Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Herbs are...

Herbs are not flamboyant plants
like marigolds or zinnias...…..
They are quiet plants,
filled with inner beauty,
whose charms must be discovered.

Bertha Reppert in her book
Herbs with Confidence

Monday, March 18, 2019

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a festive Afternoon Tea in Sweet Remembrances. The tea began with a Traditional Farmhouse Creamy Coleslaw topped with freshly snipped spring onion, parsley, and basil. Spring is right around the corner and anticipation for fresh herbs from the culinary garden peaks right about now! 

The sandwich platter included a variety of Irish related menu options. Sadly, no photograph of the sandwich plate was taken. These are the cucumber shamrock sandwiches, sprinkled with dill.
Miniature Toasted Reubens
Petite Stuffed Potatoes
Shamrock Cucumber Sandwich with Boursin Cheese
Artichoke Chicken Salad on Buttermilk Bread
Roast Beef with Orange Horseradish Cream on Puff Pastry
Heirloom Brown Bread with Irish Butter 3-Leaf Clover

Wishing you
A green, growing garden,
A good cup of tea,

A day touched by sunshine
And warm memories.

Traditional Irish Buttermilk Scone
Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds
Sweet Cream and Jelly
Fresh Orange and Kiwi Slices

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain,
tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you,
those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

Enchanted Chocolate Mint Truffle
Decorated Shamrock Sugar Cookie
Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Teh Hitam Seduh - Classic Black Tea

Special thanks to a family member that takes frequent trips to Indonesia for this colorful red tin of Classic Black Tea, or Teh Hitam Seduh. Inside the sturdy red box was a foil bag lined red tin that holds a rich black tea comprised of long wiry tea leaves. The box, in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia, offers a serving suggestion that includes adding 1 - 2 teaspoons of the tea into a tea vessel with a brewing time of 1 - 2 minutes. As with all brewing suggestions, it is merely a guideline. It is Nancy's preference to brew black tea for 5 minutes, and she found this to be 'just right'.

The tea produced an elegant cup of amber brew void of any bitterness or astringency. It is not overly strong, yet offers a delightful way to begin the day! The elegance of the tea leaf is most notable in the wet leaf as it has opened and unfurled during the steeping process. Time to brew another pot of Teh Hitam Seduh!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tea Pot Cakes!

Jubilee Cake Studio Design
Conveniently scheduled during Angelica's spring break was a tea pot cake decorating class at the local cake shop, Jubilee Cake Studio where the slogan is we bake, you decorate. We snatched up the last three available seats, and found ourselves entertained with this easy and tasty craft project. This array of utensils was placed in front of each seat. Easy to follow directions were offered to roll out the fondant to create a large circle that would cover the petite cake. Once we had our circle, individual cakes were provided, and we covered them with the firm white fondant icing.

After the cake was completely covered and smooth, we made the handle and the spout followed by the lid surrounded by a ring of little candy beads. The roses and leaves which both required special tools then became the focus of the class. You could make as many roses and leaves as you desired, placing them on the cake with additional buttercream icing 'glue'.
How pleased we are with the finished cakes!
          Pretty pink boxes are provided to safely transport your creation.
On display in the tea room, cakes by: 
Nancy, Angelica (on the pedestal), and Cedar (with a turtle)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

PA Tea Festival Sponsors

Tea Time Magazine, Tea by Two, Tea for All, The Essential Herbal, International Tea Sippers Society, Garden Talk, and the Mid Atlantic Tea Business Association have joined together to sponsor the PA Tea Festival for 2019, scheduled to take place on Friday, September 27th and Saturday, September 28th in the herb gardens of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances. We are pleased that these businesses have united to sponsor the PA Tea Festival. Preparations are in full swing to present another tea festival with a wide variety of speakers and vendors. We have speakers traveling from CA, TN, and OH to participate this year, and a range of vendors from the tri-state area. The PA Tea Festival website will be updated as soon as details are finalized. Tickets for the festival and the unique specialty tea tastings will be available mid-July.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Chai Chocolate

