From time to time something truly new and different comes across your path and you must take the time to learn more about it. That is exactly what happened with us and organic cacao tea from the Cacao Tea Co.
We did our research and found that this is not something new at all but has very ancient South American roots tied to the Mayans and Aztecs. This chocolate tea is not technically a tea at all and is made from minimally-processed, organic cacao husks which are simply crushed and roasted before brewing. The health benefits are extensive and include high levels of antioxidants, energy boosting and mood enhancing properties and it is calorie free when sipped neat. After several steeping sessions we were prepared to share our new discovery so we laid the tables for a Tea F.E.T.E. (Friday evening tea education) and quickly had a full house coming to this exciting class. Chocolate seems to have that effect on people!
Traditionally, this beverage would not be creamed or sweetened but what fun is there in that? We laid out a variety of creaming options and sweeteners and began our tasting session. First we tried it perfectly plain and those dark chocolate lovers believed they had found their dream drink! Others craved more of a milk chocolate experience and started experimenting with rich cream, condensed milks, liquid and powered sweeteners of all kinds. The results were clear: cacao tea is delicious pure and plain but when you add sweetened condensed coconut milk or cream and coconut sugar this beverage jumps up into the delicious dessert category. For a final twist we slow steeped a pot of classical Indian chai with cacao tea all afternoon then shared it with our guests. This was truly scrumptious and highly recommended by everyone.
So as hot chocolate season is upon us, consider this healthy, lower calorie alternative to the old childhood classic. You'll be glad you did! Learn more about this product at Cacao Tea Co.
Waiting for Christmas to arrive can bring out the impatient child in all of us. So a count down may be in order. You could make a paper chain or...
...get a Christmas tea count down calendar! This one from Adagio is full of brightly colored tea packets that look like beautifully wrapped presents themselves. There is a tea bag for each day right up to Christmas Eve and the selection is creative, delicious, and varied. You'll find herbals, blacks, greens, even whimsical tisanes such as Gingerbread and Candy Cane.
Just a sampling of what's waiting for you...
Each day open one perforated window and unwrap your present. Now the impatient child in you can settle down with a nice cup of tea and relax - you are one day closer to Christmas!
This merry calendar from Adagio is sure to bring a little joy (and tea!) into your Christmas count down.
I've been married to this Sailor for years now... 30 years to be exact, so it was time to celebrate and what better way to celebrate than with my favorite guy and TEA!
We journeyed north to West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, IN. This place was built in the early 20th century way out in the country and had an authentic "Old World" feel to it. I was smitten the moment I saw the red dome peak through the tree tops.
First stop was tea and what a tea it was! Delicious and elegant and so deeply enjoyed by both of us.
The harpist was lovely and had a beautiful smile and we could have lingered all day just to listen to her play but there was more to do on this celebratory get-away...
Next day, next stop was in Danville, KY, home of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas. I had placed an order for the tearoom before our trip and so I thought maybe, just maybe we could stop by and pick it up in person.
We got to sample a few teas I'd been interested in and had time to visit with my first tea mentor, Mr. Bruce Richardson and his lovely wife, Shelley. I was thrilled and could have stayed awhile longer but it was time to head home.
After all, after 30 years of marriage we had this beautiful bunch to get back to. My, it's been a spectacular 3 decades!
We love oolong so when Umi Tea Set asked us to sample one we said, "Yes, please!"
Umi Tea Set sent us a gorgeous box of oolong tea along with a chocolate brown gawain in which to perfectly steep the leaves. The gawain was lovely and warm in the hand and felt like the best brewing vessel for these twisted, large leaves in varying shades of black and green.
Once steeped, each twisted leaf opened up into a single medium-sized green tea leaf which yielded 3 good steepings of pale green/gold liquid that started out floral and moved to fishy by the last steeping. Refreshing and light, this oolong was enjoyed by all our tasters. Thank you, Umiteasets.com. Find Umi Tea Sets on facebook.
It's a long walk to our mailbox and sometimes on that walk I can start to dream about just what might be inside waiting for me. Today my dream came true!
Five unassuming black and white packets of premium, limited-quality, single origin, fine, loose-leaf teas were nestled into this little brown envelope. Let's put the kettle on.
Masters Tea from Adagio is a new line from an old favorite tea company. We have enjoyed Adagio Tea for years and even have 3 or 4 original blends for sale on their website. But Masters Tea is something new altogether. Read on to discover more.
