Friday, March 9, 2012

The American Tea Society Conference

After yesterday's post about Afternoon Tea at The Brown Palace Hotel, I decided to continue a  Colorado theme by sharing my trip to Denver in October, 2002 to attend The American Tea Society Conference held at the Omni Hotel at Interlocken. 

There were so many phenomenal tea speakers at the conference - John Harney,  Norwood Pratt, Bruce Richardson,  Elizabeth Knight, Eve Hill and others.  The theme was, "Tea for Pleasure and Profit."

It was my first time to meet John Harney of Harney & Sons Fine Teas.   For being such a giant in the U.S. tea industry, he's such a humble man and so willing to share his knowledge.

It was also my first time to meet Bruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas.   Everyone wanted their picture taken with these tea mentors, and they were so gracious about accommodating.   I'm sure their facial muscles ached by the end of the conference from  smiling into so many cameras!

 It was at this conference that we were told about the very first "Take Me To Tea" expo to be held in Las Vegas in 2003 [which I attended].   The name of the expo was later changed to The World Tea Expo and it has expanded greatly over the years.   These were the early years of tea's resurgence in our country.  It's fun to look back and see how much the specialty tea industry has advanced in ten years time.

One of the sessions was about Japanese culture and author, Elizabeth Knight, was dressed in a traditional Kimono [third from left].

One of the highlights of the conference was an Afternoon Tea - what tea conference would be complete without that?

Notice the Omni servers wearing white gloves!   VIP  treatment for sure!

I contacted the caterer in charge of the food when I got home to request three of the recipes, and they were graciously provided.   I share them here:

Smoked Turkey Tea Sandwiches with Cranberry Butter
2 [8 oz.] packages petite dinner rolls, split
tiny croissants
white bread cut into shapes
1 lb. thinly sliced smoked turkey breast

Cranberry Butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cups cranberries
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Bring granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Stir in cranberries, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and cool completely.  Press cranberry mixture through a fine wire mesh strainer and discard solids. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and cranberry mixture, beating until blended.   Yield: 1 cup

Spread cut sides of rolls evenly with cranberry butter.  Place turkey evenly on bottom halves and cover with tops.  Yield:  Approx. 50 tea sandwiches

Breckenridge Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

In large bowl cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs.  Stir in cocoa powder, flour and nuts.  Mix well.  Spread batter evenly into greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  In small bowl mix condensed milk and coconut.  Spread on top of crust and bake an additional 18-20 minutes.      Yield: 48

Chocolate Frosting
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave.  Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Beat until ingredients are well mixed.  Frost immediately.  When cool, cut into squares.
[My notation: Work quickly as frosting sets up fast. Smooth frosting one time only.]

Shortbread Lemon Bars
1 1/2 cup all-purpose four
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup cold butter

In food processor combine flour, powdered sugar, and fruit peels.  Cut in butter until crumbly:  process until ball forms.  Pat into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the filling ingredients and mix well.

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon baking powder

Spread over crust.  Return to oven and bake 7-9 minutes or until topping is set.  Cool on wire rack.  Refrigerate overnight.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Cut into bars just before serving.   Yield:  3 dozen


  1. Hi Phyllis, Enjoyed stepping back in time with you! Also, thanks for sharing the recipes. Looks like it was a great event.

  2. How cool that the chef shared the recipes!

  3. I have never attended this meeting or the World Tea Expo. I have spoken with Bruce on the phone placing orders for my shop and he has given me permission to print some of the recipes on my blog (also in my store for events) several times. I would love to meet his wife as she is such a great pastry chef. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  4. Oh my goodness, I was there at this very same conference. How amazing! It was when I met Eve Hill and the same ones you mention here. I hadn't realized our paths had crossed this long ago.

  5. Oh my, you were on the cutting edge of the tea conference movement! Fun! And THANK YOU for sharing all the great recipes!


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