Our local chocolatier Cocoa Creek Chocolates has recently launched a whole new line of chocolates featuring our town, their hometown collection. They sure are sweet on Mechanicsburg!  All of the terrific family neighborhoods, first-rate schools, parks, historic sites and cultural events, Mechanicsburg is home to some of the nicest, happiest people around which has totally inspired the chocolatiers to create a yummy box of perfectly crafted and delicious chocolates. Mechanicsburg, our hometown is a uniquely special place to live and work.  The Borough's crown jewel is its vibrant, colorful downtown -- which famously transforms into a street fair for Jubilee Days, sponsors a busy community events calendar including the annual Art Walk & Wine Tasting event, and hosts the renowned "Wrench Drop" on New Year's Eve. For the rest of the year, it's a bustling center of commerce and a lively social scene where friends meet to shop, share a cup of coffee, enjoy a beauty fix, and revel in the quintessential small-town experience.  This collection of chocolates is their love letter to the Borough of Mechanicsburg, and the businesses and people that make it unforgettable.  The chocolates and the business they represent include:

Ice Cream Sundae Truffle - ganache made with premium vanilla ice cream & white chocolate in a dark chocolate shell represents Eckels Ice Cream Fountain.

Death by Chocolate Truffle - bittersweet dark chocolate ganache enrobed in dark chocolate,
is the flavor of who else but the funeral home.

Champagne Truffle - milk chocolate ganache infused with champagne, enrobed in dark chocolate featured flavor of Taylored for You Bridal Boutique

Lemony Felony Truffle - white chocolate ganache spiked with limoncello & fresh basil, enrobed in white chocolate when you need a law office in Mechanicsburg let your chocolate flavor lead the way. 

Our amazing Ritter's Hardware Store has of course.
Nuts & Bolts Cluster - Crunchy peanuts, pecans and cashews covered in creamy milk chocolate

The local coffee shop is included with their
Capital Joe's Espresso Truffle - dark chocolate ganache infused with espresso, covered with dark chocolate, dusted with espresso powder

The Rosemary House is included!!!  Our own hand blended Chai is used to create this:
Chai Tea Truffle - milk chocolate ganache infused with Rosemary House blend of chai tea, enrobed in milk chocolate

The box includes a write up of each business that is featured and here is ours:
Currently celebrating 50 years in the community, The Rosemary House offers a stunning array of herbs and spices, for uses ranging from culinary (seasoning) to fragrance (potpourri, soaps, perfumes) to healing (tonics, oils and extracts).  Owner Susanna Reppert Brill, a sixth-generation herbalist, grew up working alongside her mother (who founded the business), absorbing her encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and plants.  After graduating from Mechanicsburg High School and earning a degree in Public Policy at Penn State, Susanna returned and took over The Rosemary House.  To augment her already strong folk herbalist background, Susanna completed a two-year program in herbal therapeutics, along with study of anatomy, physiology and clinical training, allowing her to provide comprehensive advice to her customers.  Her husband and business co-owner David Brill is also a trained clinical herbalist and offers consultations aimed at holistic healing.  After almost four decades, the couple's passion for their work is evident in the store's eclectic merchandise, the beautiful adjoining garden, and the flourishing calendar of events including herbal education, tea parties, the wildly popular annual Fairy Festival, and hosting the Pennsylvania Tea Festival. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Fat Tuesday! Fastnachts. PA German Tradition

Once a year, on the Tuesday before Lent, known as Fat Tuesday, traditionally the Pennsylvania Dutch woman would make fastnachts to use up all the fat and lard in the house. Fastnacht is translated from German to mean 'night before the fast'. You might also see it spelled faschnacht, fosnot, fosnaught, fausnaught.
Churches in the area and even supermarkets have been making these little fat cakes as fast as they can to meet the demand for this heavily fried delicious little doughnut like staple. You can find them plain, sugared, or dusted with confectioner's sugar. Here in Central PA, we are fortunate to be the recipients of some homemade fastnachts shared with us by family friends.
You can find many recipes on the Internet, made with either baking powder or mashed potatoes. Follow this Wikipedia link to find a few variations on the traditional recipe. However you enjoy your fastnachts, we suggest a piping hot mug of tea to accompany this special once-a-year treat.
Special thanks to Matt H. for sharing his recipe with us: (and an even bigger thanks for sharing the already deep fried fastnachts with us this morning!)
2½ cups hot mashed potatoes 
1 cup milk
3 beaten eggs
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder 
(Note: I used King Arthur self rising flour and omitted the baking powder)

Mix everything together except flour. Mix flour in slowly (one cup or so at a time).
Divide the dough in half or thirds. Roll to 1/4 to ½ inch thick. Cut with a donut cutter or use a knife to cut into triangular shaped pieces. Deep fry in hot fat or oil (between 325 and 350 degrees--use a thermometer-- keep a lid for the pan handy in case it catches fire, and keep water far away from hot oil) until done. 
Coat with powdered sugar, if desired, by shaking in a paper bag filled with a generous amount of confectioners sugar.
(This post is a reprise from 2015. The recipe still stands as tried and true! Thanks again, Matt!)

