Thursday, November 3, 2011


It's always nice to come up with different menus
for afternoon tea. 

Open face sandwiches are a bit lighter with one less piece of bread
and offer a nice layering effect visually.

Picking the right bread for the filling
is another subtle aesthetic than can elevate the flavors.

There is a famous bakery (boulangerie) in Paris that locals flock to for their daily bread and many fine dining establishments serve throughout the city.  Poilâne bread differs from the usual baquettes found in most bakeries and stores because it is a sourdough bread made with stone-ground flour, sea salt from Guérande and a wood-fired oven.  Poilâne has a small range of breads to ensure their quality. Each bread was developed to satisfy a specific use.

Today's recipe is directly taken from Lionel Poilane's Favourite Savoury Tartines cookbook.  Tartines are the French version of open-faced sandwiches.  He calls it "borderless food." 


  • 12 oz / 350g  eggplant
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4t tomato paste
  • 1T vinegar (not malt)
  • 1 pinch of oregano or fresh coriander, according to preference
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Grill the eggplant for around fifteen minutes, turning it occasionally
so that the skin chars all around.
Remove from oven, and peel while still hot.
Slice in half and cut into pieces.

Saute the onion slightly in a little olive oil,
then put into the food processor bowl with all the other ingredients.
Process until you have a paste, and then
add in olive oil slowly as if you were making mayonnaise.

Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

When ready to serve

Spread the mixture thickly on slices of warm toast, and enjoy.

If you would like to learn more about Poilâne,
here is their website:

Friday, September 16, 2011


We are so pleased to announce the launch of our new, exclusively designed product


The idea came when I would go to afternoon tea and try the different flavors, usually finding a favorite.  I would forget which ones I liked or where I bought the tea and even though sometimes I'd write it down could not find it when I needed it.  So I created a small journal specifically to keep that information.  

For my Planning A Tea Party Workshops (,  part of the class included a tea tasting so I revised the formatted pages as a handout to use not only for the tea tasting portion but for the afternoon tea that followed.  The tea room I taught in had 300 varieties to choose from so my handout was helpful in remembering the ones they liked.

That tea room carried an early version of the journal which was made with handmade paper but now has evolved into a hand bound and a spiral bound version.
  The hand bound has a dark brown, pebble-textured, leather-like cover, with an inside pocket to hold a pen, business cards, folded menus, etc.  It is trimmed and ties with a matching dark brown silk cord and a silver tone tea pot charm to accent it.

The spiral covers are offered in top and side spiral bound versions and a choice of cream or light brown cover with the word TEA hand stamped in a random pattern.

I designed and carved the stamp myself, making the letters in the shape of tea leaves.

The inside pages for all of the journals are cream color with dark brown ink and the paper is Green Seal Certified.  I wanted the colors and tones to echo the colors of tea and cream.  They are just the right size to easily slip into a purse or pocket when you go on your tea adventures.

After monitoring tea shops, the internet, and tea sites as I developed these designs, it appears I am the only one in the world that offers them. 

They make a wonderful addition to any tea gift basket.  The journals are a labor of love and I am very proud to offer them for purchase.

If you are interested in purchasing them, or want additional information such as detailed descriptions, photos, company profile or view other products also available, please visit my on-line store at:

Hope you have a T-lightful day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


As it turns out, there are many other uses for tea besides drinking it. 

From time to time I will be introducing some of these other uses.

Today's use:  
YOUR PLANTS         

If you have leftover tea, you can dilute it a bit further and feed it to your plants.  It's recommended that you do this every third watering.

And you can also use brewed leaves as a mulch for your plants.

Not only will you be exercising your green thumb, you are also living green by recycling. 
Win, win.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

FYI ... moved my blog here

My original tea blog was on a different blog site
but I did not find it user friendly.

Now TEA PARTY INVITATION has a new home here on blogspot and we couldn't be happier.

Hope you enjoy our new home and visit often. 
You are welcome any time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


You want a cup of tea, tea bags are a given.  It's what most of us grew up with and use.
In restaurants and cafes, when you ask for hot tea, it comes in a tea bag.  For a long time, it was Lipton orange pekoe tea.   There were no choices until its popularity changed supply and demand.  Now there are a variety with about half of the selections being herbal, which is not really a tea.

