Each April, when the violets begin to bloom, it's time!
Butterfly Girl gathers cups and cups of tiny violet blossoms in her basket and then the fun begins.
Inside, we steep 4 cups of flowers in 1 3/4 cups boiling water for an hour or so, then strain out the beautiful azure water into a large clear glass and add 1/4 cup lemon juice. Don't look away or you'll miss the magic! (Actually the violet "tea" is just a ph indicator but to think of it as magic is so much more fun!)
Next, bring the liquids to a boil in a large pot then add 1 oz of pectin and 2 cups of sugar to liquids, return to a rolling boil, stirring constantly for one minute and remove from heat, pour into 1/2 pint hot canning jars, place on sterilized lids and rims and water bath 5 minutes. Makes about 3 half pints. Just enough to enjoy but not too much...it's rather sweet, but, oh my, how pretty it looks on classic cream scones! Enjoy this spring treat with a cup of English Breakfast tea with milk or perhaps a small spoonful of...violet jelly!
On occasion, when the tulips are in bloom, Crescent Bend House and Gardens in Knoxville, TN hosts afternoon teas inside their historic home. Mid-TN Tea Travelers made reservations and then trekked east on I-40. The tea was held in a gorgeous, white, sunlit room overlooking terraced gardens and the Tennessee River.
Our tables were elegantly laid in the colors of Easter eggs and three-tired trays held our meal. We enjoyed a fun demonstration on scarf tying, received various door prized and ended the event with a tour of the house and gardens. The tea was catered by a local café and the menu was very traditional and good, though a little too sweet overall. Tea was a selection of teabags with snappy hot water refills. We lingered and enjoyed the beauty of the day, historic location and each other's company before climbing into the car and heading home. Because of all Crescent Bend blends together for this special afternoon tea it is worth the drive and at $25 per person it was very reasonably priced as well.
On a fine, sun-filled April morning our Mid-TN Tea Travelers made plans to journey to McMinnville, TN and enjoy afternoon tea at Falcon Rest Mansion and Tearoom.
This self-described Victorian tearoom was inside a separate, small, dark building with no windows across a gravel lot from the historic mansion also located on the property. Our building was 2/3 musty gift shop and 1/3 pink tearoom.
There were no other guests there that day. All our food and additional hot water was prepared and brought from another building and was very slow in coming. Our meal came pre-plated, as show above, under a domed metal cover. The food was fair and sadly the tea was a selection of teabags with warm water refills from time to time. Overall we were disappointed in this tearoom experience yet, as always, we enjoyed our time together.
"Drink tea and make friends." Chinese Proverb
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