Monday, December 23, 2013

The true gift of a teatime celebration

For the third year, I have discovered there are many people who have longed for the foods served at their family table at Christmas.  Each year I have added something new to the menu, as well as invited people who haven't attended in the past. Besides sharing our childhood Christmas traditions and memories around the foods that invoked these thoughts, the goal is always for each guest to experience the true gift of a teatime celebration.

Realizing my gifts are baking, preparing, hosting and serving, holding a tea is a true joy for me.

My Christmas favorites, traditional foods according to my own nationality are these: 

Pork Pies (French)
Mince Meat Pie
Plum Pudding (Cornwall, England)

This year I made mini pork pies by using a combination of our families' recipes and those I read on the internet.
Having found a recipe last year for mince meat, I was proud to serve my own in the form of mini pies or tarts.

The Plum Pudding and white sauce is the traditional food that my Christmas teas revolved around.  Either the family member who had always made it had passed away, or no one ever attempted to make it themselves. The recipe I use is my own version of our family recipe.  And this year I made two since I had so many requests.

Just the aroma of each of these three favorites, would send anyone who had once experienced them, into childhood memories...... visions of plum pudding danced in our head!

No teatime celebration is complete without sweet treats, new recipes for me this year.

Chocolate Fudge (low sugar)
White Chocolate Cherry Fudge
Cathedral window cookies
Linzer cookies

The teas were Youthberry, a white tea from Teavana, and my standard black tea, PG Tips.

In my dining room and living room, 11 people were served, some who were my long-time tea party friends, and some who had never met each other.  That is the most I've ever served at one seating.

Two things I did differently made serving and enjoying the tea a great success: 
making the tea in the urn so it would be ready and hot as needed; and
accepting the offers of help from friends, Suzie and Kathy (thank you so much!)

The guests looked at the ornaments on the tree, and found their places at the tables.  In no time the hum of women visiting and enjoying the moment was a wonderful sound.

I also shared some of my favorite tea time resources as six had never been to tea:

Tea Time Magazine
Laura Childs' Tea Time Mystery Books
A Cup of Christmas Tea and other tea books
My scrapbook of teas and tea presentations, dating back to the early 1990's
Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

My cousin, and tea loving friend, Wendy, shared two beautiful readings which I will put in my Christmas post.

To quote Emilie Barnes:
"Perhaps that is the true gift of a teatime celebration:  It fills our cups with joy and warmth and friendship.  May the echo of the teacups' message be heard not only at Christmas, not only on special occasions, but anytime friends come together."

Thank you to everyone who attended, enjoyed an afternoon of traditional foods, and friendships over a cup of tea!  Sue
















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