Tongmu jin jun mei: This dark amber black tea had fragrance notes of cocoa and caramel. Beautiful to look at and perfect without any additions. The taste was oh, so smooth and velvety with a sweet, cool finish. Hard to beat this one. A very fine, agreeable Chinese tea.
Ali shan special: This oolong from Taiwan is special, indeed! The tight green balls of tea relaxed into 1 stem with 4 leaves once steeped. With an aroma of honeysuckle and fruity jelly beans, this straw colored elixir was delicious and sweet with flavors of peaches and creamy coconut. It felt very cool and clean in the mouth. One sip and you'd agree, truly something special in this cup!
Shincha gyokuro: This tea is in a separate class all its own. One often hears the expression, a bowl of tea or some even refer to tea as soup. Well, after trying this selection, we are learning why. This tea looks vastly different from most, like green/black spiky hair and the dry leaves smelled brothy, like chicken stock. It took a few tries to steep this one properly but we finally ended up with the palest yellow liquid sporting the biggest flavor profile. Very savory, salty, bouillon-like...the word is umami and it means a quality of a full, round, perfectly-complete flavor you cannot quite express. While we did not love this tea, we really wanted to and plan to learn more about it. Hopefully we will acquire a taste for it soon!
All these teas are available for purchase at www.adagio.com
At Three Sisters Tearoom we often feature edible flowers on our menu and as a garnish on our tea trays.
Such floral embelishments only add to the enchantment tea time brings.
Sometimes the edible flowers are used as centerpieces....
...but it wasn't until this little sweetie graced our tea table that we actually had a guest EAT the flowers from the vase in the center of the table!
Yep, it was our Birthday Tea and the day lilies really did look good enough to eat. After being told the flowers were edible, our pretty guest in pink plucked one from the vase, plopped it onto her plate, slathered it full of lemon curd, then, like a floral sushi roll, consumed it stamen, pistol, pedals and all!
If not for the smackerel of curd on her lips to give the secret away, one would never have known.
Barefoot Girl fledges our nest today. She's been planning this trip for some time and she'll be gone for a couple of months. She's off to study at L'Abri in Switzerland and now the date for departure has finally arrived.
Her bag is packed...a few clothes, books, her bible, and some tea.
A lot of tea actually, and a tiny Chinese tasting set so she can share tea with her new friends. After all, the best way to make new friends in a foreign country is to share a cup of tea with them. But tea reminds her of home, too. Oolong for Mum, lapsang for sisters, and Assam for a dear friend.
She's ready. I'm not...but I am happy. She's beautiful and precious and God has amazing things for her to do.
So, sail on Barefoot Girl, your time has come to shine. All you dreams are on their way. See how they shine! But if you need me, I'm sailing right behind....
Barefoot Girl and I were ready for the challenge as we tossed our overnight cases into the trunk of the car and headed due east to Asheville, NC early last Wednesday morning.
Five hours (and NO stops) later we arrived in front of the Smith-McDowell House in Asheville. This historic house is hosting a tea exhibit highlighting the many ways in which tea was enjoyed in a 19th century home. That would have been draw enough for us to visit, but we had also written two of the tea information panels on display in the house and we wanted to see the tearoom's name in print!
It was a thrilling moment and best of all, the tour ended with a delightful cup of tea lovingly prepared for us by the house docent. This capped off the event is a most perfect way! Visit wnchistory.org for more information on this exhibit which runs until September 28, 2019.
But it was only 4 o'clock and hours 'till sunset so what's a mom and her girl to do?
Tour the Biltmore of course! We found it was only 4 miles away so we reached the gate house fairly fast and spent the next 3 1/2 hours touring the mammoth gardens, green houses and hiking trails located on the grounds.
We stopped to smell the roses, actually Barefoot Girl smelled ALL the roses...
stood in awe of the beauty found in the green houses...
and walked barefoot around the wading pools.
We left the Biltmore as the sun was setting and went back the next morning for 3 additional hours, touring the house this time. Although there was no true tea happening there that day, we saw so many lovely tea services set up and ready for use in countless beautiful rooms and we did dream of having a cuppa on the open-air loggia.
Heading westward (home-bound) now we needed refreshment and after consulting destinationtea.com we found what turned out to be the perfect tea stop for us.
Nettie's Bakery is located in Waynesville, NC just west of Asheville off of I 40. What a treasure!
Our High Tea was ready when we arrived and included freshly prepared tomato soup, quiche, sandwiches, dodashes, (cheese straws in the round) baked goods, and really good loose leaf tea.