Friday, March 1, 2019


March brings breezes loud and shrill,
Stirs the dancing daffodil
~Sara Coleridge (1802 - 1852)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Calendar of Events - 2019

The new booklet for 2019 featuring all of our events for this year has finally arrived! It's always an exciting day when we have the booklet in our hands, hot off the press! It is available on line here and has been since earlier this month. But now, we are excited to have it available for pickup in the shop! The calendar year includes a wide array of activities from specialty themed teas including old favorites like the Mother's Day Tea and the Queen's Tea to new events featuring Mourning clothing (March 31st), PA Proud (April 14th), and Harrisburg Icon Mary Sachs (May 19th) that include afternoon tea and a special program. There are many classes that Susanna will be teaching featuring herbs and their uses, and artist instructor Patti Van Brederode will be joining us again this year with a Paint Night where you will be painting an actual gourd birdhouse (March 27th).

Do stop in the shop to pick up a copy or several for you and your friends. If you are on the mailing list, they should be in your mailbox soon. It takes a little extra time for mail delivery, but you will have them shortly. We hope to see you soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tea Drops

This wooden gift box with an assortment of Tea Drops was presented to me recently. Perhaps you have heard about these - there were one of Oprah's favorite things. And they have been advertised on Facebook and in various magazines. Basically, they are a combination of sugar and finely ground compressed tea leaves and flavoring oils. The success story of this young entrepreneur is pretty amazing as Tea Drops originated in her California kitchen, and over the course of a few years has developed into a profitable business with a youthful and energetic team. #teamagic captures the spirit of these tea drops.
The variety of tea drops in this sampler included individually wrapped and uniquely shaped assorted flavors. There was Rose Earl Grey (sugar, organic black tea, with added rose petals and bergamot oil), Citrus Ginger (sugar with added orange peel, dried ginger, spearmint, and orange and lemon extracts), Sweet Peppermint (sugar with spearmint, peppermint and peppermint oil) and Matcha Green Tea (sugar and matcha green tea). The packaging clearly states that some sediment is expected, and as you can see in the photo, the finely ground tea leaves do not dissolve, but it does settle quickly to the bottom of the mug. Due to the size of the tea and herbs, full sweet flavor is quickly released. There is an ease to preparing tea this way, which leads me to believe that is what makes them so popular. With organic cane sugar listed as the first ingredient, these little teas are very sweet, particularly if you are not accustomed to adding sugar to your favorite tea.

 We reviewed Tea Drops on this blog in 2014, when they were still in the developmental stage and just introduced to the market. To Nancy, they were 'too sweet', and to Susanna, 'oh that's good, they taste like candy' which is pretty much the review we give them again in 2019.  On their website, they do have a product that does not include sugar, so they are attempting to meet the demand for something without added sugar.

With regards to their Matcha Green Tea, my reaction is simply, no. Even when prepared in a traditional Japanese chawan, this is not the way to brew matcha. And it is not a true representation of matcha. Skip what might seem like a convenience and purchase true unadulterated matcha.

Tea Drops are fun and convenient and easy to use. Just be aware that they are sweet.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day Tea!

Today we celebrated Valentine's Day in the tea room. The first course began with a Strawberry Salad topped with Feta Cheese and a sweet poppyseed dressing. Individual little pots of tea were offered to our guests before we served the salad. 

Sandwiches included a heart shaped Cucumber Sandwich, Strawberry Bread with a pink cream cheese heart piped on the bread, a Hearty Herb Filling on Tomato Basil Bread, Toasted Parmesan Cheese Heart (the favorite), and Cheddar Chicken Salad Triangles.

