Friday, July 30, 2010

Family Fun

On the way home from Ohio, Mary and I stopped in N. KY at the # 1 daughter's for supper and to pick up 9 year old granddaughter, KJ,  who had been visiting with her Aunt Melissa, Uncle Tim and cousin PJ for several days.  The children in the family are having a great summer with various activities, travels and day camps.
 All that is about to end because school starts here on August 11th. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beautiful Ohio Amish Country

On the way home from Canton, Ohio on Sunday, Mary and I drove through the beautiful Ohio Amish Country.  So quiet and peaceful. 
We stopped at Lehman's Hardware in Kidron.  Very few places are open on Sundays in the area.  We saw several Amish families in buggies, probably on the way to church.   We stopped in front of the house in the photo above to read the signs for eggs and vinegar for sale.  We rolled down the windows and just listened to the quiet, the insects and the breeze rustling the corn crops and the trees... 
What a lovely ending to our trip to Ohio! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Puerh Tea Tasting

Ingrid, certified Tea Sommelier and Culinary Consultant of Tea Occasions brought 23 year old compressed Puerh tea which she steeped to share with us.  Puerhs are different from most teas in that they are aged for 2 to 50 years before drinking. This was the first opportunity for several in our group to taste Puerh.  Pronounced "POOH-air," this tea  has a robust "earthly" flavor. For many tea drinkers, the musky, musty flavors make Puerhs an acquired taste.
I'll be the first to admit, I've not yet acquired the desire to taste very much Puerh, but I am grateful to Ingrid for bringing her special Puerh for us to taste. 

Note added later:  
Ingrid suggested pairing her delicious Chocolate Chamberd Truffles with the Puerh.  This gave the Puerh a different flavor, a little difficult to describe, perhaps a milder flavor and less earthy.   

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flaming Oolong Tea Demonstrated by Phyllis

Phyllis  has been a long-time online tea friend, and was a traveling companion on the 2007 Tea in London Tour.  Phyllis learned about serving Flaming Oolong Tea from Denise our tour leader and from Martha our California tea friend.  Phyllis prepared and served Flaming Oolong at our ATAA 10th Anniversary event at Amherst Rose in Massillon, Ohio.    
I admit I drank my flaming Oolong before I thought to take a photo.  Mary Jane sets her table with small "tasting cups" in addition to teacups.  We used those cups to taste the delicious Flaming Oolong. 

Phyllis used a very fine Cognac and Ingrid's lovely Oolong tea from Anxi to prepare this special beverage.
Directions for making Flaming Oolong can be found on eHow under "How to Use a Cognac Spoon"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gong Fu Ceremony By Ingrid Folkers

Ingrid Folkers is a Certified Tea Sommelier and Culinary Consultant from Toronto.  Ingrid is a member of Afternoon Tea Across America (ATAA) and also drove 6 hours to join in the weekend celebration of the 10th Anniversary of ATAA 
Ingrid shared the very special Gong Fu (Chinese) Tea Ceremony with us. 
We all participated in the ceremony as we sat around the dining room table.  Lori, Karen and Mary were Ingrid's guests of honor gathered around the ceremonial table.   
Ingrid steeped this year's crop of Oolong from Anxi, a delicious tea with a flowery note. 

Ingrid gifted each of us with the Gong Fu tasting cups and tray. 
Thanks so much Ingrid!
Ingrid and Mary
Mary was a guest of honor at the Gong Fu Ceremony. 

 Ingrid's business is Tea Occasions

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Vintage Grosvenor Teacup and Saucer

I found this pretty Grosvenor Bone China teacup and saucer while antique shopping in Canton, Ohio.  It is made in England and marked Jackson and Gosling Ltd.  I'm not sure what the pattern is called.  Are the flowers Bluebells?    The price was $10.  I thought it made a nice addition to my teacup collection. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Long Distance "Pot Luck" Tea Sandwich Recipes

I was one of the last to sign up to attend the "pot luck" ATAA Celebration Tea due to previous plans.  My schedule changed and Mary gladly agreed to accompany me to Ohio and most importantly to share the driving due to my painful right shoulder. 
The dessert menu was full when I signed up, therefore, I was asked to bring sandwiches or savories. 
OK, how do you take sandwiches and savories using a French theme to a pot luck tea 7+ hours from home?
I came up with two very simple, but tasty tea sandwiches to make the morning of the tea.  I purchased the groceries which I could safely transport in a cooler at home,  and we located a grocery store and a Panera Bread to purchase the rest.  I brought knives, cutting boards, Saran Wrap, paper towels, and other tools to use for food preparation.
My tea sandwiches (above) were:
Cucumber on Boursin Rounds with Dill
Brie and Fig Preserves on French Baguette Slices
Above, Mary is cutting out white bread circles using a biscuit cutter. 
Above the baguette is sliced and the cucumbers are draining on paper towels.
Our room at the Hampton Inn had a small refrigerator to keep our perishables in.  As you can see from the photos, our food prep area was the desk/table in the room. 

