The idea for a tea swap came from Healthy Living Blogs. In my continuing quest to drink less Diet Coke, I recently bought several new varieties of tea. However, the choices available are overwhelming, which got me thinking that a swap would be a great way to sample other bloggers' favorite teas.
Everyone brought 5 bags of their favorite tea to swap. Due to my recent tea shopping spree, I had more than one favorite to share :) The first tea I ever tried and loved is Traditional Medicinals raspberry leaf tea, so that one definitely had to go in the bag. I also included Yogi green tea pomegranate, Stash pomegranate raspberry, World Market tropical rooibos and two Trader Joe's varieties, green tea and pomegranate white tea.
Those are the teas I sent home with the ladies. While at my house I encouraged them to drink Rishi peppermint rooibos and The Republic of Tea pomegranate vanilla red tea, which I bought just before Christmas at Sendik's and they quickly became two of my favorites.
The key to any tea party is an electric kettle. We love ours from Hamilton Beach and I'd definitely recommend it. Prior to moving to England, I had no idea such a thing existed and now I couldn't live without it.
Since they don't make wine charms for tea mugs, I decided each blogger needed her own personalized mug. Even better, I found these monogrammed mugs from Anthropologie, which is a store I've never been to but bloggers seem to love :)
This past year when I attended an America's Test Kitchen cooking demonstration we did a taste test of artisanal cheddars. I spotted the taste test winner, Prairie Breeze from Iowa, while grocery shopping yesterday and I knew I needed to incorporate a taste test into my party.
I didn't think I'd like Stilton cheese, but the Trader Joe's version with apricots was fantastic. Chris was standing nearby during appetizers and he really enjoyed the one that tasted more like blue cheese.
Chris and I only add toppings to our chili if we happen to have them in our fridge, but for the party tonight I wanted to have lots of toppings available.
This morning I realized I didn't have enough small bowls, so I picked up a Food Network tasting set at Kohl's which worked perfectly. Alysha brought corn bread which is essential to have with chili. Chris liked it so much that he claimed all the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow :)
Dessert was enjoyed in the living room while watching Downton Abbey. Abby brought madelines and Inger brought shortbread. I used my British flag as a tablecloth for our dessert table :)
Tea and cookies while cozied up with blankets was ideal for watching Downton because the first episode of season 3 was two hours (with no commericals!).