Sunday, May 23, 2021

International Tea Day

By a United Nations resolution signed in 2019, May 21st was officially declared International Tea Day as a way to recognize tea growers and producers from around the globe and to raise awareness of the long history of tea. The long term goal is to promote sustainable production, understand the cultural and economic contributions of tea, and raise awareness of the importance of fair trade in fighting hunger and poverty. 
In celebration of this day, we hosted a tea tasting session with a variety of teas from around the world. In the Rosemary House we poured three types of tea. There was an iced Sencha from Japan. Considered the everyday tea of Japan, this delightful fresh, green tea yields a mild grassy flavor. It is delicious hot or cold. With rising temperatures on a beautiful May afternoon, this tea was served iced. We also served Rosemary's Chai (India) and a Rooibos/Black Tea combination representing Africa since the red bush plant is grown and harvested in South Africa. 

Guests were invited to stroll the herbs gardens behind the shop and tea room, and sample a few additional teas under the pavilion. There was a Lavender Grey tea representing England. This lovely blend features lavender and bergamot added to the base tea. A hearty Keemun (China) and Formosa Oolong (Taiwan) rounded out the hot tea flavors served. 

There are several tea growing plantations scattered around the United States, from Mauna Kea Tea in Hawaii to the Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina and the Great Mississippi Tea Company in between. We decided to select a herbal beverage to represent the United States, a part of our own herbal history. Our mother developed the recipe for Patriot's Punch, which features a herbal mix of peppermint, sage, and rosemary, added to a lemonade base was served well chilled. She devised this recipe in celebration of the Bicentennial of 1976, and we have been making and selling the herbs ever since. It was the hit of the day as it offers a unique herbal flavor and a very refreshing punch on a warm day.
Susanna provided a table with handouts including a flyer on how to grow your own herbal tea garden. There was a copy of Nancy's scrapbook or recipes for attendees to take in honor of the 31st anniversary of the opening of Sweet Remembrances Tea Room. And the gardens offered a peaceful spot for reflection and relaxation, an oasis for as long as needed. 
Thank you for celebrating International Tea Day with a tea tasting around the world. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Refreshing Sweet Basil Julep

Looking for a lovely refreshing drink? This Sweet Basil Julep was served after the garden tour during National Herb Week. It was received with enthusiasm, is easy to prepare, delightful to serve, and delicious to boot!

Sweet Basil Julep

  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh large sweet basil leaves
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1 bottle ginger ale (32 oz.), well chilled
Combine minced basil with sugar and fruit juices and muddle gently. Chill in fridge for 2 - 3 hours. Whisk occasionally to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Just prior to serving, add water and chilled ginger ale and mix well. Serve iced, and, with a sprig of fresh basil as garnish.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Celebrating National Herb Week

Our annual celebration for National Herb Week took place this past Thursday evening in the garden. Masked up, distanced (unless with your own pod), and outside in the open air, Susanna guided a tour of the gardens. Last year we hosted a video tour of the gardens, so it was particularly enjoyable to welcome a host of guests to the garden for an in person touching, tasting, smelling tour. Susanna led the group around the gardens, explaining certain herbs, sharing our favorites, pointing out the hops, the fig tree, our rosemary plants and more. Questions answered, info shared, and pleasant weather all made for an enjoyable evening.

The garden tour concluded with an assortment of herbal goodies to sample. Nancy prepared individually plated herbal treats that featured Parsley, the herb of the year. Guests enjoyed local salad greens topped with a creamy parsley dressing, a petite baking powder biscuit that included parsley and spring onion, a cracker topped with parsley butter, a lemon currant cookie, and a refreshing basil julep.
The evening concluded with the guests creating a Herbal Dip Blend of their own design. Susanna provided a variety of dried culinary herbs; parsley, garlic, dill,  basil, etc. to mix and blend in a small baggie. Once completed, guests are encouraged to prepare the basic dip recipe at home using their unique blend of herbs mixed with mayonnaise and sour cream to serve with veggies or chips. 

Happy National Herb Week 2021! Celebrating 'Parsley', Herb of the Year!