Tea friends are forever friends and this mother/daughter team own, serve, and bake for Nettie's Bakery, so named after a beloved grandmother. This place is worth a drive, a day trip or overnight adventure. Don't miss it!
We arrived home as the sun was setting and marveled over where those 24 hours had taken us. It was a wonderful tea-infused get-away with my VBF! Luv you, Barefoot Girl...
TEA is truly elusive and there is not one recipe for making a tea experience outstanding. However, when you have an outstanding tea experience, you know it! Recently I found myself with 6 hours to fill in Chattanooga while I waited for Barefoot Girl to complete her final exams. Tea is a good way to fill those hours and so I made my way to Polly Claire's, a tearoom in the historic Dent house on the east side of the city.
I was by myself and so I did overhear other patrons talk about the special occasions they were celebrating that day; a graduation, a birthday and even an engagement! Most had been there before and recounted their previous experiences to their table mates and the waitress using words in the superlative like, best ever and so special...
Aesthetically, Polly Claire's is a symphony to the eyes. The crispest white linens adorn the tables while comfortable chairs encircle them. Fresh flowers and candles enhance the tablescapes in an elegant, understated, French country sort of way. No detail is overlooked and one can prepare for a refreshing, enlivening tea experience. All the food is made fresh, in-house and you can taste it. I feasted on a special three-tired afternoon Mother's Day tea only after my pot of orange blossom oolong arrived, steeped to perfection, and a piping hot vanilla bean scone arrived with jam, lemon curd and cream. Teas like this don't happen every day, and I settled in to enjoy it. All of the desserts were recipes from former First Ladies and a charming little recipe booklet was left for me at my table. I hated to leave and my tea champion waitress, Addie, allowed, even encouraged, me to linger as long as I desired.
I was able to speak with the beautiful (inside and out) owner of Polly Claire's and thank her for this perfect tea experience and I told her I will be back, not soon enough, but I will be back. So, if you find yourself in Chattanooga with a few hours to spare, you know where to go!
Just on the boarder of East TN, in the small town of Ooltewah, the old courthouse on Church Street is now a tearoom and wedding chapel. Dancing Girl and I planned our trip and arrived on a brilliant, 75 degree May day.
We did not have a reservation as the website stated one was not needed. We were seated right away at a table for two in the Garden View Room which displayed layers of Victorian decór, heavy drapes, glass covered table cloth, and a faux tulip in a vase. The tea menu was medium sized at 8-10 loose teas, most of which were flavored. Dancing Girl selected Earl Grey and I chose English breakfast. Our server brought out delicious, well-prepared pots of hot tea and we ordered soup, quiche, and scones a la carte since there was no afternoon tea option. We were a little surprised to see "bologna sliders" as an item on a tea menu.
Over all, the food was fair and we did wonder how much was made in-house. The scones were a disappointment. They were not warm and did not appear freshly made. We talked with the owner for a few moments and learned some of the history of the building and that they host monthly themed afternoon tea special events then left feeling we'd had an satisfactory tea experience.
Our chickens lay beautiful eggs which need no embellishment but...
Easter is fast approaching and we had an idea.
Dancing Girl blew out the contents of several eggs and we made extra strong brews of matcha, lapsang and hibiscus teas. We dropped the empty eggs into the teas and waited.
After 12 hours the results were subtle but lovely and will look perfect on our Easter brunch table.
Spring is here and that means time to clean out the tearoom, reorganize, breathe a bit of fresh air into the place.
After having a look around with a critical eye, these mismatched tea trays screamed, MAKEOVER! After watching Jennifer Sullivan of Southern Royal Tea in North Carolina, give an instructional demonstration featuring ways to up-cycle items using chalk paint, we had a plan.
On a lovely sunny day, The Three Sisters got busy. Using chalk paint in off white, all the tea trays are now the same color giving our tea tables a unified look.
Fresh and clean...just like a breath of spring!
We don't often review tearooms outside TN but for Peace Hill Farm, we've made an exception. www.historicpeacehill.com/afternoon-tea ~ Charles City, VA.
Dancing Girl and I ventured out for tea on the very last day of our Virginia vacation, a cool and soggy day. The chalkboard sign was a cheery welcome to Peace Hill Farm and so was Louise, our hostess, a beautiful teacup from Bath, England.
We had the place to ourselves that day and chose to sit in a cozy sunroom and despite the lack of sun, it was bright and warm.
Our tea adventure began with a steaming bowl of pumpkin soup, scrumptious and homemade, as was everything we were served that day.
