A taste of tea and history

You can tell by now that I am pretty crazy about history! So combing tea and history has me working in my element.  I was asked to host an Irish afternoon tea event at Barrington Hall, an 1839 Greek Revival style mansion in downtown Roswell, Georgia earlier this month.  The building is ranked as one of the 50 most beautiful homes in Metro Atlanta and it’s been fully restored and furnished with many period and family pieces. The original owner, Roswell King’s daughter (Eva and her husband Rev. William Baker) moved into Barrington Hall in 1883 and owned a tea and coffee importing company. The Bakers have entertained some rather famous people for tea including President Theodore Roosevelt and Margaret Mitchell, so, naturally I wanted to know about the tea they imported and served and ferociously began researching.

The tea that they imported was Orange Peoke!  The ‘orange’ in Peoke is sometimes mistaken to mean the tea has been flavored with actual orange.  However, the word “orange” is unrelated and refers to the Dutch house of orange black tea leaves of a specific size and quality.  These grading are typically used from teas from Sri Lanka, India other than China.  After research I found that the closest tea I could serve was an Irish Breakfast tea (I served Punjana).  Irish Breakfast has a higher proportion of Assam blended with a little Ceylon.  The Assam is copper colored and what we call in Ireland ‘a hearty brew’ and it’s good with a wee spot of milk.  We like to say it’s full of Malty gusto and it’s great any time of the day (if your Irish or Irish at heart).

So, I hope this inspires you to fill a kettle and enjoy a spot of Irish tea that’s been enjoyed from Victorian times and a historic pleasure we can all afford to enjoy every day!

Hope you make time for a cuppa today!

Judith the Irish foodie

Spring Tea in the Garden

This Spring I was so honored to be the guest speaker at the annual garden tea hosted by Patty Blanton and her wonderful family.  The tea benefits the Sacred Heart Cultural Center in Augusta, Georgia and is a most elegant affair.  It was the most perfect afternoon with Scots Irish fiddling, delicious food, Sipping Thompson’s Irish tea  and story telling.  Just as mentioned in my cookbook the Shamrock and Peach “one of the many particularities and joys of living in the South is found in the discovery that many of the old traditions of a more refined, bygone age have survived the modern era”.  I was truly blessed beyond measure to be part of this momentous occasion tea in the garden and will treasure in my heart for years to come!

So have tea y’all, don those heals, find your most fabulous hat and wear those pearls (and in the garden if at all possible)!

Judith the Irish foodie