To honor the heritage and traditions of the beloved McCleary family (long-time owners of the manor) and our own Scottish and Irish heritage, European- themed tea parties have been given. The McCleary’s were well known in the Excelsior Springs, Missouri community for their generosity and hospitality, as well as for throwing very large tea parties in the 1920’s all the way through the 1970’s. Long-time residents of Excelsior Springs remember seeing, attending, or even working at these teas that sometimes were so large the attendees spilled out onto the vast lawn and gardens of the beautiful, lush property. The McCleary Clinic hired hundreds of local citizens and served patients from all over the world. Patients and many members of the community attended these wonderful tea events. An invitation to them was highly anticipated, relished and the events were remembered very fondly!
Scottish-Themed Holiday Tea
Our first official tea as new innkeepers of the Inn on Crescent Lake was a Scottish one. We hired a singer to perform in front of the fireplace and the music filled the Inn for all to enjoy as guests were leisurely enjoying their goodies and cups of Scottish Breakfast tea. Kilt wearing was highly encouraged and we had a couple people willing to don their tartans. It was a light-hearted, cozy atmosphere! The Scottish Tea menu included:
- Cottage Pie– we sautéed ground beef, onions, carrots, and green beans together. On top of the filling, we added mashed potatoes that were made the day before. Grated cheese topped off the potatoes and this delicious comfort food was baked in ramekins at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Egg Salad Sandwiches with crusts cut off, of course. The boiled eggs were diced with seedless cucumbers and mayo.
- Scones-Gram Margie made her famous cranberry orange scones and we also prepared oat raisin scones using a traditional Scottish recipe. Scones originated in Scotland in the early 1500’s and were a quick bread made with oats and served with delicious cream and jam. They are an integral part of most traditional teas.
- Cranachan Trifles- were served in mimosa glasses and topped with cream and berries. The filling was made with cream, whiskey, oatmeal (we ground the oats in a blender for this part of the recipe), honey and raspberries. Indulgent!
- Treacle Biscuits- using a recipe for soft molasses cookies with plenty of spices. Biscuits in English-speaking Europe are what we know in America as good ‘ol cookies.
- Millionaire’s Shortbread -with good homemade shortbread, topped with homemade caramel and then chocolate ganache. America’s Test Kitchen has a great video and recipe!
Irish-themed High Tea
Our first Irish Tea was held in January 2020 and was great fun with a cozy atmosphere and Celtic music playing on the sound system. We served Taylor’s Irish Breakfast tea!
The Irish Tea Menu included:
- Colcannon Pie– we made this like a shepherds or cottage pie with an Irish inspired flavor by sautéing cabbage, kale, onion, and ground beef the day before and then we poured pickle juice straight from the jar right over the top and then let the mixture marinate in the fridge overnight. We put the mixture in ramekins, topped with homemade mashed potatoes & grated cheese. Then they baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Guests loved this dish!
- Corned beef and Swiss sandwiches with mayo & the crusts discarded. Very simple and very tasty!
- Homemade Scones with cream & jam. We used a basic scone recipe and rolled, cut, and then froze them for about 2 weeks ahead of time
- Spotted Dog Soda Bread– delicious Irish soda bread that gets its name from the raisins dotted throughout the loaf. We used the recipe from Rachel’s Irish Family cookbook!
- Irish Cream Tiramisu- concocted on the fly (aka the night before) by Monica using shot glasses and doing it trifle style. Homemade Irish cream and a light custard were used with crushed chocolate & vanilla wafers in-between. Cocoa was sprinkled on the top layer along with a dollop of whipped cream and topped with a raspberry.
- Irish Tea Cake– we made a simple vanilla butter cake and baked the batter in mini cupcake pans! We then topped them with powdered sugar. So delicious with a strong cup of tea.
Tea Hosting in the U.S.
Although American tea traditions are typically informal and unceremonious, many of us thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to partake in a British style tea when given the opportunity—honestly, we Americans crave these lovely traditions! The teas hosted at the Inn were well-received and memorable for guests. The sweet and savory treats were enjoyed by all and the tea ceremony proved to be a unique and lovely experience from the feedback we received!
Walkers Shortbread Cookies
Taylor’s Scottish Breakfast Tea
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