Our afternoon tea was a very generous tray of 4 different, freshly prepared and farm fresh sandwiches, tea cake, scone and shortbread. 4 or 5 loose-leaf tea options were just enough of a selection and our tea was piping hot and perfect.
Darjeeling tea and a rosemary scone.
We could have stayed even longer than we did, in fact, truly we could have stayed because Peace Hill Farm is also a bed and breakfast and events center, but our menfolk awaited our return and alas, we departed with promises to return...
Our quarterly Mid-TN Tea travels took us to Tea on the Mountain located in Tracy City, TN and the drive was cloaked in dense fog as we traversed the mountain pass from Middle TN. After an adventurous 2 hour drive, we arrived ready for tea! The tearoom was housed in a modest home built in the 1950s and located at end of a street on the outskirts of town.
The tearoom was dark and musty-smelling, the tea lukewarm and weak, food fair and overall just not what we had hoped for. However there were 12 of us at the table and we enjoyed each other's company and our time together.
On the coldest day of 2019 I wandered into this whimsical establishment located in Nashville at 935 Woodland St. www.highgardentea.com
Embraced by warmth and a mixture of pleasing, herbaceous aromas, once inside I began to have look around. Four walls of floor to celling teas and herbs in glass jars made this a lengthy process. The employees were first rate, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable. I purchased some loose herbs to take home and Iron Goddess of Mercy tea to enjoy onsite. I wandered deeper into one tiny room after another each with a unique focus; an incense table, a potter's closet, and lastly the fermenting room with kombuchas, of the most creative assortment, miso, and kefir. A few more purchases were made and then my oolong was ready.
I sat down at a small table that seemed to transported one outside under an arched tree canopy one a summer day and enjoyed an exquisite pot of dark oolong perfectly brewed by a really sweet guy who knew his tea stuff. I was not in a rush and lingered a good hour all the while enjoying the singularly distinctive environment of a true Tennessee tea treasure. Check it out for yourself!
Firepot Chai - www.firepot.com/pages/firepot-tea-bar
2905 12th Ave S - Nashville, TN 37204
Amidst the charming Arts and Craft bungalows of Nashville's 12 South neighborhood a fairly new and unique tea bar is tucked under an unassuming canvas awning.
Firepot Chai is a quiet shop where one can find refreshment from a busy day and outstanding, unusual loose-leaf tea steeped to perfection by skilled staffers who love and cherish the beverage themselves.
On a particular Wednesday, when time was not of the essence, I wandered into this little gem and ordered their signature black tea, Firepot Breakfast, and was warmed inside and out. This cheery, fragrant tea was the perfect morning cuppa and a single Energy Bite was the perfect compliment. Served in an aesthetically elegant way, I did enjoy each drop and felt no rush to leave, but languished instead on an oversized, sun-drenched window seat for the better part of an hour reading, writing and talking off and on to Chelsea, the low-key, unpretentious tea champion.
If you've not been, plan to go. I shall be back.
Well, the ball has dropped and the new year has begun. It's time for that beautiful tea-themed calendar your friend sent you last Christmas to make its way into the trash can, but wait! Here's the best idea ever for recycling lovely outdated calendars.
Unfold an envelope and trace it onto your calendar page, cut out, fold together and glue up the sides. In no time at all you have created a unique and interesting envelope sure to get attention each step along its mail journey.
Here are some made with a charming Susan Branch calendar. Just hated to throw that one away. Each envelope contains a poem or recipe for the recipient to enjoy at no extra charge. And with the increase in the price of postage stamps, that's a nice thing!
A sampling of our morning's work. Now go gather those 2018 calendars and get folding!
Today, December 16, 2018, marks the 245th anniversary of the most famous tea party in all history. A group of 60 men, dresses in Indian garb, stormed British ships in Boston Harbor which carried chests of tea from the East India Company. As large groups of cheering Bostonians encourage the men to toss 342 chests of tea overboard, the act was one of rebellion, protesting the duties imposed on many imported British items, of which tea was one.
In part, this event changed the beverage of choice for Americans for centuries to come. Slowly though, over time, we have returned to our first love and Tea is enjoying a renaissance in the US unlike any seen before in history.
This year, Three Sisters' Tearoom is pleased to be a part of the historic reenactment. Some of our tea will be amongst that pitched overboard into the Boston Harbor in the wee hours of the night. We even have a certificate to prove it!
Though each December 16th we commemorate the rebellious act of our Colonial forefathers, take comfort in knowing that tea is gaining popularity once again and we can boldly enjoy our beloved beverage!
