Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Ploughcroft Tea Room

As mentioned before, the Darjeeling Darlings essentially came to be at the Ploughcroft Tea Room in Lynchburg, Virginia. Jules and I have had many-a-warming pots of Darjeeling tea at this traditional English tea room and consider ourselves loyal customers. Where to begin...

If you were to visit Ploughcroft, you might think it a bit out of place. But then again, most tea rooms and houses that spot America are. Commerce Street is located in the heart of industrial down town Lynchburg where parallel parking isn't really optional and the old brick buildings could use a good power wash. Outside one of these old brick buildings that lines the street hangs a small sign marking the tea room's presence from the surrounding antique stores.

The drab of downtown Lynchburg is soon forgotten upon stepping inside the tea room that features a simple interior decor of mix-matched English countryside and a warm fire place. Apart from the couches that surround said fire place, the rest of the large high ceiling room is filled with tables set for tea and a couple low hanging chandeliers. Two large, wooden swinging doors lead to the back room that houses the kitchen. First impressions? Cozy.

One of the owners is Patricia who shares Ploughcroft with her daughter, Ashley. Patricia is from Dover and has successfully brought traditional English tea to Virginia. She worked at Sweet Briar for a time too!

If you can, grab one of the two tables nestled in the front of the room against the windows. Although Ploughcroft offers a number of different teas, I would easily say they have the best Darjeeling, which you can never go wrong with anyway. Like a traditional tea room, Ploughcroft does not serve a regular lunch menu of salads and sandwiches with a little bit of tea. However soup de jour and select a-la-carte dishes are an option. A traditional tea room experience consists of "afternoon tea" where a platter of various items is ordered with an endless pot of tea. Jules and I are partial to the Victorian platter, which consists of a three course meal in one.

Salmon and cucumber sandwiches are a great starter, followed by traditional scones (not biscuits!) accompanied by Devon cream and preserves. Save the best for last with the middle tier of assorted desserts, which is much like a box of chocolates because you aren't entirely sure what each one is or consists of. Rest assured they are all quite tasty though! If you think this won't be enough to satisfy an appetite, I can say from personal experience that this platter paired with bottomless tea will leave you quite full.

Although it's hard for me not to be biased when rating Ploughcroft, I would give it a 7 out of 10. The atmosphere and colorful tea pots create an authentic presence that is followed up with authentic English tea and food. Plus the tea is available for purchase! The scones are some of the better I've tried and the assorted desserts are a fun taste test. Patricia and Ashley are attentive owners who have established a restaurant that feels like taking tea in your very own living room.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Darjeeling Darlings: A Brief History and Overview


Pippa here. Now that Jules has done a smashing job of getting this blog off the ground and introducing ourselves to the blogosphere, I feel like giving a little bit more information about the Darjeeling Darlings and what we hope to accomplish through our abstract if you will.

As Jules mentioned in our first post, we met at Sweet Briar College and became quite good friends as we found many common interests, two of which being tea and the Royals. Speaking of which, if you were wondering were my nickname came from the story is this: multiple people have told me I resemble both of the Middleton sisters (maybe on a good day!).When Jules made the same observation the name Pippa just seemed to stick and I have been referred to as such ever since. Anyway... 

Lucky for Jules and I, Lynchburg, Virginia (where Sweet Briar is located) houses a pretty darn good tea house (to be featured in a future post!). Unbeknownst to us, we both had a separate knowledge of it previous to moving to school and meeting each other because of college visits to Sweet Briar/Lynchburg. Upon realizing our shared love for tea over dinner in the dining hall early in the semester we simultaneously asked, "Have you heard of Ploughcroft?!" Naturally the tea room became our clandestine hang out whenever we wanted to skip class "get off campus."

It wasn't until Jules and I met up over this past spring break that the idea for the blog was born. Wherever we travel to we're always on the hunt for tea-just like any proper pseudo English lady. As we talked over tea in a lovely tea room (to also be featured in a future post!), we decided to begin documenting our exploration of all things tea related. Tea 101, teas we love, teas we don't, visited tea rooms/houses across the country, the history of tea, and of course the Royals...because how could we not feature them?

This brings me to our mascot, Lizzie. Lizzie began as a funny between my mom and I; a silly Christmas stocking stuffer to take back with me to school for Jules and I to both get a kick out of. Lizzie is a small doll-sized, plastic figurine of the Queen that waves in the sunlight. Shortly thereafter, Lizzie became the mascot of Jules and I's spring break vacation where we took her everywhere with us for pictures: the beach, lunch, shopping, and of course the tea room mentioned above. Lizzie really won over the hearts of the British owners who refused to refer to her as anything but "Your Majesty." With such success in the tea house, how could we not let Lizzie accompany us on all our other tea-related travels as the official Darjeeling Darling mascot? And now Jules even has a Lizzie too! So, expect to see her quite a bit in future posts.

This ends my mini blog abstract which will hopefully give everyone enough information about the Darjeeling Darlings in order to better enjoy our total tea coverage to come.

Until next time! ~Pippa


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pomegranate Green Tea

This afternoon I gave into temptation and tried one of the teas that I got from the Fancy Food Show. I decided to open the variety pack from The Boston Tea Company.  I was pleasantly surprised to find about ten different types of tea in the box.

Since it was extremely warm out today I decided to go with the Pomegranate Green Tea as my choice. I thought it would taste the best over ice. I made it in my ice tea maker using the single serving setting.  It was really easy to make.

I found the tea very bold which I expected since it was considered a green tea. It was a bit on the bitter side and tasted tremendously strong.  I did add a sugar cube to help sweeten it.  I was expecting it to have more of a pomegranate flavor. The pomegranate taste was practically nonexistent. It tasted like an average cup of green tea.

I would recommend this tea for the green tea lover. Anyone who enjoys a cup of strong tea as a substitute to coffee will love it. The pack comes with 24 bags and retails for about 4.99.  I am looking forward to brewing the other flavors in the box. I would give this tea a 6 out of 10. -Jules

The Boston Tea Company and Lizzie 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Prince William!

Since Pippa and I love the royals, we felt it was important to celebrate Prince William's 30th birthday! To celebrate Williams 30th birthday we found some fun facts about him. Enjoy!-Jules

Have a cup of tea to celebrate! 

Washington DC Fancy "Tea" Show!

On Tuesday, Lizzie and I were fortunate to attend the Fancy Food Show, or Fancy "Tea" Show as I like to call it, in DC. There were tons of different exhibitors trying to get vendors to notice their product. I made a bee line to all of the tea and tea related booths as soon as I arrived. The show had tea companies from all over the world and each tea was completely different and unique. It was really interesting to taste how they all varied in flavor. One of Lizzie and I's favorite tea came from a new company from China. It was a jasmine tea that was perfect in every way. Unfortunately, the product is only available in China at this time, so I will just have to wait till they break out into the US tea market. All of the vendors were extremely nice and knowledgeable about their product. I was lucky enough to get to take several of the products home. I can't wait to let y'all know how they after Lizzie and I try them in the coming weeks.  -Jules

All of the products that I got to take home to try. I can't wait!
Have you had any of these? If so, what did you think?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Darjeeling Darlings

Hi, our names are Pippa and Jules and we are the Darjeeling Darlings. We are two best friends that met last summer during our first year at Sweet Briar College. Our friendship bonded over Saturday Night Live, Anderson Cooper,Outback Steakhouse, and most importantly our love of tea. We decided to write a blog about the different tea houses we visit along with our mascot Lizzie. Any excuse to have tea, right? We hope you enjoy reading about our journey through tea!
Jules and Pippa along with Lizzie.