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!