Monday, March 24, 2014

Taking tea in Kentucky!

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Kentucky to participate in the Traveling Tea Friends Gathering. The event was expertly organized by my friend Linda of the Friendship Tea blog. I traveled to Kentucky with my fellow Georgian, Maureen, of the Tea and Talk blog. In Kentucky we were joined by Phyllis of Michigan, who writes the Relevant Tea Leaf blog, and her sweet friend Lori (who is now my friend too), and also by Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania tea room owner and blogger Nancy of the Rosemary's Sampler blog. (You'll often see Nancy's tea room mentioned in Tea Time magazine.) We had a truly amazing time, and our headquarters for the week was the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College, a beautiful inn that was built in 1909 as a guest house for the college. We enjoyed several fine meals in the hotel, more cups of tea than I care to count, and on Tuesday afternoon came one of the highlights of the week for me, tea at the Boone Tavern Hotel.

At my table are, from left, Lynn, a lovely friend of Linda whom I first had the pleasure of meeting on a trip to Asheville two years ago; Melissa, Linda's daughter; Phyllis; and Lori.

At the second table are, from left, Nancy, Linda, Maureen, and Linda's friends (and now my friends) Patty and Mary. Linda is well-known for her tea expertise, and I think it speaks highly of the Boone Tavern Hotel that they have her as their tea consultant. I felt incredibly lucky to get to enjoy tea there under her watchful eye. I must confess that I forgot to take a picture of the, well, tea! But we got to try several selections and my favorite was the Lavender Earl Grey, just because I was in the mood for a flavored black tea that day.

Our afternoon tea began with a Boone Tavern favorite, a sample serving of their famous Spoonbread served in a ceramic spoon. Spoonbread is a cornmeal dish that is similar to a cornmeal soufflé, and Boone Tavern was kind enough to supply us with the recipe. Can't wait to make it, even if you do have to beat the mixture for *fifteen minutes.* (The recipe was also printed by Saveur magazine and may be found here if you'd like to try it for yourself.)

Next, we enjoyed a cup of Kentucky Burgoo, which I learned is a spicy stew. It was just the thing to warm us up on a cool Kentucky afternoon!

Soon, our pretty three-tiered servers arrived at the tables where we all oohed and aahed and took lots of photos! For once, I wasn't a bit self-conscious about photographing my food, because all the other gals were doing the same thing. The one thing I'd like to point out on the tray that is not shown in another photo is the middle tier with the pretty white-chocolate covered strawberries and raspberries. I don't believe anyone at my table had enjoyed a white chocolate-covered raspberry before, and we agreed they were delicious.

Our savories were so fun, and I loved that they, too, incorporated the Kentucky theme Linda had chosen especially for us. Clockwise from left are a Pimiento Cheese Tea Sandwich, a Fancy Deviled Egg, a Mini Hot Brown, and a Tea Biscuit with Country Ham, Apricot Glaze, and Arugula.

My favorite was the Mini Hot Brown, just because I loved the cheesy flavor and I'm so impressed they took the trouble to make this in miniature form! A close second, though, was ...

... the Tea Biscuit with Country Ham. Yum!

We had two types of scones, plain ones and Cranberry-Orange ones with a Triple Sec glaze, enjoyed with jam and some real clotted cream Linda had managed to find for us!

The sweets were Kentucky-inspired as well. Clockwise from left are the Mini Race Day Pies (partially hidden), Chocolate Bourbon Tartlets, and Mint Julep-inspired Bourbon Cupcakes with a bourbon and mint buttercream frosting. The Mint Julep Cupcake was my favorite of the sweets, though I enjoyed them all.

Last but not least, we had horseshoe-shaped iced sugar cookies, a lovely tribute to the upcoming Kentucky Derby. (Those fortunate enough to live near Boone Tavern can sign up for a Kentucky Derby tea at the hotel on April 19, sigh.) I was so stuffed by this point I took my cookie back to the room to enjoy later. It was a wonderful afternoon of tea with friends old and new, and a particularly delicious way to get acquainted with the eager-to-please staff of the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel!


