Tag Archives: afternoon tea

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge christening followed by tea and cake

family photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.  Photo: Mario Testino.  Source: Kensington Palace Twitter feed.

family photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Photo: Mario Testino. Source: Kensington Palace Twitter feed.

The christening photos of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge are out, and they are adorable mementos of a happy day of tradition and faith, followed, appropriately, by a tea reception. The little princess was christened on Sunday, July 5th, and officially named Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, at St. Mary Magdalene Church at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where the baby’s parents, William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have their family residence, Anmer Hall.  While the path through the estate’s woodland to the church from Anmer Hall was lined with well-wishers, inside the church only family was allowed, including Charlotte’s great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, her grandparents Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Mr. and Mrs. Middleton, her aunt and uncle, Pippa and James Middleton, and her five godparents and their spouses.  Her uncle Prince Harry was in Africa and unable to attend.

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Making jam for the tea party pantry

Homemade apricot-oolong compote.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Homemade apricot-oolong compote. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Now that summer is here and those delicious summer fruits are in season, it’s time to stock up on homemade jam for the tea party pantry!  San Jose’s history as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” is no longer visible in the orchards that once covered the Santa Clara Valley, but plenty of local people still have fruit trees in their front and back yards, full of ripe fruit this time of year.  Wild plums and berries can also be found along the banks of rivers, creeks and streams in the Santa Cruz mountains and local foothills, if you know where to look.  For those that don’t have edible landscaping at home, and even for those that do, the local farmers’ markets are a wonderful source of fresh, ripe fruit for tea-table jams and preserves.  What better treat to serve your tea guests, give as gifts, or enjoy by yourself than homemade jam?  It’s not as hard as it seems.  Plus, once you’ve washed the fruit, you can freeze it in freezer bags, and make jam or pie with it later in the year (or when the weather has cooled down a bit).

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3 Mother’s Day teas in the San Jose area.

Satori Tea Bar.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Satori Tea Bar. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, and afternoon tea is a wonderful way to spend some time with your mom.  After all, isn’t that what many mothers say they want: a nice time with their children?  Of course, you can take her to the Fairmont for afternoon tea, but that’s fairly spendy.  Several local tea rooms are offering special Mother’s Day menus this year; remember, like all special events at restaurants, advanced reservations are required.

1. Mother’s Day Tea Celebration: Saturday, May 9 at 11:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. seatings; Sunday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. seatings.

Plentiful pot of tea
Mini quiche
Assorted tea sandwiches and green salad
Tea fancies: tea cookie, tea hat petit four, citrus tart, and dessert bar
Warm Heritage scone with Devonshire cream and preserves
Toasted crumpet with rum butter

$37 per person (advance reservations required)
Add a blood orange mimosa for an additional $11.

Satori Tea Company’s Tea Atelier
37 N. San Pedro St., San Jose.

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Last chance this weekend for tea at the Dickens Fair!

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in Daly City closes this weekend, and tea at Dickens is still as popular as ever!  The Dickens Fair runs weekends only, between the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Sunday before Christmas; it’s open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday, December 21).  General Admission is $30 at the gate, but you can get disounted tickets if you know one of the workers or performers. Take a look at these other articles for more information about having tea at the Dickens Fair:

“How to have afternoon tea at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco”
“Review: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair”
“Take tea with Charles Dickens for two more weekends at the Dickens Fair”

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Mother’s Day history and tea tips.


Mother's Day post card, 1916, Northern Pacific Railway.  Wikimedia Commons

Mother’s Day post card, 1916, Northern Pacific Railway. Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that 2014 is the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, as we know it, in the U.S.? Julia Ward Howe, an American poet who also wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the beginning of the Civil War, became so appalled by the violence and destruction that she became a pacifist and called, in 1870, for all mothers to band together in peace, to stop their sons and husbands from being sent to war. Her effort temporarily (until about 1880) resulted in June 2nd being set aside for local celebrations of American mothers, and of peace.

When Howe died, although most Mother’s Day celebrations ended, a group of women in West Virginia adapted the holiday as a Mother’s Friendship Day, to re-unite those who had been driven apart by wartime politics. In 1908, Anna Jarvis, the daughter of the Mother’s Friendship Day committee leader, petitioned her mother’s church — St. Andrews Methodist Church — to establish the 2nd Sunday in May as an official, annual celebration, in honor of her mother; the church assented, presenting each mother with white carnations, Jarvis’ mother’s favorite flower, for the special service. A church in Philadelphia, where Jarvis herself was living, also adopted the holiday. The same year, the YMCA started petitioning the U.S. government to make Mother’s Day a national holiday, working with Jarvis to influence senators and other government officials. Jarvis trademarked the phrase “Mother’s Day” in 1912, to indicate that the purpose of the holiday was “for each family to honor its mother, not … all mothers of the world.” In 1912 West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day as an official holiday, and President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday in May of 1914.
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Raise your teacup to Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday.

The Coventry Carolers at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe.

The Coventry Carolers at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe.

The popular Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Holiday Party, which opened the weekend before Thanksgiving this year, is in extra celebratory mode, remembering the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.  Born February 7, 1813, Dickens created some of the most iconic stories and characters known to Western literature, which are brought to life at the Dickens Fair in Daly City at the Cow Palace.  Actor Robert Young portrays the author every year and conducts readings of his works throughout the six weekends that the Fair is open. The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December 22nd.

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How to use tea to dye fabric

Prince George of Cambridge in the reproduction christening gown.

Prince George of Cambridge in the reproduction christening gown. Photo: The British Monarchy. All Rights Reserved.

