This is the third and final post about past family vacations in South Carolina.
suggested we have lunch at "82 Queen Restaurant" in the historic downtown area. It was fabulous! The weather wasn't sweltering, so we were able to eat in the garden area. We ordered Shrimp and Grits and it was outstanding. I purchased their cookbook just to get the recipe!
Notice the glasses of iced tea on our table? Here's a bit of trivia: On April 10, 1995, South Carolina's grown tea was officially adopted as the official hospitality beverage [iced or hot] by State Bill 3487, Act No. 31 of the 111th Session of the South Carolina General Assembly.
Tea bushes [Camellia Sinensis] growing in the fields. Wadmalaw's sandy soil, sub-tropical climate, and average rainfall of 52 inches per year provides the perfect environment for reproducing tea on the plantation's 127 acres.
This is the tea processing factory where we were able to watch tea being processed, view a movie, and browse in the gift shop.
Guided tours, via flat screen TV's take visitors down a glass windowed "tourway" overlooking the factory.
These were my purchases - a tea caddy containing a jar of "First Flush" loose tea [from the first harvest of the 2008 season], a lidded mug with tea infuser depicting a mid-1800's tea clipper ship, a tin of Rockville Raspberry black tea, and a box of American Classic black tea bags.
After touring the plantation, we returned to Charleston to meet a friend for tea at the Charleston Place Hotel. This photo is the back entrance of the hotel.
This is Denise, my "tea friend" who coordinated the 2007 London, England Tea Tour I went on. She worked in Charleston at the time and took a late lunch to have tea with us.
While staying in Myrtle Beach we also visited the Jasmine Dreams Gourmet Tea Room in Surfside Beach.
The owner was Jamaican.
We were served a delicate white "artisian" tea. The tea leaves are meticulously hand-tied around a natural flower to form a ball. As the tea steeps, the leaves unfurl allowing the flower to "blossom." The tea is not only a delight to the taste buds [the tea leaves take on the flavor and fragrance of the flower], but the eyes as well. The above photo shows its beautiful visual presentation, and artisian teas are sometimes used for tea table centerpieces. It's a rather newly-innovated tea and goes by a number of names - display tea, flowering tea, blooming or blossoming tea, and hand-crafted tea.
I seldom walk out empty-handed from a tea room with a retail area. I purchased this clear glass "Guywan" at the Jasmine Dreams tea room. Guywan is mandarin Chinese for "covered cup." Guywans have a deep bowl with no handle, lid, and saucer. Using a vessel like this requires a bit of mastering. The tea leaves are put into the guywan, water is added, and the lid is put in place while the leaves brew. The tea is drunk from the cup with the lid carefully angled to keep the leaves from escaping while drinking. [I much prefer my clear glass Bodum mug and decanted tea!]
Guywans are used in the Chinese "Gongfu" method of brewing - a subject for a separate post.