Amelia Claire’s Selling Tea Sugars

teasugarWhen Amy Bearden came across molded sugar cubes from Japan in a mail-order catalog, she immediately thought, “I don’t know why I can’t do them myself.”

Bearden, the owner of Amelia Claire’s bakery in West Ashley, is now selling the “tea sugars” for $5 a dozen. Although she’s keeping a stock of sugar cubes in her shop, Bearden is also willing to customize the cubes’ shapes and shades for special occasions.

“They’re really pretty,” says Bearden, who’s thus far sculpted the cubes into flowers and leaves. Continue reading

Magnolia Plantation Hosts French-Themed Tea Party for Michaux



Tea is typically associated with the United Kingdom, but the drink has occasionally cropped up in coffee-loving France – most famously in Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, in which the narrator drops a crumbly cookie in his cup and 3000 pages of reflections ensue.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is hoping to stimulate garden archaeology, not unbridled sentimentality, with its upcoming French Tea. The Apr. 6 event will benefit the Friends of André Michaux Charleston Garden Project, an organization studying the site of the 18th-century French botanist’s Charleston-area home. Continue reading

Summerville to Officially Launch Sweet Tea Trail

nate steiner

nate steiner

The Sweet Tea Trail, a promotional concept which grew from an 1890 receipt and a desire to drum up Summerville’s tourism economy, will officially open next month.

On Oct. 8, the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. will celebrate the trail’s launch at Hutchinson Square with a free event featuring tea-themed storytelling, tea tasting, tea trail ribbon-cutting and cornhole.

The chamber’s leadership class dreamed up the trail, which winds from Azalea Hall to the Plantation District, as a clever way of capitalizing on a nineteenth-century bill of sale showing Civil War veterans purchased 600 pounds of sugar and 880 gallons of tea for a reunion. Assuming the sugar wasn’t meant for the beans listed on the receipt, Summerville declared itself the birthplace of the iconic Southern beverage. Continue reading

Mother-Daughter Team Opens Shortbread Shop in West Ashley

Butter Blossoms

Butter Blossoms

Emily Herr’s three-year year old daughter immediately cottoned to the idea that her mother was creating a dainty, child-sized tearoom in which she could hold her December birthday party. The concept that’s harder to grasp – which won’t surprise any parents of toddlers – is sharing the play space.

“She doesn’t quite understand that other people will have their parties here,” says Herr, who’s opening Butter Blossoms Shortbread Shoppe & Tea Party Room in West Ashley this weekend.

The bakery’s an outgrowth of an online shortbread shop Herr, a Johnson & Wales grad and Sanctuary Hotel alum,  launched after her daughter was born. Herr and her mother, Shell DiTullio, developed 50 shortbread varieties to sell on Etsy. Continue reading