  1. Angela-
    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! The food looked delicious. So glad you took time to photograph it. I used to travel some in Kentucky for work. It is such a beautiful state.

  2. Oh, that looks like such fun! Great company, delicious (and beautiful) food, and lots of tea! Who could ask for more?

  3. Oh, what a lovely time you all must have had! The food looks scrumptious and sharing tea with so many wonderful blogging friends as well as others must have been simply a delight. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tea adventure with us all.

  4. Wow, I just looked at this post before lunch… now I'm STARVING. Thanks.

  5. Such a delight to relive this afternoon tea through your captivating photographs! It was my pleasure to meet you and to get to know you this week! And extra special kudos to Linda for organizing, coordinating, and hosting this event including this beautiful Kentucky Derby themed tea!

  6. It was great seeing you again, Angela! I thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in Berea. What wonderful memories Linda created for us. I'm anxious to share the memories on my blog after my presentation at Meadow Brook Hall tomorrow. Say a prayer! Hugs, Phyllis

  7. Oh my! What a beautiful blog post of our Derby Inspired Afternoon Tea at the beautiful Historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, KY. I am so happy you came for a visit and for tea!

  8. I am so glad you posted photos! And I was blown away to have received a postcard signed well as several other members of the group. I was so touched! Thanks so much!

  9. Hello and Happy Spring! Wow, it looks like you had a marvelous trip and enjoyed tea, food and friends! Nice photos. Lavender Earl Grey sounds wonderful. Thnx for sharing your lovely outing with us :)

  10. You have some great photos of the Derby Tea and the ladies in attendance. That is a pretty shot of the hotel too (I forgot to take that one). Linda sure did a terrific job, didn't she.

  11. Oh how much fun . The food presentation looks so delightful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Oh, Angela! What a great time and beautiful place. When I grow up I want to be like you. LOL (I am older than you.)

  13. Oh, I so wanted to be there. I am glad that you were able to go!!

  14. Everything looks delicious and with a beautiful presentation. I felt like I was there with you and didn't miss a thing.
    I checked out the spoon spread recipe from your link and if you read the comments, it is pointed out that this recipe is incorrect in the measurement of some ingredients and baking time. The recipe given to you from the BT should be correct.

  15. Sounds like a wonderful tea time! I hope to visit Kentucky one day -- a pretty State -- and of course enjoy tea! Thank you Angela!

  16. What a wonderful gathering of friends. Looks like you all had a great time. And lovely food!

  17. Oh how I wish I could have been there to meet you and to enjoy this wonderful place!

    Teatime was truly wonderful - everything is so pretty and delicious looking!

    I am SO GLAD you had a wonderful time. I do hope Linda does this again, I hope to be part of it if she were to do so!

    I am SO SORRY I have been so absent - things are hectic here, but I am trying hard to catch up.


  18. Simply lovely. I'm enjoying each and every item---so well planned with a Kentucky theme, so beautifully made and presented, and photographed to perfection.

    I SO hated to miss this, and I feel THERE this minute.

    Thank you for such a splendid journal of the event---magazine worthy, in its OWNSELF.


  19. The food looks so yummy, particularly the savories. Now I want to try to find a recipe for a mini hot brown!

  20. How wonderful ! I will be meeting friends this weekend at a tea room, good times !

  21. Just lovely!
    Everything does look to be to perfection. What a nice adventure.

  22. Hello Angela, what a great adventure! The Boone Tavern Hotel looks like they know how to 'do things right.'

    Your photos are so beautiful - they bring the food to life. I am glad to know that this hotel is there - I am putting it on my travel list. Thank you so much for sharing,

  23. Angela,

    I so enjoyed meeting you and taking time for tea together at Boone Tavern Hotel. I really enjoyed our time together!


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