Saturday, January 9, 2016

Downton Abbey Tea at Sweet Shalom and the Toledo Museum of Art

Cue the theme music from Downton Abbey.  Join the teapot and I for a mini vacation as we enjoy afternoon tea at Sweet Shalom and a visit to the Toledo Museum of Art.
We arrived on a dismal rainy afternoon, the perfect weather for afternoon tea.
I felt as if we were treated to normal English weather to help set the mood.
The mantle decor is changed monthly, and always helps carry out the theme of the monthly tea. 
This month it was adorned with elegant flowers.
The yellow parlor with a couple of the costumed servers.  I felt as if I were in the wonderful care of Anna during our tea time.  The servers at Downton Abbey always wear costumes to match the theme.  This month it was traditional maid uniforms.  Chris is the seamstress who handles the needlework.
We were seated in the rose or red parlor.  The tables were filled with guests for the Downton Abbey tea.
My place setting
A themed place card lets everyone at a table know where to sit.  The monthly menu lists the teas available for the month on one side and the tea menu is on the other.  The back of the menu shares the history of the home and the story of how it became "Sweet Shalom Tea Room".
Tea at Sweet Shalom always begins with scones served from silver dishes.
Kensington Palace Scones with Strawberry Jam and Butter
The main entree was Chicken Tenderloin in White Wine Caper Sauce on Rice, an upstairs dish that was delicious.
Sara presented the program.  She read quotes from the show and we guessed who said it.
She also shared the storyline of the program for the guests who were unfamiliar with it.
I always enjoy the program at Sweet Shalom.  There is plenty of time before and after the program for visiting and I always learn a little something.  Often times they share a tidbit of information they found while researching the monthly theme.  I am amazed at the time and effort they spend making sure every little detail is handled properly for the monthly themes.
Our tiered server
Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches - delicious
Beef Tenderloin Roulade with Horseradish Sauce - the horseradish added just the right touch
Parmesan Artichoke Squares - wonderful
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches - what is tea without cucumber sandwiches (Sweet Shalom includes them on every monthly tea menu.)
Sweet Brown Sugar Shortbread - this melted in my mouth
Apple Charlotte - nice and warm with yummy apples and seasoned with the perfect amount of spice
The final dessert was Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce
(Mrs. Patmore and Daisy outdid themselves!)
I was in the group of quote contest second place finishers.  Our prizes were quote bookmarks.  I loved Violet's quote.  She delivers her lines with such aplomb.

Unlimited cups of Harney and Sons tea are served throughout afternoon tea.  Our server was happy to use the traveling teapot for our tea.  We drank five pots and my order of preference was Citron Green, Black Current, Hot Cinnamon Spice, White Winter Earl Grey and Vanilla Comoro.  We drank them in the proper order this time, from light to dark.  A tea friend joined me and we had a delightful afternoon.

Many times when enjoying afternoon tea, I make a mini vacation of my day.  The Toledo Museum of Art seemed the perfect place to visit after tea.
Many photographers use the front of the art museum as a backdrop for photos.
We found many references to tea in the artwork
This panel uses broken ceramic pieces.  
We found a teacup among them.
Van Gogh
Another tea reference.  The teapot wanted a better look.
I believe a teapot and teacup are on the breakfast table.
One of my favorite areas of the museum is the Cloister.
Each wall of the cloister is different.  You can see all four walls with columns in the photos below. Three are from the middle ages, made of stones from ruined French monasteries.  The fourth was constructed by local craftsmen of wood and plaster.
Background music sets a relaxing and peaceful tone.

Toledo is known as the glass city.  Across the street from the main museum is the Glass Pavilion.

The art museum is free, but there is a nominal fee for parking.

Thank you for coming along on my mini vacation.
Sips and Smiles,


  1. All I can say is Wow!!
    Rochelle, ATAA

  2. What a perfect way to spend a day. It was nice to see the foods served for the Downton Abbey Tea.
    The museums have some nice paintings and interesting things.
    Thanks so much.

  3. Great day for you and teapot! Two of my very favorite things to do in Toledo. What fun!

  4. Loved all the details! Great write up!

  5. How I would love visiting Sweet Shalom one day for tea. It looks so special and the food, oh my!!!