The Victorian Tea Society’s first official gathering was a Christmas tea at Jamul Haven B&B to celebrate Lady B.’s birthday. The resort was decked out in full Christmas finery which got me into the holiday spirit. I was especially charmed by the nutcracker theme in the outdoor tea area as I imagined all the nutcrackers coming alive at night. The Nutcracker Suite has always been a holiday favorite of mine!
I never appreciated chair coverings until I started noticing them at teas. Also, notice Lady ML’s lovely gloved hand?
The table was beautifully set and very festive. I was very amused to see the Terrible Rat King guarding my place card. We each got our own teapot and tea warmer since we all ordered different teas (I had the chamomile lavender tea). What a nice touch!
Our first course was the soup du jour, cream of cauliflower. I was very disappointed that the soup was cold, esp. since we were sitting outside and it was cold and windy! 😦
Jamul Haven salad (Cranberries, walnuts, green and red Golden Delicious apples with nutmeg in a light mayo dressing over mixed greens). The apples were very good but I didn’t like this salad very much. I’m not a big fan of mayo and the walnuts were rancid. 😦
Sandwiches and savories (left to right, clockwise: Tree-shaped egg salad sandwich; turkey croissant sandwich with cranberry-serrano chili relish and spinach; fresh fruit skewer; crumpet with melted brie, raspberries and mint; cinnamon raisin swirl bread with cream cheese, almond butter and blueberry jam, dipped in chopped almonds; and center: smoked salmon with spinach and feta in a phyllo cup). I really appreciated the variety of sandwiches and savories, esp. the crumpet and swirl bread sandwich. However, again, the nuts were rancid and the salmon savory was cold and fishy.
Currant scone with mock Devonshire cream and lemon curd. I enjoyed this scone because it wasn’t too sweet and I could still enjoy the lemon curd without my teeth hurting!
Italian Lovers cake with cream and pomegranate seeds: I really enjoyed this cake that was served cold with a creamy ricotta cheesecake-like layer sandwiched in between chocolate cake!
While tea caddies are charming and even expected for afternoon tea, they are not mandatory or even necessary! You can plate food elegantly without a caddy. When I hosted my first tea, I used a glass serving platter with a doily liner for all my courses.
Assorted cookies (left to right, clockwise): Lemon bars, chocolate covered shortbreads, Mexican wedding cookies, and spritz sugar cookies. The sandwiches and savories were so generously portioned that we all took our desserts to go. I didn’t finish eating any of them because they were not fresh!
(Photo by Lady M.) We completed our afternoon with a tour through the owner’s Victorian house. The gingerbread room was my favorite.
“At Christmas, tea is compulsory. Relatives are optional.”
― Robert Godden