Scones served today include a heart shaped Traditional English Cream Scone and a triangular Chocolate Chip Scone with sweet cream and strawberry preserves along side fresh fruit, including strawberries cut to accent their natural heart shape!

And dessert rounded out the Afternoon Tea with a Cherry topped White Cake, decorated heart Sugar Cookie and Coconut Chocolate Candy. 
Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rose Shaped Folded Napkin - A Reprise

We have shared this napkin folding technique in year's past. These heart shaped napkins are perfect for Valentine's Day - and easy to do! Quietly convey a subtle statement about love with this fun napkin folding technique. In the language of flowers, roses symbolize love.

Take a large square napkin and fold it into a triangle.
 Beginning at the wide top edge, fold the napkin over and over and over, stopping slightly two thirds of the way. These two loose ends will form the leaves for the rose so it's important to have just the right amount!

Then, starting at the farthest right hand side, tightly roll the entire napkin towards the left. The trick here is to roll it tightly to form a tightly shaped blossom.

This is the trickiest part, when you can't roll the napkin any more, tuck that last bit of edge into bottom of the roll. And then re-tuck it when it flops back out!

Stand the rose upside down, and pull the 'leaves' out, each going opposite directions.

Turn it over, and voila, you have a beautiful rose napkin! A very special thank you to Betsy for sharing this creative napkin folding technique with me!
Our Valentine's Day teas will be extra special this year.

Monday, February 11, 2019

In Celebration of Valentine's Day

This past Sunday, the tea room was filled with happy guests dressed in pinks and reds and beautiful heart necklaces to celebrate Valentine's Day. The tables were set with red napkins folded into roses, and heart designs adorned both the menu and the tea lists. Tea orders were taken, and the Afternoon Tea began.

 The first course featured a Salad with fresh strawberries and ruby red raspberries, a touch of Parmesan cheese, a sprinkling of sugared pecans, and a glaze of sweet Poppyseed Dressing.

 The Sandwich plate included a Heart shaped Herbed Party Sandwich on Rye bread, Strawberry Glazed Brie Baguette, Miniature Broccoli and Swiss Quiche, Tomato and Egg with Parmesan Butter on Tomato Basil Bread and Cheddar and Apple Chicken Salad Triangle.

Scones were served next and they included a heart shaped Traditional English Cream Scone and a triangular Double Chocolate Scone which had mini chocolate chips added to the chocolate scone. Yum! And dessert was a medley of decorated White Cake, Sugar Cookies, and Coconut Cream Candy. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MATBA January Seminar - Kate Pearl Tea Room

Members of the Mid Atlantic Tea Business Association gathered at the Kate Pearl Tea Room at Gypsy's in Winchester, MD earlier this week for the first quarterly seminar of the new year. Members traveled from NJ, PA, MD, and VA to reunite with fellow tea business entrepreneurs, to share their stories and welcome new ideas, to listen to an educational program, and to enjoy a relaxing Afternoon Tea hosted by the new owners of the Kate Pearl Tea Room, Becky and Jessica, a mother/daughter duo.
Pristine white china graced the tables with tea themed treasures adorned the table, The tea menu was extensive, and guests selected their personal favorites as individual teapots were offered. The delightful young homeschooler graciously served our table with ease.

Warm Spinach Dip & Crackers

The first course featured an individual portion of Spinach Dip and Crackers. Above, MD member, Janet Meyers of Tea By Two in Bel Air, MD enjoyed being served tea! Following the appetizer, a fresh veggie soup of carrots, kale, and potatoes was served next. PA member, Susanna Reppert of The Rosemary House, is anxious to sample this tasty vegetable soup. Well seasoned and hearty, it was a good starter for the brisk cold day.

The next two courses included a large lavender honey scone drizzled with a lavender glaze and served with cream, lemon curd, and jelly. The salad was offered next, and it included blueberries, crispy apple pieces, and an apple cider vinaigrette.
Sparkling elderflower rose lemonade was served garnished with fresh blueberries. And, to complete the tea service, the three tiered tea tray laden with sandwiches and delicious desserts was served.

All  delicious, fresh, and tasty, it was a real treat to be served this lovely Royal Tea. There are different levels of tea service available, the Royal Tea required advance reservations. Dessert featured an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie dipped in White Chocolate, a sinful Chocolate Truffle, and a Rosemary Lemon Bar. Of course, shopping before and after tea was a must!