Make a pot of tea and watch _Downton Abbey_ Season 2 opener tonight!

The cast of _Downton Abbey_

San Jose tea and period drama lovers have been waiting many months for the U.S. release of Season 2 of Downton Abbey, the BBC drama written by Julian Fellowes and set at a country house in England beginning 100 years ago, with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.  The Christmas Special episode is now available for viewing, and bridges the action between Seasons 1 and 2.  The action of Season 2 – which will begin broadcasting tonight on PBS and KQED’s Masterpiece Classic channel at 9 p.m. – begins on a battlefield in France during World War 1. It’s just the kind of program that is calls for a pot of tea and some English tea food to go with it!  Here are some tips:

  1. Get out your teapot (if you have one) and use it to make your tea, even if you usually make tea by the cup or mug.
  2. Use either loose tea or good-quality tea bags; Lipton tea in bags was a new product on the market by 1912.
  3. Choose a black tea blend like English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast or Earl Grey, which can be purchased in decaffeinated versions from most vendors.
  4. Put together an assortment of traditional English foods to eat with your tea. Think of it as a late-night snack, and choose tasty items you can munch on without using a fork, like tea sandwiches, scones, and cookies. You can also make it more like a late-evening high tea with mini meat pies and turnovers.
  5. Enjoy this evening’s episode and plan to do the same thing for each of the other episodes which will be airing in the next 6 weeks!

If you don’t feel like cooking, check your tea party pantry or the deli, frozen and packaged foods in your favorite grocery stores in San Jose. There are a bunch of items among the frozen appetizers that make great tea table savories! Since there is still some time between now and 9 p.m., you might want to bake some scones or put together some freshly-made treats. Again, the frozen food section can be your friend, with pre-made pie dough for mini pies, frozen puff pastry for fruit turnovers, even packaged cookie and scone dough (look for the Immaculate Bakery brand scone dough in cans in the refrigerated section of some local stores). If you have the time, you can also take a trip out to a British grocery like the British Food Centre in Campbell, or the new Fresh & Easy markets appearing in the South Bay.

Downton Abbey holds the Guinness World Record for the “Highest critical review ratings for a TV show.” The world of Downton includes tea time every day, and characters meet informally for a cup of tea quite often. Whether in Lady Violet’s Dowager House or in the kitchen downstairs, tea is a drink for everyone. Curl up in your blanket with a cup of tea and some treats, and watch Downton Abbey tonight!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Downton Abbey Season 2 preview
Masterpiece Classic Downton Abbey Season 2 Broadcast schedule
Downton Abbey Christmas Special link
“Downton Abbey returns with more addictive melodrama” by Chuck Barney
Lovejoy’s Tea Room Pear & Stilton tea sandwich recipe
Apricot-Candied Lemon Scones recipe
Bay Area British grocery store list from Chowhound
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea” 
“Celebrate Beatrix Potter’s work with a tea party”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Bring a tea picnic to the Bay Area-local Mostly British Film Festival” 
“Review: Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea”
“Bring a ‘steampunk’ tea to Santa Clara’s Steampunk Exhibition”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party”
“Review: Twinings Earl Grey tea”
“Stay up with tea and watch the Royal Wedding”
“San Jose women celebrate 100 years of voting with tea”

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