Thursday, August 1, 2013

A California Garden Tea Party Moment

It does not seem possible that today is the first day of August. It has never been more true that "The days are long, but the years are short," as Gretchen Rubin describes so poignantly. So as the children are growing up at breakneck speed, and summer seems to consist only of a long weekend, it was so lovely to slow down and spend a Saturday afternoon with some girlfriends and enjoy a Garden Tea Party, California-style.

With Meesh Pierce, of iMeeshu, offering to host, I was very happy to bring the tea. But not just any ol' tea. With this kind of summer heat, we needed something very special, something cool and refreshing. And surprising. My friends at Capital Teas had just the thing. I was introduced to their Tea Lager and Vino Teano concept at the World Tea Expo, and knew I had to share it with my California friends.

While beer at a ladies' garden party might typically feel a bit out of place, the Tea Lager was pure elegance. Stella Artois infused with Cream Earl Grey produced a light yet richly refined flavor. I think it's safe to say that I was not the only "lady" who embraced the idea of beer at a garden party with gusto.

The Vino Teano we selected was a Chardonnay infused with Cherry Blossom Rose Sencha. The fresh scents of cherry and roses, backed by the spring-sweet grassiness of the sencha took our BV Chardonnay to another level. There was a depth of flavor and refreshing quality that made this the fan favorite.

And no garden party would be complete without an iced tea. But of course, not any ol' iced tea. This was Mexican Mango Chili Mate. As a special touch, I brought along an assortment of beautiful mini handcrafted sugars from Chambre de Sucre.

While garden parties can quite easily get overly fussy, Meesh, true to form, created a menu and setting that makes the guests feel both at home and utterly pampered.

There was nary a porcelain tea cup in sight! The tea offerings were served in small canning jars, which I loved. The food spread was a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth: Fresh herbs and veggies from her garden,

which she grilled and arranged with spicy hummus and crusty bread to make our own California Tea Sandwiches,

garden fresh salads,

a dreamy cheese and honey tray,

and the most dangerously decadent delight that I may have ever encountered: the feta stuffed fig wrapped in bacon.

Out of sheer awe, we collectively shared a moment of silence. It may have been prayer. It may have been plotting on how to grab the most for ourselves.

As we sipped and supped and shared, we agreed that this was the type of tea party even our husbands could enjoy. Next time...

*** All photos courtesy of Meesh Pierce

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