by Kim Waller and From the Editors of Victoria Magazine
An Edible Book Review inspired by Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.
“Whether we’re enjoying a morning break, a quiet afternoon respite, or a soothing moment at day’s end, tea is a ready indulgence. And Victoria has the ideal accompaniment to this celestial beverage.”
“Victoria The Essential Tea Companion collects the best of three classic Victoria books in a single completely redesigned and beautiful volume. It serves up history and lore, advice on brewing the perfect pot, notes on collectible china, and best of all, menus for eight themed parties, from a children’s tea to a bridal shower. Here are more than 100 recipes for sandwiches, scones, tarts, cakes, savories, breads, and biscuits, as well as flavored teas both hot and iced, and honeys, spreads, and jams. An authoritative appendix provides the elegant final touch.”
This book is a feast for the eyes & senses~ I could spend hours pouring over the pages. . .as it was, my camera was busy so this is a photo intensive post~
There are plenty of ideas & inspiration to be found, not the least of which is food for a tea or party… I was tempted by Stilton, Pear & Watercress Savory Toasts, Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwiches, Rose Petal Scones~ which make me long to have organic roses growing in my garden, and a Honey Tart– pretty latticework with a honey-kissed cheese filling, just to name a few.
I stumbled on these Victorian-style shoes designed as planters, that were the inspiration for hosting a “dress up” tea. They are sprouting flowers and offering up sweet treats, as well as flatware on the table~
Butterflies were essential for my tea~ they fluttered in and landed on cupcakes, and showed in the form of brooches, dressing up my napkins & embellishing my flatware.
I discovered Portmeirion Botanic Garden Flatware for a bargain price at HomeGoods. If you look closely you can see a butterfly stamped on the fork.
Little cups for little girls~
My husband’s grandmother’s hats are embellished with a pin, in the same fashion as my Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and placed on chairs at the table~
The Charm of Chintz:
“Despite today’s climbing prices, this was once humble daily china, a blithe flower show that brightened ordinary English homes and was just as cheerful as the fabric it was derived from. Indeed, the story is told of chintzware’s originator, Leonard Grimwade, found of the Royal Winton potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, that he once stopped a lady in the street so he could copy the floral pattern of her pinafore.”
“In the heyday of chintzware—the 1920s to the 1960s—many potteries were turning out patterns with fetching names like ‘Julia,’ ‘Sunshine,’ ‘Hazel,’ and ‘Summertime,’ each a favorite of collectors today.”
Philly Strawberry Tea Sandwiches with a Twist, recipe courtesy The Hungry Housewife
Morning’s First Cup:
“Brew a cup; brew a day. Unhurriedly. The sunrise song of tea is lyrical, but with bracing undertones. ‘Of course you can,’ it murmurs encouragingly. The flavor holds a hint of far lands, yet is as familiar as the cat that comes to nuzzle your leg or sunlight on the windowsill. And as you lift your first cup of tea and feel its warmth the day’s challenges settle into perspective.”
Athens Mini Fillo Shells~lots of appetizer ideas & recipes to be found courtesy of Athens~ essential for quick & tasty bites. I filled some with lemon curd & berries for a sweet bite and some with chicken salad for something savory to sample.
“Tea is a daily companion that never fails us. It warms when we—or the world—feel cold, gives strength when we’re weary, and lends delicious grace notes to our gatherings. From the first cheery chortle of the kettle at dawn to the fragrance of an evening cup as the house quiets and we turn to our reading, tea can be counted on to smooth and save the day.”
Butterfly Cucumber-Basil Tea Sandwiches
Mix 1 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese, with 2 T mayonnaise to make the consistency of soft butter, and stir in 2 T snipped fresh chives.
Spread mix on both sides of thin white sandwich bread cut with a cookie cutter. Layer thinly sliced English (seedless) cucumber, top with a basil leaf to complement the sweetness of the cucumber.
Watch them fly off the table :-)
“What turns a drink of tea into an occasion? Often, the cup it is served in—no doubt one reason why so many tea lovers are just as devoted to lovely china as they are their orange pekoe or lapsang souchong. However, your tea set doesn’t need to be Wedgwood or blue willow to bring joy and beauty to teatime.”
“Collecting can start with the jog of a childhood memory—perhaps a swirl of rosebuds recalls some long-ago cup in which an adored grandmother offered you a bit of sweet, milky tea scenting with cinnamon.”
“Take care with the food, brew a bracing pot of tea, but most important, enjoy the warmth and joy possible only when good friends gather for a party.”
The Food for Thought gods were smiling on me as I was working on this review. I discovered to my delight, I had won one of several packages of treats from Pondside for an anniversary giveaway.
Not only did Honora send me Tea, specifically Library Blend, along with a sweet box of Chocolates, but my “petit pacquet” flew over from Victoria, British Columbia.
(insert Twilight Zone music here :-)
Murchie’s is listed as a select source for tea & tea accessories in the back of the book and can be visited here.
So thank you Pondside for my Murchie’s Library Tea & Purdy’s Chocolate~ a perfect duo to accompany a good book, especially one about the ceremony & ritual of tea!
Dishes~ G. Demartine & Cie
Assorted Napkins, Tea Cups & Tea Pots~ HomeGoods
Chintz Tea Set~ Royal Albert ~ HomeGoods
Portmeirion Botanic Garden Flatware~ HomeGoods
Leaf Demitasse Spoons~ Two’s Company~ Tuesday Morning
Shoes~ Stein Mart
“Explore the many joys of teatime with Victoria’s recipes for sublime teas and classic treats, charming party suggestions, and ideas for building an exquisite collection of cups, saucers, and teapots. It’s all served up with sumptuous photographs that pay homage to a gracious ritual.”