French Caribbean Sea". As a souvenir, instead of the traditional t-shirt associated with travel gift-giving, we were the lucky recipients of this fragrant little basket laden with seasonings. Tucked in the cloth lined basket, an assortment of spices and seasonings with the ingredients and suggested uses listed in French. There was a small bottle of Vanilla - oh so fragrant! A paper tube of sugar, and curry spices, paella rice spices and other fragrant and colorful seasonings that will be added to a stew pot for delicious unique flavor. Thanks! We love being remembered!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Granite Rose Tea Parlour, Granite, MD

In September, members of The Royal Tea Club gathered in Granite, MD  to enjoy an Afternoon Tea at the Granite Rose Tea Parlour. This beautiful 1890's Victorian home offers the perfect location to enjoy tea.

Individual pots of tea were offered to each guest. Once the little pot was on your table, warm scones were served. We each enjoyed a Pineapple Sage scone served with cream, lemon curd, and jelly. The tiniest fresh fruit garnish completed this course.
A two tiered tray held an assortment of five sandwiches that included two cucumber sandwiches each with a radish garnish on white bread, a tomato pesto sandwich on a half croissant, homemade zucchini bread with orange cream cheese, and an apple and cheese chutney sandwich. Such a pretty and tasty assortment of sandwiches. Little touches of fresh fruit garnishes were on the plate and atop the sandwiches.

The dessert medley included a raspberry oatmeal bar, a buttery cookie, and chocolate mousse.

We enjoyed our get-away to this tea room. As members of the Royal Tea Club, we try to attend at least one or two of their events during the year. Many of their activities conflict with our business schedule, but the date for this tea fell shortly after the Fairy Festival but before the Tea Festival. We were thankful for the interlude.
Their refrain is:

'Sit long ~ Talk Much ~ Laugh Often'. And we did.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Fresh Rose Geranium Apple Cake

This Apple Cake (L) with hints of Rose Geranium added for extra flavor was served at a herbal harvest tea we presented earlier this month. The recipe was requested by several attendees, and I am happy to share it with our readers. It was a recipe that was given to my mother by an Amish woman that sold squares of this extra moist apple cake during the Pennsylvania Dutch Days held at Hershey in the mid to late 1960's and early 1970's. We were fellow vendors, and she was happy to share. We have enjoyed this cake ever since. It has stood the test of time! 
Fresh Apple Cake
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
4 c. apples, peeled and diced
1 c. nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. freshly snipped scented rose geranium (optional)
4 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter (do not substitute margarine)
1/2 c. Crisco
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" cake pan, set aside. Mix sugar, salt, soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add oil and blend. Beat eggs, add into mixture. Stir in prepared apples by hand so as not to crush them. Blend in nuts and vanilla. Add flour, gently mixing until blended. Add snipped scented rose geranium, if using. Pour into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Meanwhile, prepare icing. Mix flour and milk in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick (takes 4 - 6 minutes). Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to cool. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and Crisco. Add granulated sugar and vanilla. Cream again. Gradually add cooled flour mixture, a few spoonfuls at a time. Beat until smooth (up to 5 minutes). Frost cooled cake. Keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Happy Halloween Afternoon Tea!

Our annual Halloween teas were held these last two Sundays in October. The tea room, decorated for the season, sets the scene while the menu is centered around the theme.

First course, once tea is served, featured a seasonal Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with fun things added like raisins, bacon, red onion, and cheddar cheese pieces all tossed with a creamy dressing.
 The sandwich plate included a Full Moon Chicken Salad Sandwich. Although difficult to see in the photo, there is a little silver bat flying over the moon. The Pumpernickel RIP Coffin has roast beef with a water chestnut/onion filling. There is a Parmesan Cheese Toasted Ghost (the favorite sandwich, I'm told). Cyclops Eye was a cream cheese based sandwich with lots of almonds for crunch, and sliced olive for the eye. A Pimiento Cheese Black Calico Cat rounded out the sandwiches.

The scones featured a Traditional English Cream Scone in the shape of a ghost. The triangular scone is a Curried Pumpkin and Ginger Scone with small pieces of crystallized ginger along with curry and turmeric as added flavors. Toppings included Sweet Cream and Cinnamon Honey butter. A sweet jellied pumpkin and fresh orange slices graced the plate.

A trio of petite desserts included a Lemony Curd Ghost, Gingerbread Brains, and a Oreo Truffle Mummy.

It's always fun when our guests dress for this event!