Monique's Bridal Tea Party

Monique & Me
On October 2nd 2011 I hosted a very special tea party at my studio - bridal showers for my friend and intern (graduate student of 3 years) Monique Trottier, who just got married to her new beau (of 15 years!) this Sunday... And what better excuse to celebrate and pull out some of the most luxurious fragrant recipes and ideas than a wedding celebration?

As you can guess by her name, Monique is French Canadian, so it was not difficult to go with a mostly-French menu. I decided on a theme of Violets & Leather - because I know Monique likes both notes. And the menu was just born out of that...

I don't have photos of all the savouries (yet) but here are some dessert photos I managed to snap with my iPhone before all the guests arrived...

And the guests, by the way, were the sweetest crowd imaginable, including Gwendoline from Patent and the Pantry, whose blog I followed for a while, and with whom I enjoyed exchanging baking tips and recipes with, and the gifted artist Rachael Ashe who took proper photos of all the baking which I hope to post here later.

Violet & Orris Truffles
The cherry on the top: Viola truffles (dark chocoalte with violet leaf absolute and orris butter) and Sahleb truffles (white chocolate with orris butter, coconut milk and a hint of rose).

Violet Shortbread Cookies
Violet shortbreads - true decadence! Perfectly flaky and flavoured with orris butter and alpha ionone natural isolate, decorated with crystalized violets, of course.

Pumpkin Scones
Pumpkin scones! Monique is a pumpkin lover, not surprising for someone who is obsessed with the Harry Potter septology... I almost left them out for black current scones, but these seemed perfect especially it being autumn.

Chipotle Brownies
Something spicy and smoky was in order!

Cream Earl Gray Madeleines
And of course - we had to have some madelienes! The are flavoured with honey, and Earl Grey Cream tea leaves.
Bridal Tea Party Menu:
The menu signs - all the menu items were revolving around the delicate tea-like violet and ionone aromas, and leather-like smoky accents.

Tea Sandwiches:
Brie + Pear Mini Croissants (with cassis mustard)
Smoked Cheddar + Honeycrisp Apple Tea Sandwiches on Rye Bread
Classic Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
Chevre + Wine Jelly Baguette Open Sandwiches

Mini Mushroom Quiches

Pumpkin Scones, served with creme fraiche and local fig confiture

Sweets & Desserts:
Madeleines au The Earl Grey
Sables au Violette (violet shortbreads)
Chipotle Brownies (spicy and smoky!!!)

Chocolate Truffles:
Sahleb Truffles (white chocolate with coconut, orris and rose)
Viola Truffles (dark chocolate with violet leaf and rose)

Teas & Libations:
French Earl Grey
Osmanthus Oolong
Cream Earl Grey

Violets for my Furs
Violets for my Furs - the perfume that seemed the perfect match for this party, as it has both of the notes (violet and leather) that were the theme; and served as an example for various violet-like and leather-like notes, but most importantly - the aphrodisiac properties of perfume, which is what Monique wanted to be featured in the presentation part of the event. The ingredients in this perfume were what the presentation revolved around: the story of Napoleon and Josephine (she liked violets above all scents, and before his exile, Napoleon picked some of the violets on her grave, and kept them with him until his own death); violets' seductiveness with its ionones, which seduce and tease the nostrils by fading in and out of the olfactory bulb's perception... The connections were drawn between ionone-rich essences (violet, iris, boronia, cassie, osmanthus...) and leathery notes. Interestingly, ionone is present in teas. And so are tannins, which are important in curing leather (and are what give leather its "leathery" aroma in the curing process). Cassie, for example, is one of the plants that is used for curing leather and also has a very violet-like scent. Osmanthus, another ionone-rich absolute, has a scent reminiscent of apricots and... you guessed it! Leather!

Monique is a famous book worm, so it was only natural to end the presentation with spraying black lambskin leather bookmarks (courtesy of Jola V. Designs) with the Violets For My Furs perfume.

The intricate connections between botanicals and essences, their healing powers, folkloric and symbolic meanings are all fascinating and add another layer of understanding and appreciation of perfume that none of the guests would have expected. Not even the aunt who never wears perfume and never thought she would be in the least interested in it :-)

Monique, Ayala, Jolanta & Anita
From left to right: Monique, Ayala, Jolanta, Anita (who graduated with Monique as well) and in the very background - Tamya.

"Spice It Up" Valentine's Tea Party February 13th 2011

Perfume sniffing!
Beautiful ladies engaged in the sensory world of perfumery.

5-tiered tea try :-)
The infamous 5-tiered tea tray with all the goodies!

The whole spread...

The menu:
Tier 1: Sandwiches & Savouries
Cucumber + Mint Tea Sandwiches
Tomato + Basil Tea Sandwiches
Carrot + Ginger Tea Sandwiches
Curried Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Tier 2: Scones + Cream
Rosemary + Lavender Scones
Cheddar + Cayanne Scones
Served with Devonshire Cream and with Fig + Walnut Jam

Tier 3: Desserts and Petitfours
Banana Fudge Brownies
Geranium + Fleur de Sel Shortbread
Rose + Almond Sables
Date + Coconut Rolls
White Potion Truffles

Tea Selection:
Moroccan Mint Tea, served with Orange Flower Water
French Earl Gray (Shaktea)
Roses et Chocolat HOT chocolate, served with CocoaNymph's very own saffron marshmallows!

Perfume sniffing party!
Perfume sniffing party!

Hot Rose et Chocolat topped with Saffron Marshmallows by CocoaNymph
Roses et Chocolat hot drinking chocolate, topped with saffron marshmallows!
Rachel of CocoaNymph have created them especially for my tea party. I used her drinking chocolate (dark Belgian chocolate, melted into half-and-half...), and infused it with rosewater and a dash of hot chili pepper. The most seductive hot chocolate I've ever experienced...!

Heart Cup
Hearty tea cup with a heart tea strainer.

Layering the tea try with hand-cut heart doillies.

Door Prizes

Little door prizes, including raffle tickets, miniature Roses et Chocolat bars and a fragrant tea bag (Earl Gray Cream).

Nao and Jessica reading the fanbooks and picking favourite scents.

White Potion + Guilt Truffles
White Potion truffles (white chocolate + tuberose + coconut), and Guilt truffles (dark chocolate + orange flower + wild orange).

The hostess...

The tea party on Sunday, February 13th was a great success. And it was all thanks to my awesome friends - Jolanta Va (who took most of the pics for the party, and helped to host it), Monique Trottier (who helped me to make all the sandwiches, decorate, host the party and help the guests pick perfumes) and Rachel Sawatzky (with her amazing chocolates and marshmallows!) that I was able to pull it off, once again... These parties are a lot of fun to initiate, but a huge production that is quite devastating to undertake on my own. I'm so thrilled, thankful and happy to have such wonderful friends and wonderful customers who support me in Vancouver. I can certainly feel the love and hope you do too!

Aphro-tea-siacs in Fresh Cup Magazine Featuring Ayala Moriel's Aphrodisiac Tera Party

The April issue of Fresh Cup Magazine features an article titled APHRO-TEA-SIACS: Exploring the sexy side of infusions by Steven Krolak includes an extensive interview with me and Dawna (the wonderful lady who makes my tea line), about aphrodisiacs in perfume and tea, and my last Aphrodisiac Tea Party I hosted for my customers for Valentine's Day.
Click here to visit the online edition of the current issue (p. 46-51).
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