An Afternoon At Downton Abbey

These December afternoons are crisp, grey, and bleak.  In a deep, solicitous, Adele-like tone, they beg for me to ignore errands and to enjoy the midday hours in the comfort of my own, cozy, abode.  With the glow of the Christmas tree shining down upon the keys of my laptop and the fragrance of gingerbread in the air, I happily acquiesce.  

There are many lovely ways in which one could occupy these hours, but few are so pleasant as a tea party with your favorite ladies.  Of course, I do not refer to just any tea party - oh, no, nothing so prosaic.  Rather, I speak of a Downton Abbey Tea Party, one that even the Dowager herself could not criticize.  

An Afternoon At Downton Abbey {Pedantic Foodie + World Market}

At last, it is time for me to share my very own Downton Abbey Tea Party, and I am feverish with enthusiasm!  Partially because it is Downton Abbey, and I need but to hear those two words and my heart begins palpitating, and partially, because it includes cake and tea - two of my greatest passions.

An Afternoon At Downton Abbey {Pedantic Foodie + World Market}

I awoke several mornings ago to greet December in her first, 2015 moments, and then began my baking.  By 3 o’clock, the candles were lit, the kettle was whistling, and my jolly guests were arriving.  The party had begun.

An Afternoon At Downton Abbey {Pedantic Foodie + World Market}

I love arranging and setting an elegant table, and World Market’s line of Downton Abbey dishes made this task especially pleasurable.  I employed one of my favorite and most sneaky tricks -  using coordinating wrapping paper as a table runner.  Wrapping paper is often available in bolder prints than runners, it’s inexpensive, and it can be thrown away after the guests are gone, making your laundry load a little lighter. Their buffet napkins in Plum Wine were the perfect compliment to the pattern on the dishes.  I love how they highlighted the amethyst in the

An Afternoon At Downton Abbey {Pedantic Foodie + World Market}
I served my tiny Gingerbread Tea Cakes with Whipped Cinnamon Mascarpone and Candied Orange Peel.  - the perfect compliment to a strong brew of Downton Abbey Christmas Blend. Besides being positively scrumptious, these little cakes were absolutely adorable.  This baking mold gave them their charming shapes, and though I was nervous, they popped out of the silicone quite easily.  A sprinkling of confectioner's sugar acted as a snow-like covering for their little roofs.  You can find the full recipe and instructions here!
Downton Abbey Tea Party {Pedantic Foodie}
In addition to the tea cakes, I also made scones using World Market's Organic English Scone Mix. I added 1 cup of fresh cranberries and 2 tablespoons of candied ginger, diced finely, to add a bit of pizzazz. The tartness of the cranberries and the spiciness of the ginger paired wonderfully, giving these scones a prominent, holiday flavor. I served them with ample spoonfuls of Lemon Curd.
These tiny tea sandwiches were a riff on my Thanksgiving Sandwich.  I just made a few adjustments to make them more tea party friendly.  I did not want any part of my tea party menu to be greasy, (we were being ladylike, after all), so rather than grilling the sandwiches, I cut the loaf of bread into small squares, brushed them with olive oil, and toasted them under the broiler for several minutes.  Then, I layered on the brie, turkey, arugula, and Black Cherry Jam, which felt a bit more elegant than cranberry sauce.  
Downton Abbey Tea Party {Pedantic Foodie}
I placed one of these lovely, sparkly, Christmas crackers at each setting.  Such novelties are valued not for their contents, but for the nostalgia and excitement that their resounding "pop" evokes.
An Afternoon At Downton Abbey {Pedantic Foodie + World Market}
I will never, ever, ever pass up the opportunity to turn something into a cookie.  So, cookie place cards seemed an obvious choice.  I used the medium snowflake cookie cutter in this set to punch out the tiny cookies.  Then, I used royal icing to pipe the names onto each cookie.  I wrapped them in cellophane bags and tied them up with a bit of ribbon.  They made excellent favors for my guests and looked quite fetching inside the tea cups.  
The hardest part of the whole event was choosing which tea to try first. I finally settled on Mrs. Patmore’s Blueberry Scone Tea and I have been drinking it nearly every day since. The berry flavor is prominent without being overbearing, and it has lovely vanilla notes that give it a more cozy feel than most berry teas I have tried.
Downton Abbey Tea Party {Pedantic Foodie}

I love that the little tea spoons came with tiny holes in the stems.  I tied a bit of gold, curling ribbon through each one and they made lovely little ornaments. 

As the last scones and sandwiches disappeared, the skies began to darken and it was nearly time for my dear friends to depart. 

They left with fond goodbyes and tea cup favors, and I was left with a full heart and a stash of new memories of my afternoon at my very own corner of Downton Abbey.  

Many warm thanks to World Market for sponsoring this post and allowing me to be a part of this special project.  You can find all the products I used and more in their Downton Abbey Shop.
And don't forget to enter to win the Downton Abbey Prize Package!  This is a wonderful collection of treats that you and your friends will certainly enjoy come the premier of the final season this January! *sniff, sniff*  I'm still in denial. 

The Downton Abbey Prize Package includes:

 *   Downton Abbey Teapot

 *   Downton Abbey Teacups and Saucers (set of 4)

 *   Downton Abbey Plates (set of 4)

 *   Downton Abbey 2-tier serving Stand

*   Republic of Tea Downton Abbey "Downton Estate Blend" Tea Tin

 *   Downton Abbey Napkins

 *   Notecards

 *   Mrs. Patmore DA Apron

 *   Downton Abbey Tea Towels

How do you feel about a trip to London, a Downton Abbey script by the entire cast, and a tour of Highclere Castle? You can enter the Downton Abbey Sweepstakes for a chance to win a dreamy trip to London and more!  They are also giving away three $500 gift cards to World Market, so if you do not win the grand prize there is still a chance for a shopping spree! 

A huge thanks to Cost Plus World Market for allowing me to be apart of this exciting campaign.  This post was sponsored by World Market stores.  As always, all opinions are my own.