Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nutcracker Tea Party

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite has been performed in Toledo, Ohio for the past 75 years.  The woman who secured a rare orchestral score during World War II still serves on the board of the Toledo Ballet.  It is the longest running annual production of The Nutcracker in the United States.  This past weekend, we attended the opening show.  The teapot tagged along.

She posed in the lobby for her photo
The Stranahan Theater has three of these amazing chandeliers in the lobby.
The November/December issue of Tea Time magazine features a Nutcracker Tea on pages 29-35.   Normally, I use this magazine as inspiration for my teas.  I pick and choose various recipes or ideas.  I have subscribed for years.  I decided to do the Nutcracker Tea as printed.  (Or pretty close to it.)  I started preparations about 11 a.m., planning on a light tea for dinner.  It took me until 8:30 that evening.  This menu takes a while.  (My husband put a couple burgers on the grill for his appetizer.)
I would have loved to enjoy tea by our fireplace, but Ohio has been unseasonably warm.
Our tea table  (Nothing like the magazine, but I am not a professional.)
We sipped Nutcracker Tea from S&V with all the courses.  One cup of black tea in the evening is plenty for me.  We had an herbal cinnamon plum after our tea.  It was a beautiful burgundy color.  (I forgot a photo.)
The Mother Ginger Scones with clotted cream and lemon curd.  We both agreed they were pretty good.  Not overly sweet, they had a lot of chocolate, cranberries (I didn't have dried cherries), crystallized ginger, pistachios, and lemon zest in them.  I chopped everything pretty fine, so every bite had a bit of everything.  My husband didn't even add butter or curd.
The Savories
The Nutcracker Palmier were our favorite, followed by the Crab Salad Phyllo Cups and then the Mouse King Cheese Truffles.  I was afraid the Palmier would be sweet with the butter and honey glaze on top, but the honey was very subtle and just cut the tang of the cheese.  The Crab Salad was very good and a nice alternative to the usual mayo based salads.  The phyllo cups added a nice crunch. I added some snowflake crackers for the cheese truffles.  They were a bit on the spicy side and just a bit too much flavor going on to suit us.   
The Mini Sugarplum Cheesecakes won in the dessert category for both of us.  I used black raspberry jam since I didn't have plum preserves.  The Snowflake Cake Bites got better the longer they sat.  They have sour cream in the recipe, so they could definitely be made ahead a day or so.  These were time consuming and I am not good with dipping anything in chocolate.  Mine just turn out a mess.  These were easier to dip than most, but I added more chocolate morsels to the ganache and let it cool a bit before dipping.  (Thank you Donna for chatting on the phone with me while I added the edible snowflakes.)
And the Citrus-Topped Ginger Cream Tart.  I do not have a tart pan and since our tea was for two, I used a mini pie plate that belonged to my grandmother.  (I can remember making a little pie in this pan, with her leftover crust when she baked pies.  I love to use things that have been handed down to me from past generations.  It may not be shiny and new on my tea table, but feeling like a bit of Grandma is still with me is priceless.  She had a hifi record player we would play at Christmas.  Our favorite records were "Snowflake" by Jim Reeves and Alvin's Harmonica.)
The ginger cream was delicious.  The citrus fruits really enhanced the flavor and it was a nice ending to the tea.  The ginger really helped settle all the richness from the other food. 

Overall, it was a fun tea and some foods I would not normally try.  It was very time consuming.  It would be great for an after ballet tea.  Most of the things could be made (or partially prepared) a day ahead and just assembled or baked at the last minute.  

Be sure to visit Google Search today for a fun little activity.

Sips and Smiles,


  1. It wouldn't seem like Christmas without the Nutcracker in one form or another.
    Rochelle, ATAA

  2. Amazing! What a beautiful tea! I know how much time and effort went into this! Loved the appetizer! Lol. What a sport he is! Have had fun with all your posts!

  3. What a labor of love, Teresa. We went to the Nutcracker Ballet in Chicago and I've always thought it was a wonderful theme for a tea. Yours was really nice and thank you for sharing.

  4. It all looks so delicious. I have been to a Nutcracker Tea and they are great fun!

  5. I'd been looking at these recipes and tea ideas for a while now, and you've given me inspiration and confidence to try them myself :) I think the ginger cream tart might be first :) Thanks for the lovely photos too!

  6. How inspiring to try all the recipes you tried. Good job. I even liked seeing the edible snowflakes. You inspire me to try some of the recipes in Tea Time. How lovely the the teapot got to attend the ballet, what a wonderful treat.