At home, it's pretty much the same thing -- fast, easy, done.

But as tea rooms have emerged over the past fifteen years or so, more people are becoming aware of tea and its rituals.  So much so that it's now more chic to celebrate birthdays, holiday luncheons, baby or wedding showers with afternoon tea.  And if the tea room is a true tea room, they serve loose tea. 
It might be why people enjoy going there.  Loose tea, how do you use it?  Looks like a lot of work and probably complicated to brew so why figure it out, just go to the tea room and they'll do it for you.

The first time I had brewed loose tea was in a tea room.  I did what I always did, added milk and sugar.
When the server saw what I had done, her eyes widened and I knew I must be doing it wrong.  Were there rules for drinking tea, a certain etiquette to be aware of in these fancy tea rooms?  I felt ignorant and uncouth, like I didn't belong there and was embarrassed.

The server realized this unspoken exchange and when she returned to freshen my tea, she engaged me in a conversation about tea and did it with the utmost diplomacy and kindness.   

I don't remember what she looked like, her name or what she wore, but I do remember what so told me and have never forgotten it.  That exchange, I believe, is what sparked the love I have for tea today.

She not only explained about the difference between tea bags and loose tea, she showed me.  And this is what I learned . . .

Loose tea is tea leaves that have been rolled.  When brewed, the leaves open and you get the true flavor of the tea.  There is no need to add anything to enhance that flavor just savor it on its own merit.

She brought me a new cup and poured the tea into it, asked me to smell it.  It had a distinct aroma that I never noticed when using tea bags. 

Then she told me to taste it.  I wasn't too sure I would like it without at least sugar but I took a sip anyway. 
It was a revelation.  The earthy flavor was unexpectedly pleasant and I found no need to add a thing to it.

It felt like a cool breeze blew open a door and to my amazement, I saw another world out there to explore.  I was just told a big secret and now I could go to a tea room and do it right.


I also learned that the dust left behind from rolling the leaves is what they put into prepared tea bags.  That was a shock but after thinking about it, made sense.  Less flavor in the dust so the need to add something to it for flavor.  Not everyone knows this or are fine using prepared tea bags.  But for me, now that I know the difference, I can no longer use them.

When I go to a tea room, it is understood that they are a place that specializes in tea.  You would expect they did their homework and serve real tea ... rolled tea leaves, but I have been disappointed to find a tea bag in my pot and make note not to return.  They missed the whole point of what a tea room is all about -- the tea.

I am more patient with individuals who have not learned the secret and am happy to explain in the same way that the server informed me.  But for those who call themselves a tea room, there is no excuse for serving pre-packaged tea bags.  Shame on them for giving their customers an inferior product and calling themselves a tea room.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies with Tea .... Website update

Girls Scouts are out in force selling their famous cookies.
I have to buy some if for no other reason than I was once
a Girl Scout and enjoying going door to door in my neighborhood to sell them.  It was a different time, I don't think anyone does that anymore.
Instead, parents take the forms to work for orders or
their troop sets up a table outside the grocery stores.

This year I bought the Dulce de Leche, Lemon Chalet,
and the ever popular Thin Mints, which I enjoy with
a hot cup of cocoa -- they go so well together.

Today I chose the Dulce de Leche with my tea. 
Best dunked into tea before consuming.  Good choice.

The tea select is Marco Polo -- a black tea blend
purchased from the Mariage Freres Tea Shop in Paris, France.
Their selection of teas is the largest I've ever seen --
so many that they have published a booklet listing them.
Hard to pick with so many choices but Marco Polo is one of my favorites.  It's perfect without adding a thing to it.

We posted new updates to our tea website - Tea Party Tips page

There's a recipe for Lemon Cake
a basic recipe with a little spice added for a bit of a wow factor.

and tips on how to clean your tea pots and cups

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hello! Come join the party.

. . . a standing tea party invitation is extended to you.

No RSVP required. 
Stop by anytime.

So glad you found us.

Share a cup of your favorite tea.  Maybe munch on a croissant, muffin or the best of them, a warm scone with cream and jam.  Mmm mmm good.

Just thinking about it is enough to create a party.  ... even of one.
But together, it will be so much better!

So when you find yourself wanting some company while you sip your tea, come join our party.

And for those who haven't quite got what the big deal is about tea, stick around, this could get interesting.