Cucumber and Boursin Rounds
1 loaf dense white bread (I used Pepperidge Farm Original White)
1 (5.2-oz.) Boursin Cheese (I used Garlic & Herbs Gournay Cheese)
1 seedless Cucumber, washed, sliced thing & drained on paper towels
Dill (fresh or dried)

Cut bread in circles and spread Boursin cheese on circles.  Add a slice of cucumber and sprinkle with dill.

Brie and Fig Preserves on French Baguette Slices
1 French Baguette
1 (5 oz. ) Alouette Creme de Brie (no rind)
1 small jar good quality fig preserves (I used Brasswell's, but I recommend a thicker fir preserves)

Slice the baguette thinly, spread with Brie and put approximately 1/4 teaspoon of fig preserves in the middle.  I placed small pieces of canned figs on the preserves for garnish.  I planned to garnish with a fresh raspberry on each until I found the figs.

More posts coming about this very special tea event..... 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Afternoon Tea at the Amherst Rose in Massillon, Ohio

Several members of Afternoon Tea Across America, an online tea discussion group, held a 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Amherst Rose Parlour and Gift Shop in Massillon, Ohio and at Paris in a Cup Tea Salon in Orange, California on Saturday, July 17, 2010. 
Mary and I drove 820 miles round-trip to be a part of the fantastic celebration in Massilon. 

Afternoon Tea Across America is an online discussion forum for Tea Enthusiasts on all levels, including tea room owners, tea educators, tea party caterers, tea journalists and authors of tea books,individuals in tea product development and sales, and tea hostesses.  The group has more than 350 members in North America. 
Mary Jane of Amherst Rose chose a French theme for our afternoon tea menu to co-ordinate with the CA group's tea at Paris in a Cup. 
Our celebration began with several toasts with the delicious Sence Rose Nectar.
A tradition at the Amherst Rose is to have dessert first.  The dessert was a petite cupcake with Rosewater Frosting shown in the photo below.
The unique and special feature of this afternoon tea was that it was a "pot luck" tea with foods being contributed by all the participants.  Believe me, it was not an easy task to provide tea foods from home when you have driven 6 1/2 house to tea. 
The soup, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque was made by Mary Jane.  The Cheddar and Chive Biscuits were made by Ingrid and brought her home in Toronto. 
The three tier server was loaded with warm Cherry and Plain Kensington Palace Scones made by Eve.  They were served withLemon Curd, Double Devon Cream, and Marmalady's Jams.
The sandwiches included Cucumber and Boursin Cheese Sandwiches and Brie and Fig Preserves on French Baguette Slices,
Lori provided Chicken Salad with Cashews and dried Cranberries on Croissants, Mary Jane made Herb Roasted Pork Loin on Olive Oil Bread with Horseradish Cream and Seasonal Fruit Stacks. 
Desserts included Chocolate Chambord Truffles and Lindt White Chocolate Hearts by Ingrid, Sweet Potato Muffins and Butter Finger Cookies by Sandy, Petit Fours and Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleine's by Phyllis, Strawberries a la Karen (cookies) by Karen and...
White Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Meringues, Rose Chocolates by Mary Jane and...
French Macarons from Pistacia Vera Bakery in Columbus, OH. 

Teas included:
Mariage Freres Marco Polo
Mariage Freres Darjeeling Princeton
Tregothnan English Estate Classic Tea
and three more very special teas to be highlighted in upcoming posts. 

This was a marathon afternoon tea lasting about five hours.  We connected by phone with Val and Martha and the California ATAA group and by skype with Gwen in Dayton and Marilyn in Portland, Oregon. 

We exchanged recipes and ideas.  There was much tea talk around the beautiful, bountiful table!

To be continued....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Amherst Rose and Parlour Gift Shop in Massillon, OH

On Saturday we visited the Amherst Rose in Massillon, Ohio for a very special tea event. But, first, I want to show you around Mary Jane Corwin's fabulous tea room.  Please enjoy the tour!
A special "welcome" at the front entrance (photos above and below).
Photos of the very well-stocked gift shop are below. 
Wont you join us for afternoon tea?
The piano "bar" is above. 
The main dining room is below.

These are photos of Mary Jane enjoying tea during travels. 
I met Mary Jane on the 2007 Tea in London Tour when she was working to refurbish this beautiful home in Massillon, Ohio to open a tea room.  It was a very long process with various contractors and health department regulations and inspections. 
I am so happy I visited the Amherst Rose, Mary Jane's tea room dream come true. 
This is one of the best tea rooms I have visited in all my tea travels. 
Please visit the Amherst Rose website here to see more.

I will share photos and details about a very, very special afternoon tea in my next post.....
This tea room closed in 2012

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