Friday, December 22, 2023

Hydrangea Cottage Tea & Gifts, Pottsville, PA

A Sunday afternoon road trip took us to Hydrangea Cottage Tea & Gifts for shopping and afternoon tea. They are located at 409 W. Market Street in Pottsville and serve afternoon tea on the third weekend of the month. They also have a lovely gift shop that features seasonal d├ęcor and assorted treasures that is open through the week, 10 am - 5 pm (closed Sunday and Monday). We arrived early and enjoyed walking through the many rooms in this gift shop/tea room before we were seated for tea.

Our table was on the second floor, where we were offered the opportunity to select the tea cup we wanted to use. It was a tough choice from a selection of elegant English bone china tea cups.

Various sized tables can be found in the different rooms of the gift shop, with intimate seating for two, or mixed groups at a table for 10. We enjoyed chatting with two women from the area that frequent the tea room when they have special celebrations. Both the noon seating and the 3:00 seating that day were sold out. They are currently promoting the weekend of January 20/21 for their next tea event with a new menu. 

The menu for day was at each place setting, and a Cranberry Basil Scone in the shape of a tea pot was placed on a side plate before we were seated. There was a generous bowl of 'clotted cream' for the scone that was passed around the table.

Opening a tea room has been a long held dream for the owner, Eric Tice. He helped to pour and serve during the event, along with his mother, and two other servers. He announced the teas that were being served this day which included Piper & Leaf Cherry Christmas (a black tea with coconut, almonds, and fruits) and Simpson & Veil Winter Wonderland (a green rooibos blend with cacao nibs and cinnamon).
Scone laden with clotted cream.

Once we all had our tea poured, and our scone devoured, the soup course was served. The St Nicholas Soup is made with a variety of root vegetables. Warming and hearty, topped with croutons, it was a tasty interlude before the sandwiches were served.

The assorted sandwiches were presented on pedestaled cake plates. The sandwiches included a Turkey with Cranberry Chutney, Pickle & Olive Ham Salad (garnished with a sprig of arugula on top), and Herbed Egg Salad Canapes. The egg salad canapes featured a small round toasted wheat bread topped with thinly sliced radish and egg salad. It was noted by the host that each plate included enough sandwiches for every guest to have two of each variety.

Following the sandwich course, individually plated desserts were served and included a festive variety that featured Gumdrop Cupcakes, Coconut Cranberry Bars, and Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.
We enjoyed our Sunday afternoon getaway at this relatively new tea room, and came home with a few little treasures and surprises for under the tree.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Sweet Remembrances Candlelight Tea

 The candlelight casts a subtle hue throughout the tea room in quiet anticipation of a special evening. The annual Candlelight Tea is the culmination of the month of afternoon tea gatherings that begin with the holiday teas on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. There is a feeling of celebration in the air. 
This festive event began with a Pear & Pecan Salad, laden with goat cheese, parmesan cheese, sugared pecans, and an oil and vinegar dressing. The recipe is from Eating Royally, a book written by the chef to the royals. Our guests were also offered a complimentary glass of wine or a Cranberry Punch.

The sandwich medley included an Artichoke Truffle, Feta Cheese Round on Party Bread with a tree cut out from a turnip, Roast Beef and Vidalia onion relish on a lemon pepper chive muffin, Turkey and Provolone on cranberry bread, CranApple Chicken Salad Triangle, a warm and cheesy Cordon Bleu Melt, and Sun Dried Tomato Caprese in a petite phyllo cup.

The scone course included a Traditional English Cream Scone and a triangular Lemon Currant Scone served with Sweet Cream and Raspberry Preserves alongside assorted fresh fruit.

Desserts included Chocolate Toffee Torte (several layers of pure bliss), White Cake with a Holiday Medley (raisins, cherries, coconut, pecans and sherry), a truffle from Brittle Bark, our local chocolatier, and a Strawberry cream profiterole. Sweet endings, indeed.

And here's a peek at some of the holiday vignettes tucked about the tea room.  

Wishing a very happy holiday season to all of our friends, both near and far!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

A Christmas Carol Afternoon Tea

One of our holiday teas in December features the songs of the season performed by a local artist. This year, we welcomed Jeff Greenawalt as our strolling minstrel. He performed a selection of traditional Christmas carols as he moved throughout the tea room while our guests were enjoying their afternoon tea. At the end of the event, everyone joined in for a chorus of Jingle Bells and Silent Night. A video has been posted on our Facebook tea room page.
The afternoon tea began with a Cranberry Pecan Salad topped with craisins, sugared pecans, goat cheese, red onion, and a Raspberry vinaigrette.

The sandwich plate included a Veggie Confetti Round topped with a turnip cut into the shape of a Christmas tree, a Cucumber Square on Whole Grain Bread, Cranberry Bread with mascarpone filling, a Turkey and Havarti rollup on a spinach wrap, warm Brie & Apple Crostini and a Pistachio Cranberry Chicken Salad.

Freshly baked scones, lined up in the kitchen ready to be served next, included Traditional English Cream and White Chocolate Apricot Scone served with sweet cream and apricot preserves and a serving of fresh fruit.

The trio of petite desserts included a Raspberry Almond Puff, an Eggnog cookie, and a miniature chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate ganache topping. Yum!
Special thanks to Jeff Greenawalt for sharing his musical talents with our tea room guests.
Thanks also to Carla for sharing some of her photos for this post. 
Holiday Greetings to all!