Some things just go together, like autumn colors and chai flavors and sometimes, like today, they come together in one beautiful expression of bliss.
After visiting Piper and Leaf in Madison, AL with our tea travelers last week, we've been itching to try a selection of their autumnal tea blends. Today was the day. When we noticed one of the blends was names, Pumpkin Moonshine, we just had to include Tasha Tudor's very first book (by the same name) into the tea tasting.
We brewed the teas hot and strong and added steamed milk and honey. Pumpkin Moonshine was a very jolly tea with an aroma reminiscent of Yankee Candles. All the flavors of pumpkin pie were present and noted. Even dried pumpkin pieces were mixed into the blend giving it true visual appeal. We also sampled Trailblazer Blend which Barefoot Girl and Dancing Girl just loved because this blend is full of smokey lapsang souchong and for Butterfly Girl their Chocola-Tea (with real cacao nibs and cocoa chips) stole the show.
For over 20 years our family was moved by the military about every two years and soon after setting up a new home, my husband would be deployed and my search for fellowship would begin. It can be hard to make friends in small towns and in big cities and I did feel lonesome quite often.
One day, while browsing in a Christian bookstore, I caught sight of a book simply titled, “Tea Leaves.” Since I loved tea, I bought it on the spot. Later I discovered it was a devotional written by several missionary wives stationed around the world. They’d “meet” each morning over a cup of tea and the radio waves for a few moments of conversation. Each page told the story of one woman, her unique situation and how God faithfully met all her needs.
As I read the stories laced with verses - beautiful verses of hope and promise like,
“God has said, I will never leave you, never will I forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5 and “You will call and the Lord will answer, you will cry for help and He will say, Here am I.” Isaiah 58:9 and “Find rest, o my soul, in God alone. My hope comes from Him.”Psalm 62:5. I realized many of these ladies were lonely, just like me and craved fellowship, just like me only instead of joining a health club or the neighborhood game night, they found Perfect Fellowship in their relationship with Jesus Christ. I stopped looking for like-minded women to socialize with and instead sought to walk humbly with my God each day.
Fast forward 20+ years. My husband is now retired from the military and we have lived in the same small southern town for 8 years now. Fellowship can still be hard to come by. About 4 years ago, my daughters and I opened a small tearoom on our property and began to host tea gatherings. I am in awe of how lonely people can really be! Only the Lord could bring one beautiful soul after another to our tea table. Time and again customers become friends and then beloved sisters. We may not see each other often but we are in fellowship because of our faith in Jesus. A small prayer journal was placed on the shelf in the rest room and it is an honor to pray for the ladies as they have requested.
Yes, fellowship can be elusive but remember the Lord is standing by your side strengthening you. (2 Timothy 4:17) Ponder that promise over your teacup and be blessed.
“I have three teacups,” a friend told me after church today, “and each one has a story.” Yes, I’m sure they do, I thought and I asked her to share them with me. Seems that’s often the way it is with tea things, they have stories infused into them much like the delicate teas they hold, and those stories grow dearer with each passing year.
Tea has been called the cup of humanity and with good reason. It brings people together, it warms you inside and out, lifts spirits, cures what ails you and plenty more besides. Tea is good company when you find yourself alone yet it is the perfect beverage to serve to a crowd. You just cannot go wrong when you decide to put the kettle on.
So why such veneration for tea? Well, I think it goes back to my friend’s comment. It’s the stories connected to the cups. When pulling out the delicate white and gold fleur-de-lis teacup Daddy gave to Mum as an anniversary gift over 40 years ago, I think of them both. He is gone now but handling that cup brings him to mind and into my heart.
I smile as I choose a white porcelain cup hand-painted with vibrant blue morning glories that my husband brought back from an over seas deployment when we were first married. Those separations were lonesome times for me and that cup holds those bittersweet yet beautiful memories.
My hand is extremely gentle as I reach for the seemingly eggshell thin lusterware cup in muted shades of steely blue, white and grey which beautiful Barefoot Girl gave me as a birthday gift last year. I use that one a lot, despite its fragility, because I love it and I love her and it feels so good in the palm of my hand.
Yes, I too can say, I have three teacups and each one has a story. As your eye rests on a tea item in your china cabinet, what story does it have to share? Put the kettle on and tell me all about it!
July is National Iced Tea Month and, until I met my southern husband, I never understood why folks chilled a perfectly good cup of hot tea. After nearly 30 years of marriage, I've learned a thing or two about this beverage and I share it now with you.
