“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina led to several tea time opportunities in May as well as tea treasures to share plus the demonstration topic this month at Full Moon Natives & Herbs was All About . . . Tea Herbs.
A search of TeaMap always helps me to find local tea establishments where ever we travel and this time was no exception!! (Be sure and call first because some require advance reservations and some have actually gone out of business!)
TeaMap led us to the Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea Co in Banner Elk, NC, a lodge-style shop with a cozy atmosphere, some awesome sweets and a large loose leaf tea selection.
I had a chai latte with a slice of chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Great way to spend one of the rainy afternoons we experienced!
Visiting Thrift Stores was a daily part of our rainy day routine also – and there were several – rainy days and thrift stores to search! Of course, we discovered at least one treasure in each, but here are a few of my tea related finds:
Cups & saucers with designs on the inside of the cup to add to my growing collection plus you can never have enough napkins – both casual and elegant!
I even found a large cup & saucer that will soon become a fairy garden!
Yosefa AntiquiTEA in Boone, North Carolina has been open only about 6 months, but was very busy shortly after we arrived and since the tea is brewed individually as ordered, it was a unique experience as well as a Middle Eastern inspired sanctuary.
Lots of seating options – our café tables were right in front of the brewing station so we could watch each step of the process as our lattes were brewed and served with treats – oatmeal raisin cookies, lemon blueberry scones and chocolate layer cake!
The shop even offers a “Blending Bar” where you can combine your favorites to create your own signature blend!
Our last day in North Carolina included a visit to Biltmore – America’s Largest Home – in Asheville!
Although we didn’t have the opportunity to experience Afternoon Tea at the Inn on Biltmore Estates (we were 3rd on the waiting list, but no cancelations), we did have the opportunity to see “tea time” set-ups in several of the rooms in the house including the Salon, Tapestry Gallery and the Oak Sitting Room.
The Gardens were also amazing including this “Tea House” on the South Terrace with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
We purchased this cup and saucer at the Gate House Shop just outside the entrance which is a replica of one of the Vanderbilt’s china patterns plus the adorable yet impractical teapot infuser – think it will just look cute on display or even as an ornament on a Christmas tea tree!
Finally, All About . . . Tea Herbs at Full Moon Natives & Herbs today was an opportunity to share about Tea Herbscapes, indulge in Tea Time cuisine including a cooking demo by Marvette of Chamomile Biscotti & Savory Scones plus tasting of Herbes de Provence, Cucumber plus Strawberry-Lemon Balm Tea Sandwiches (Recipes can be found at http://fullmoonnatives.com/recipes.htm) and my Roselle Tea Cookies:
ROSELLE TEA COOKIES: Steep 1Tbs dried Roselle in 1/4c boiling water for 10 minutes, strain and cool. Cream together 1/2c butter and 1/2c sugar until creamy then add 1 egg. Blend in 2c flour, 1/2c cornmeal and 2Tbs of the tea. Crush 1Tbs Roselle and sprinkle into batter with 1/2tsp baking powder and a dash of salt. Add 1/2c chopped pecans and blend well. Form dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Slice log into 1/4" slices, place on ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.
I also demonstrated how to create your own custom tea blends using some of my favorite herbs. Blending information can be found in this earlier demonstration post along with a couple tea blend recipes, but here are the two blends we created and served along with the food today:
Fruit & Floral Fantasy
1/4c rose hips
2Tbs rose petals
Comfort & Joy
1Tbs lemon verbena
1Tbs cinnamon chips