Great Britain’s Prince George of Cambridge was recently christened in an ecru lace-trimmed and silk satin christening gown, a replica of the one made in 1841 for Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, by Janet Sutherland, Embroiderer to the Queen.  The antique gown had been worn by every newborn in the Royal Family at his or her christening until 2004, when it was determined that the garment was too fragile to be worn further.  Queen Elizabeth commissioned her personal dressmaker and designer, Angela Kelly, to make a reproduction of the gown, which was, itself, a nod to Queen Victoria’s wedding gown.  The replica was made, like Queen Victoria’s gown and the original royal christening gown, from ivory Spitalfields silk satin and Honiton lace, and was dyed a lovely sepia shade, to imitate the original, with tea.  The reproduction gown was first worn in 2008 by the Queen’s grandson, James, Viscount Severn, the son of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.  The guests later enjoyed a private afternoon tea, with champagne and Christening Cake – part of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake, which was a rich fruitcake — after the ceremony, at the Prince of Wales’ and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s home, Clarence House.

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Raise a cup of tea on September 21st for Hobbit Day

A traditional cooked English breakfast, perfect with a cup of tea.  Image: FreeFoto.com

A traditional cooked English breakfast, perfect with a cup of tea. Image: FreeFoto.com

San Jose’s vintage literature fans know that September 21st is Hobbit Day, and many locals like to celebrate it with a cup of tea and an appropriate mid-day snack.  The official Hobbit Second Breakfast website extends this invitation: “You are cordially invited to take part in a global celebration of the 76th anniversary of The Hobbit. Wherever you are in the world, join us at 11am on 21 September to take a few minutes out to enjoy a Second Breakfast with friends and family.”  Why not enjoy this whimsical idea you’re your own Second Breakfast, Elevenses, or Afternoon Tea?

Hobbits are known, in Middle Earth, for their healthy appetites, and their love of comforting, traditional country dishes, accompanied by glasses or mugs of ale or beer and cups of hot tea.  Meat pies, roasted meat, garden vegetables and bread puddings, as well as fruit, scones, clotted cream, jam, cakes, tarts, and biscuits, all make their appearance in the Shire.  The Hobbit Second Breakfast website even includes recipes for Hobbit Scones and Seed Cake if you want to make your own, although nice scones can be purchased ready-made from the bakery booths at local farmers’ markets and even in some grocery stores.  Check Nob Hill, Zanotto’s, and Fresh & Easy stores in the San Jose area, as well as the British food supply stores in the Bay Area for Hobbit-friendly treats.  Of course, be sure to check your tea party pantry, too! Combine the food with a pot of English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, or other hearty black tea, pick up a good book on Saturday morning or afternoon, and celebrate in Middle Earth style!  Continue reading

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Fifth Annual Cat Rescue Tea another success!

"Downton Tabby" place setting

“Downton Tabby” place setting.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The 5th annual Cat Rescue Tea fundraiser for the 13th Street Cats nonprofit, dubbed the “Downton Tabby” Tea, returned to a historic Victorian home in San Jose’s Hensley District over Tax weekend. Both days sold out well in advance, with 44 guests the first day and 42 the second day for afternoon tea. New for 2013 was the “V.I.P. Table” – the best seats in the house at a cozy table for two in the velvet-curtained bay window, and the “Champagne Upgrade” available to all guests, which added 2 glasses of good-quality champagne for an extra charge – a very popular novelty with the guests. Satori Tea Company’s Earl Grey Creme blend and a spiced rooibos blend called The Cat’s Pajamas from Thompson Tea Company were donated and paired really well with the food. This year’s menu was also completely homemade; even the gourmet packaged cake and cookies from previous years were replaced with homemade treats:

Fig, bacon and cream cheese tea sandwich
The Kittens’ Favorite egg salad tea sandwich
Pear, bleu cheese and walnut tea sandwich
Cucumber and herbed cream cheese tea sandwich
Goat cheese and sun-dried tomato tea sandwich
Curried chicken salad tea sandwich
Olive tapenade on a cracker
Currant scone with orange zest
Meyer lemon curd
Spiced plum, summer strawberry, and apricot jam
Fresh grapes
Nut cup
Chocolate-dipped almond shortbread cookie
Chocolate fudge

The coveted V.I.P. table.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The coveted V.I.P. table. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Instead of ordering from the menu as is done at a tea shop, each guest received a plate with all of the above – except for vegetarians and people with nut allergies, who were served a variation of the standard plate — as well as bottomless pots of tea, and two tea favors. Homemade cat paw-shaped chocolate lollipops, and “Cat Whiskers”, a blooming tea from Thompson Tea Company, were the tea favors. Everyone seemed to have a great time, as well as enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Victorian house where the event was located, and the raffle and silent auction items. While the date is not set for next year’s event, and tickets will go on sale in early 2014, the next Cat Rescue Tea will be located at an even bigger restored Victorian mansion on North 3rd Street! Mark your calendars and buy your tickets soon after they go on sale next year, if you want to attend!

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, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
13th St. Cat Rescue
Cat Rescue Tea event webpage page
13th Street Cat Rescue Facebook page
Thompson Tea Company, Ltd.
Satori Tea Company
“Tea party for a cause”
“San Jose’s Cat Rescue tea party: a fundraiser you can put on for your favorite non-profit!”
“San Jose’s Cat Rescue Tea raises over $4,000 for local nonprofit!”
“13th Street Cats wraps up another afternoon tea fundraiser in downtown San Jose”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Are tea-drinkers automatically ‘teatotallers’?”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Review: Twinings Earl Grey tea”


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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.

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