In the South, many a native would naturally assume iced tea was born right here in the heart of Dixie, but they’d be wrong. Although a few old cookbooks from the late 1880s and 90s have been found to include instructions for this chilled amber elixir, it wasn’t until the dawn of the 20th century that iced tea truly arrived on the scene in this country.
In 1904 at the World’s Fair held in St Louis, MO, the beverage was truly born. A young Englishman, Richard Blechynden, employed by the East India Company, had a plan to bring robust Indian black tea to America. Up until this time much of the tea coming into the US was green and from China. Mr. Blechynden brought a few well- trained Indian servants dressed in traditional clothing, complete with turbans, with him to serve this hot tea with true Indian flair. Sadly, opening day at the fair reached more than 90ºF and no one could bear to try the hot black tea, no matter how delicious it might have been.
Now Mr. Blechynden was a business man and quickly altered his plan to push his product on the public despite the heat. The hot tea was poured over ice and suddenly his stand was very popular. The public loved the bold black tea from Indian and they loved it cold. The beverage was taken home by fair-goers and shared with family and friends and soon Iced Tea was enjoyed from coast to coast. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, iced tea remains a very popular beverage in the U.S. with up to 80% of all tea consumed cold.
Here’s my personal favorite iced tea recipe: 4 tsp strong black Assam loose-leaf tea in one quart of spring water. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Next morning, strain out tea leaves and enjoy! For a far more celebratory beverage, add cream or better still, a bit of sweetened condensed milk. Yum!
This method is called cold brew for obvious reasons and is quite popular right now. So popular, in fact, that tea companies are making all kinds of special brewing vessels just for this type of tea. My favorite pitcher and strainer all-in-one is shown in this photo and if you would like one, please contact The Three Sisters!
Tucked in amongst the tea accouterments are a few oddities worth mentioning. In an earlier post the illustrious "slops" pot was highlighted but here are a few more items sure to make you scratch your head.
This cute little cup is delicate, colorful and very feminine, but wait...it has TWO handles! Have you ever seen a teacup like that? Chances are no, not a tea cup. This is actually a soup cup and the two handles are held for sipping consommé or other clear broth soups. So it's not a teacup at all. Looks can be deceiving!
How about this one? Still looks like a teacup, even has one handle just like it should, but what's the bat wing doing in there? Well, this one is a mustache cup. Yes, you read that right. During Victorian times and into the Edwardian era these were offered to men with facial hair in an attempt to keep the mustache dry. As improvements in razors were made and beards fell out of fashion, so too did the mustache cup. One very amusing fact to point out is that these teacups for men were often so flowery and fancy. Not at all what you would except a man to use!
Hummm, coasters perhaps? That would be an excellent guess. These are called cup plates and they were used for a short period of time by hot tea drinkers in England and the Colonies. When tea was too hot to drink directly from the cup, a small amount was poured into the saucer, given a moment to cool, then drunk. But the bottom of the teacup could not be placed back in the saucer while this was happening and it was unthinkably poor manners to set a cup directly on the table so...the cup plate was created. Like the tea table needed one more item on it! Today these plates are quite collectable and often feature some kind of local historic motif on the surface.
This one is easy. A circa 1950-60s luncheon plate with matching punch/teacup, right? Well, yes but...
6178 Adamson Circle * Chattanooga, TN 37416 *(423)521-4832 *www.pollyclaires.com
We were looking for a tearoom to visit as we planned to celebrate Barefoot Girl's final, final exam at UT Chat and had read about Polly Claire's in the Tennessee Home and Farm magazine. We made reservations and headed out. The tearoom is situated inside the completely renovated historic Dent House, circa 1854, and is just lovely to behold from the exterior.
The interior is beautiful, too! We were seated at a comfortable table by a window and after making a selection from nearly 30 loose leaf teas, exhaled, relaxed and steeped in the beauty which surrounded us.
We enjoyed the afternoon tea, which was classic, fresh, so delicious and well-balanced in flavors... you know, not-too-sweet! The portions looked so small but don't be fooled, we left our table extremely sated and feeling so refreshed. It was a delightful experience! Polly Claire's is family-owned with a well-trained wait staff who really know their teas. In addition to afternoon tea, they also serve daily lunches and dinners and are available for private parties. Behind the house is a charming gift store full of their signature Royal Albert china, books and other lovely keepsakes. We drove about three hours to enjoy this tea and would do it again in a heartbeat!
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!