Monday, June 18, 2018

Southern Tea Time Getaway - Day 6 Part IV

When I coordinated the Michigan Tea Tour in 2016, Teresa [a travel companion on that trip too], volunteered to do a tea and chocolate pairing/tasting for the ladies at our hotel one evening.  The ladies loved it, so she volunteered to do it again on this trip.

It was initially scheduled for the second evening of our trip, but due to a very full itinerary where we didn't get back to the hotel until later in the evening, it didn't happen until the sixth evening of our trip.  Conducting it in the parlor of the Ballastone Inn, however, was the best setting that could have been chosen.  The ambiance was perfect.

To conduct this pairing/tasting while traveling was no small task for Teresa.  When she did it in Michigan, she drove up from Ohio and had the spaciousness of her car to transport everything.  Traveling in one vehicle with 12 people limited her transportation space significantly, but she still made it a lovely event.  She could [and should] do these pairings for tearooms for compensation because she does an excellent job.

The parlor was ready and waiting for us when we arrived. Tia, an employee at the Ballastone, was very congenial about letting our group use the parlor, and was willing to help Teresa in any way that she could.  This type of event may have been a first in their parlor.

~ Teresa ~

The mahogany drum table with a glass top [behind Teresa, but featured in the first picture of this post] was her tea station.  There were three chocolates from Stella Leona artisan chocolates [which Teresa keep in a cooler until the night of the tasting] to go with six different teas. Two teas per chocolate.  You can see in the two photos below she had her tea station well organized and ready for the pairing/tasting.

We each had our own tray [photo below].  In the black velvet bag [upper left hand corner] were our two tasting cups, which we got to keep.  Oyster crackers [lower left corner] were our palate cleansers.

We began with a dark chocolate truffle.  We cut the chocolate in thirds, and tasted the chocolate by itself first.  It was very smooth.  Then we tasted it with a green tea, Caramel Sesame Cookie from Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, MI, and a black tea, Fireside Nights from Monarch Tea Company in Canada.

Teresa provided us with tasting sheets so we could write our impressions.

She also passed around trays of the dry uninfused tea leaves for us to see and smell, and the infused leaves after we had tasted the tea.

The Fireside Nights tea was a very smoky tea even though it wasn't a Lapsang Souchong.  It was flavored with safflower petals, natural organic flavors and real maple syrup.   I wrote in my notes that the smoky taste wasn't as pronounced after eating it with the candy, and the infused leaf didn't smell as smoky as the dry leaf.

The second pairing/tasting was an Orange Milk Chocolate paired with Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong tea from Teavivre.  It had a light, mildly vegetative taste that paired very well with the orange flavored chocolate.

The second tea paired with this chocolate was a  decaffeinated French Creme Brulee, purchased at the Swan House tearoom in Findlay, Ohio.   It too was very good with the chocolate.

Our third and last chocolate was Lavender Mint - a dark chocolate mint truffle infused with essence of lavender topped with lavender flowers.  It was first paired with Baozhong Wenshan oolong tea from Happy Earth Tea Company in Taiwan.

I liked the tea better after eating the chocolate.   The second tea was Triplemint Herbal Tea from Sweet Remembrances tearoom/Rosemary House in Pennsylvania.

The dry leaf had little to no smell of mint, but the infused leaf had a very minty aroma.  The steeped tea had a very minty taste.

The pairing/tasting was lovely.  Heartfelt thanks to Teresa for providing this wonderful experience for us!  It was the perfect activity for a group of tea-lovin' ladies on a tea themed trip.


  1. How can you go wrong with tea and chocolate? Of course, I know that things could have gone wrong, but not with Teresa in charge! What a wonderful presentation.

  2. How wonderful! Not only am I awestruck with the lovely tasting, but the fact she was able to pack, transport, and serve all these goodies on your road trip! I think she should offer these tasting to the public, too!

  3. Lovely presentation and interesting pairings....

  4. Tea tasting would be so much fun! Love the presentations.


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