Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sweet Remembrances Annual Holiday Tea - 2021

 The tea room is decorated a week before Thanksgiving in preparation for the holiday celebrations that begin the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tea pot tree is in its place, the holiday china pulled from storage, and seasonal music is in the air. Always a popular way to entertain out of town guests, or simply an opportunity to get 'into the spirit', these holiday teas have been a tradition for well over thirty years! 

Once our guests are seated, individual pots of tea with their selected flavor are served. Once everyone has their tea, a fresh green salad topped with red and green apples, Parmesan Cheese, sugared pecans and sweet craisins, dressed with a homemade cranberry dressing is served.

The sandwich array is presented next. This holiday it featured an Apple Sandwich with Cinnamon Honey Butter on Raising Bread. The tip of the sandwich was covered with pecans. There was a Pimiento Cheese Sandwich topped with petite garlic sweet pickles. A warm and savory Rolled Asparagus Sandwich with blue cheese filling graced the plate while a Cranberry Pistachio Chicken Salad Sandwich was served on white bread. A Puff Pastry sandwich with Goat Cheese and assorted vegetables completed the plate of sandwiches. 

The featured scones included our customary Traditional English cream Scone served alongside a Cranberry Orange Pecan Scone. Sweet Cream, Orange Marmalade and Fresh Fruit completed the plate.

The dessert medley included a Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Rosette frosting, a Snickerdoodle cookie with cinnamon chips in the cookie, and a yummy Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream Topping. That one seemed to be the favorite. A special thank you to all of our guests that attended the first holiday teas of the 2021 season.
Santa-themed trinkets in the hallway include a jolly old tea-for-one pot that I'm sure Santa would just love. The little stitchery in the frame was worked by a family friend and says 'Santa's Pot of Tea'. Lots of little treasures can be found throughout the tea room that add to the festivity. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Tea by Two, Bel Air, MD

After a long year plus of Zoom sessions, members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association (MATBA) gathered together in person at fellow tea business Tea by Two in Bel Air, MD for their quarterly meeting in October. The day begins with a morning welcoming session as members traveled from NJ, PA, and MD to attend this special gathering. Assorted flavors of tea seated upon warming pots greeted the members. There was also a mini breakfast buffet with an egg casserole, fresh fruit, and jumbo sweet muffins.  

Since this took place in October, the tea room d├ęcor was set for the fall season. Owners Janet and Erin have been active members of the tea association since it was first created in 2005. Their welcoming hospitality was a good place to enjoy our first official in-person gathering. After an informative program, we gathered in the gift shop as the tables were being set for tea.  

Individual teapots offered members a chance to select their personal favorite tea among a wide selection of choices. Once the tables were set, members seated, and the first cup of tea was poured, the tea service began. There is a Pai Mu Tan white tea in the coordinated white tea pot.
Thick and warm Butternut Squash soup was the first course. A perfect selection for this fall afternoon. After the soup, the three tiered tray laden with a wide variety of seasonal tea time treats was presented to each table.
Scones, Sandwiches, and Desserts rounded out the tier.

The Tea Sandwiches, served on the middle tier, included a Cucumber Sandwich, Roast Beef, Carrot & Cheddar on pumpernickel rye bread, and Pumpkin & Apple Sandwich. All very fresh and tasty.

A warm Cranberry Scone served with lemon curd and sweet cream was on the bottom tier.

The top tier held a delectable array of desserts, their 'happy ending' that included Pumpkin Spice Muffin, an Autumn Sugar Cookie, and an Almond Toffee Bar. All delicious.

MATBA President, Debbie Raab of Tea-For-All in Trenton, NJ, presided over the business portion of the gathering. Tea-for-All will be the destination for our next in-person meeting in April 2022. Our membership consists of tea business entrepreneurs, tea room owner, tea bloggers, and tea educators, within a 7 state region, including NY, NJ, MD, PA, DE, WV, VA and DC. We also have out-of-region membership opportunities, and we offer Zoom meetings for those unable to attend. Fellow member and tea mentor Jennifer Petersen of Tea Trade Mart joined the meeting via Zoom from Vancouver, WA.

Shopping and socializing in the gift shop before and again after the meeting. It was a good opportunity to be gathered with fellow tea business enthusiasts for the afternoon. Special thanks to Erin and Janet for hosting our first in-person gathering. 

Looking for a clever way to display teacups that no longer have their saucers? Here's a unique idea that you might consider.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Piccadilly Coffee & Tea House, Lancaster, PA

Earlier this year, a 'girl's getaway' coupled with a birthday celebration took us on a quick jaunt to Lancaster, PA to Piccadilly Coffee & Tea House. This casual destination satisfies both the coffee drinker and the tea connoisseur as it cleverly divides the modern coffee area from the traditional tea house seating area. Of course, we enjoyed the afternoon tea part of this location.
There is a wide assortment of teas to select, always making it a difficult choice! Our group of four each chose a different flavor, offering the chance for each of us to sample the others selection. We had a range of flavors from a lovely herbal, spicy chai, and traditional black tea. The tea was brought to the table with a small timer and instructions to enjoy your tea after the steeping time ended.

The tiered tray was laden with a wide variety of sandwiches, scones and desserts.

We were eager to sample and savor the variety on the tier. And happy to be enjoying a Sunday afternoon tea with friend Patti who met us here.
 This is the view looking back into the coffee shop area while seated in the tea house area. The cushioned blue chairs are part of the tea room section. 

Friday, November 5, 2021

A Fortnum & Mason Hamper Thank you!

Such an incredible and generous thank you gift traveled across the pond and landed on our very doorstep. We are humbled by the thoughtfulness of tea friends with this lovely surprise from the fabulous upscale department store in Piccadilly, London, England. Only ever a dream, a Fortnum & Mason Hamper was ours to open.

Packed full of lovely and delicious tea related items, we opened the hamper to find two tall elegantly slender cookie tins containing Pistachio & Clotted Cream Biscuits and Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscuits. The Macadamia Nut Biscuits are described as being rich, dark biscuits with an early crunch that manages to melt away in the mouth, being 'reliably remarkable'. Simply reading the tins is pleasurable!

The Pistachio & Clotted Cream Biscuits contain pistachios from monkey-filled forests, and clotted cream from English herds. Charmingly delicious descriptions.

Underneath the cookies, the second layer contained two tins of Fortnum's tea, including Earl Grey Classic and an Assam. Fortnum & Mason is famous for tea, and began trading in 1707, quickly establishing a tradition for quality and service that has been maintained to this day. The tins are gorgeous, reading the history on each tin is fascinating.  A large jar of Strawberry preserves and a round box of Sea Salted Caramel Truffles completed the gift. The description of the truffles; milk and dark chocolate sea salted caramel truffles balance lavish caramel with fine grey sea salt from the French Island of Noirmoutier. Opposites attract. While the bottom of the truffles listed a 'best by' date followed by the small print, -if you haven't indulged sooner. No need to worry about the 'best by' date. 
Thank you so much to incredible friends for this lavish gift. We are still enjoying it!