So this past Sunday morning, I had a foreboding and frazzled start that opened up into a perfect day - one of those magical moments that you have as much control over as the weather. You just ... watch and listen.
I had been up until the wee hours, prepping and dressing and baking and preening my little experiment for the town of Timnath. I was completely exhausted, and excited. I had kitted and packed up every last fine detail, and was ready to get some sleep, if only four hours of it. And then I remembered the Welsh Cakes. They would have to wait until morning.
I put the kettle on at 6:00am, and began the Welsh Cakes, knowing I'd undoubtedly not be ready to leave at 7:30. I decided to take my chances with getting to Timnath two hours in advance for set up as planned - the Welsh Cakes were too important. No one else makes these things. Colorado needs Welsh Cakes, and I have a job to do. I finally left Loveland at 8:30. The market began at 10:00. Thank God for Becca Bay, the wonderful artisan vendor guardian angel that stewards the Colorado Feed & Grain - she seemed to understand that the Welsh Cakes must be.
I arrived at the market and I was the last to setup. Small tinge of panic. I unpacked my bursting Grand Cherokee, and setup the party tent in a record short time - one hour. Open for business at 10:15. Not bad. Won't let it happen again. My three helpers showed up and followed me around diligently whilst I sorted out how to lead, demonstrate serving a cream tea on china, finish setting up the dish washing station, finish loading in the china cabinet, finish filling the creamer and sugar bowl, heat up the kettles, reset the tripped power strip, reset it again, go inside and ask Becca to check the breaker panel, return to the first guests who were patiently waiting for the first seating, heat up the kettles again, reset the tripped power strip again, reattach my head, etc.
And then, by noon, no one. Not good. Shoppers came in, now and again, and sampled scones. Many scanned the tent, asked me a few questions, and left to check out the rest of the market. Nearly everyone loved the look and feel of the room, and were delighted with the idea. I got the sense most didn't know what to do with the space. I have my work cut out for me.
I spent a good couple of hours ruminating on why I started this venture, enjoying cream scones and Mr. Earl Grey by Free Leaf Tea. I took in the market vibe, the gorgeous day, the peace of sitting in that space. I felt that I could be there, sharing the soulful, simple peace of conversation, tea, and the light treat of a cream scone, forever. No matter how slow the market may be. I connected with my "why." How often does one get to do that?
Breathe. Love. Take Tea.
Come to Grace Yoga at 4520 N Garfield Ave this Friday from 10:00 - 4:00pm for our scones and Welsh cakes, complete with Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Preserves. A perfect pairing!
In May of 2013 I had the pleasure of accompanying my friend Alison back to her homeland for a 'grand tour' of the English and Welsh countryside. We motored through Kent, took high tea in London, walked the Wiltshire countryside, and settled down for a week in the Cotswolds. Everywhere we went, we sussed out the best food via social media, and religiously sampled the local ales and cheeses. We also focused on touring as many prominent gardens as we could, always sure to stop in the ever-present tea room. Absolutely. Glorious.
Anyone who knows me knows I adore great gardens. I feel somewhere between this world and the next when I walk in them. I took away something unexpected from this particular trip though - a love of great scones. I returned to my Colorado hometown and never quite forgot them. The snowflake texture, the buttery essence, and that one ingredient that caused them to hover above the earth - Devonshire cream. Accompanied by a perfect cup of tea. We've nothing like this here. Nothing.
The scones here are satisfying, don't get me wrong. Some quite good. But ... they're cakey. Or they're doused with a achingly sweet glaze crust, and they become a triangular, hole-less doughnut at that point. They're somehow still bound to this earth, like a good biscuit. They make you want coffee with them to balance their density, which is why Starbucks serves them. I decided to embark on a quest to find a recipe that replicates those scones - over there.
I knew I began to hit the target after about a year of trying different recipes. I grew a little too close to the subject matter and needed objectivity (I wish you could have seen the quizzical looks I've received when I've discussed my scone nerdiness with others). I began to bring my latest experiments into the office, with very encouraging reactions. I would casually deposit a scone on a colleagues desk, usually on a Friday. I would get a "thanks!" and our conversation would turn to the task or issue at hand. Sometimes I'd head off back to my office. Almost without exception, my test subject would drop what they were doing, pause, eye-widened, and say something to the effect of "that's a scone?! omg, that's the best damn scone I've ever had!"
And that's without the Devonshire cream. Which is an excellent start. But, I conjectured, there is a very good reason that the classic pairing of scone + devonshire cream is absolutely ubiquitous across the UK (they call it a "cream scone" and it always is served with good tea). I think we are missing the ball over here. Time to change things. Time to fill that afternoon energy dive most of us suffer. We fill it rather horribly now - with more coffee (not as nice in the afternoon somehow), sugar, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how immensely satisfying it is to cuddle a warm cup of lightly caffeinated great tea and tuck into a light-as-air cream scone during that daily valley.
Office Salvation. Here's hoping you share in the experience.