Downton Abbey Season 3 comes to the Bay Area

Highclere Castle, the setting for _Downton Abbey_ Series 3. Photo: John James.  Creative Commons 2.0

Highclere Castle, the setting for _Downton Abbey_ Series 3. Photo: John James. Creative Commons 2.0

The BBC’s hit Downton Abbey returns to PBS on January 6, 2013, and will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on Sundays until February 17th. Local tea and history-lovers are planning to make a special event of watching the first episode of Season 3, and today KQED is holding a free preview and tea at their headquarters in San Francisco, which is about 45 minutes northwest of San Jose. *Note: the KQED website has been updated with information about Season 4.*

The KQED website reads: “You’re invited to join KQED and Downton Abbey fans on Saturday, January 5, 2013 for tea and an exclusive sneak preview screening of Season 3, Episode 1. Celebrate the return of the Grantham clan as the English country estate enters a new era post-WWI.”

What: KQED Downton Abbey Season 3 Preview
Where: At the KQED headquarters: 2601 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA
When: Saturday, January 5, 2013, 2pm (2pm Tea, 3pm Screening) – RSVP
Cost: FREE, but Space is limited. RSVP required for you and one guest; R.S.V.P. by visiting their Eventbrite page.

If you miss the KQED event today, next weekend there will be a lecture and tea in Woodside, at the Woodside Library, which is about 35 minutes northwest of San Jose. The library website reads: “Come learn about the world of Downton Abbey! In a fascinating illustrated lecture, DiAnn Ellis covers everything from the real Highclere Castle where the popular PBS series is filmed; to the beautiful Worth gowns; to the real work day of a person in service. Questions and tea and cookies will follow the program.”

What: Downton Abbey Culture event
Where: at the Woodside Library, 3140 Woodside Rd., Redwood City, CA 94062. For more information or to R.S.V.P., call (650) 851-0147
When: Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 1 p.m.
Cost: FREE, but space is limited. Please R.S.V.P.

If you can’t make it to San Francisco or to the Woodside Library, plan your own get-together in the comfort of your own home. Click here for a proper English tea menu.  Perhaps you’d like to try a recipe that Downton’s Mrs. Patmore might have made; here is a recipe from Warne’s Model Cookery and Housekeeping Book by Mary Jewry, from ca. 1891. Maybe it is the Apple Charlotte recipe that Mrs. Patmore refused to make for Sir Anthony Strallan?

A Charlotte de Pommes.
Time, three-quarters of an hour to one hour.

The crumb of a stale loaf; apple marmalade; apricot jam.

Butter a plain mould, and line it with thin slices of the crumb of a stale loaf dipped into clarified butter, joining each slice neatly to prevent the syrup from escaping, which would spoil the appearance of the Charlotte when done. Then fill the mould with apple marmalade and apricot jam; cover the top with slices of bread dipped into butter, and on the top of the bread put a plate with a weight on it. Set the mould in a quick oven from three-quarters of an hour to one hour, according to the size. Turn it out with care, having drained any butter from it before it is taken from the mould. Sift loaf sugar over it, or cover it with clear jelly, and serve it hot.

A Charlotte is a variation on a bread pudding, so it will be a moist dessert with browned top and crispy edges, that should be eaten hot or warm with whipped cream, custard or some other sweet sauce, or ice cream. Although the recipe doesn’t call for it, you could add a teaspoon of spices or flavoring to the filling; cinnamon and nutmeg would be nice. For the “pudding mould” you should use an oven-safe baking dish like a Pyrex bowl; coat it with softened butter so that you can get the Charlotte out after it’s baked; you can also line the bowl with aluminum foil, and then butter it and fill it, in order to make it easier to unmold your Charlotte for serving.

The “crumb of a stale loaf” is basically a loaf of country-style white wheat bread – you could use a sweet French or Italian bread – with the crusts cut off, and the rest of the bread sliced into ¼- to ½-inch thick slices. Make sure to use day-old or slightly stale and dry bread, so that it won’t get soggy as it absorbs the juice from the fruit and jam; the amount will depend on the dish you intend to bake your Apple Charlotte in. The “apple marmalade” could be apple cider butter, which can be found in most grocery stores in the San Jose area, or sweetened applesauce. Again, the amount depends on the size of your baking dish and how thick you want to make the layers of apple and apricot; I’d guess for a 1-quart Pyrex bowl or an 8-inch square glass baking dish, you’d need 4 cups of fruit filling – about 2 cups of apple and 2 cups of apricot. A “quick” oven is about 400 to 450 degrees Farenheit, so preheat yours to 425 and see if that’s hot enough to bake your Charlotte in 45 minutes to an hour. The Charlotte should be browned on top and should hold together in the shape of the bowl when you turn it out onto a platter for serving. The “loaf sugar, pounded” is granulated white sugar, and the “clear jelly” is apricot jelly or apple jelly without any fruit pulp in it, brushed on the Charlotte to glaze it.

Make yourself a proper pot of black tea, get yourself a plate of treats, and settle down to find out: will Matthew and Mary finally get married? Will Bates and Anna ever be free to open that hotel they talked about? And, will Thomas and O’Brien succeed in messing things up for the family and the rest of the staff?

Copyright 2013, 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 other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
Downton Abbey, Season 3 webpage
“Curl up with a cup of tea: Downton Abbey season 2 comes to San Jose”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party!”
“Tea and food pairings for black tea” 
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“The Food of Downton Abbey: Petite Butter High Tea Cakes”
“The Food of Downton Abbey: Abbey High Tea Vanilla Butter Thins”
“The Food of Downton Abbey: Crepes”
“The Food of Downton Abbey: High tea with Pate Sablees”
“Downton Abbey’s Bonneville gets death threats from fans; season 3 spoiler alert”
“A ‘Downton Abbey’-watching fete begins with tea”
“Tea, treats requisite for watching ‘Downton Abbey’.” 
“Downton Abbey Cooks Online Guide to Afternoon Tea”
“Goodwill takes you to Downton Abbey” YouTube video
“Dishes inspired by Downton Abbey”



Filed under Events, History, Party Ideas

3 responses to “Downton Abbey Season 3 comes to the Bay Area

  1. Sounds like a fun time! Looking forward to the premiere and will be recapping on my own blog! Check it out

  2. Amélie and Jeffrey Spencer Kennedy

    The link above, titled: “KQED Website” leads directly to an entity which I doubt has any affiliation with Public Broadcasting local SF Station KQED.
    To make matters worse, they have expunged whatever they once might have exhibited relating to the event in question. Instead, they rather disingeniously ask: “Wouldn’t you rather see xyz about whatever we want to currently push?” Is there any way you would consider REPAIRING THAT LINK in such a way that your readers MIGHT HAVE THE CHANCE to read how KQED once worded their original announcement?
    Especially poignant since 5th January has come and gone
    WITHOUT ANY PARTICIPATORY EVENT concerning tea and costumery!

    • Hi, I checked all the links in that article, and while the KQED link doesn’t go directly to the PBS/KQED website, it does direct the viewer to one of the many Bay Area event information sites, and it does give valid information about the Downton Abbey series. It is not broken; that was the same event web site that originally contained the Series 3 costume and tea event. The event currently on the page seems to be a preview of Season 4 instead of Season 3, which aired last year, when my article was published. The tea and costume event I wrote about in my article occurred in January of 2013, and they didn’t repeat it again this year.

      While I will add a disclaimer to the article about the date of the Season 3 event being past, perhaps you would consider commenting with slightly more civility next time? Thanks.

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