As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I always try to procure an Irish-style tea. However, in years past I realized I was seriously lacking on the Irish teaware front. Even while IN the actual countries of Ireland and Northern Ireland, I wasn’t happy with the pottery I was finding. I came back empty-handed, but still with a desire to own my own pieces.
I looked online for Irish potters IN Ireland and although some of the designs were creative and very beautiful, I still wanted something that would say “Ireland”, but not with the typical shamrocks which I find cartoonish and not a classical statement about the Irish in my opinion.
I had looked at Belleek Pottery online for several years. It’s pricey, but easily available. It wasn’t until I discovered their Claddagh line that I felt compelled to finally make a purchase.
Belleek is located in the town of Belleek, in County Fermanagh along the southwest border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the country of the Republic of Ireland, which occupies the majority of the island of Ireland.
Although we visited Northern Ireland, where both of our ancestor’s originated before coming to America, we didn’t venture down that far to visit the Bellek Pottery headquarters which has been around for over 150 years.
I purchased a lovely teapot, a mug, and a serving plate from the Belleek website with the lovely Claddagh on each piece. Although it was shipped overseas, the package arrived in plenty of time for St. Patrick Day festivities and superbly packed! Their Parian China, which is a type of biscuit porcelain imitating marble, is hand-crafted in Ireland and the Claddagh design is a legendary symbol truly associated with Ireland. AND they offered personlization on the mug: how could I resist that?
The teapot couldn’t be more beautiful and it poured my Irish Breakfast Tea to perfection. Not a drop spilled. The mug is lightweight and fits the hand with ease and comfort.
Now I needed some Irish treats and my mind went to a local chocolate & sweets shop called Christopher Hasting Confections where they make small-batches of sweets in house with their own hand-crafted chocolate. Although these treats weren’t MADE in Ireland, they certainly have the flavors and theme of Ireland and are lovely to look at as well!
I picked up a 6-piece box of their St. Patrick’s Day Bonbon assortment which included such fabulous Irish flavors as:
- Irish Breakfast Tea – creamy milk chocolate ganache, crunchy sea salt caramel crispearls in a snappy dark chocolate shell
- Irish Coffee – Jameson blended Irish whiskey caramel married with their 62% dark chocolate espresso ganache
- Irish Stout Truffle – dark chocolate Guinness stout ganache encased in a 62% dark chocolate shell
- Irish Cream – white chocolate ganache encased in a luscious 35% milk chocolate shell
To add to the sweet treats, they made up a batch of their very popular Pot o’ Gold Nonpareils which includes 2 oz. of milk chocolate disks coated with bright yellow nonpareils on one side — and then placed in a whimsical black cauldron festooned with adorable ribbons. How cute is that? I tried to position the cauldron to show it spilling treats onto the plate. Not sure I succeeded, but I tried.
As far as the goodies go, all I can say is: “WOW! Fantastic fillings, artistic adornments, and melt-in-your mouth chocolate!” If you love a gourmet treat, check out their website…they have a great online store and ship around the country. You truly get what you pay for: QUALITY.
A tea photo shoot in my house would not be completed without some flowers to add a pop of color. Today I chose some daffodils, which were ironically marketed as “Celtic Daffodils”. I’m not sure there is such a thing, but kudos to the clever marking folks who felt it would increase sales three days before St. Patrick’s Day.
Daffodils are also symbolic of the following:
The other TRUE Irish item in today’s photo shoot is the lovely Irish linen napkin. It’s from a set of four I purchased last year. Beautiful, delicate detail in a simple pattern.
I’ll leave you with this Irish blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Thank you for reading my wee blog. Sláinte