Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The church in Germany where my 5 greats-grandfather was christened, in the baptismal font on the left. The cross was lost for many years, found in a barn and returned.

First of all, an announcement. The Chicago Tea Garden, co-owned by fellow blogger, Tony Gebley is now selling Zealong Tea, the only tea grown in New Zealand. It sounds like lovely stuff, but at $38 for a bit over 2 ounces, I really can't. If you would like to try this or any of his other offerings, go on over to http://www.chicagoteagarden.com/ I assure you, many are less costly, but very good.

Today is a really pleasant day, warm, but not hot, sunny with enough clouds to be pretty, and low humidity. Quite a contrast to the last few days when even the cats wouldn't go out, but slept the entire day. To celebrate, I am having one of the Golden Moon Tea samples I bought a while ago. It is Sinharaja, a Ceylon tea grown near the Sinharaja Rainforest. The dry leaves are fairly long and twisted, a dark rich brown, smelling somewhat of bubblegum, old wood and fine tobacco. I brewed it for 4 minutes and the resulting liquor is a lovely amber, with that great fresh wash on the line smell. There is also a hint of molasses or caramelized sugar. This continues in the taste, which is very fresh with a somewhat molasses, toasty taste, that finishes sweet. The addition of cream seems to bring out all the flavors and I imagine some sugar would also. I brewed it for 4 minutes, but I think it could easily go 5 and be quite good.

I have a recommendation for a spread for all you toast lovers. Nutella. This is a chocolate, hazelnut, milk spread dearly beloved by Europeans and my family. The first time my cousin had it, he ate the whole jar he thought it was so good. And it is. It might even go well on plain scones. It goes nicely with most black teas. It is not overly sweet, either. Most fairly large supermarkets carry it by the jellies and peanut butters.


Steve said...

I love nutella. What's even better, or at least different, is just hazelnut butter. It doesn't have the chocolate, or as much sugar, but it is delicious. I first had it with a bread plate at a French bakery in NYC. Amazon has a few options.

Alex Zorach said...

Zealong is definitely very expensive...it is to my knowledge the only tea grown commercially in New Zealand...but from what I know of climate and the tea plant, New Zealand definitely has areas suitable for growing tea, so it's not a huge stretch for it to be grown there. Maybe we'll see more New Zealand teas soon.

Still, oolongs are complex--and it's not always warranted to be too intimidated by high prices. I've had some oolongs where a tiny amount of leaf can go a long way, and can be infused over and over again. In some of these cases, the high price can be deceptive...sometimes the cost-per-cup can actually be lower than that of a "cheaper" tea.

I haven't yet tried Zealong, so I can't say if this is the case, but $38 for 2 oz. is pricey. But...put it in perspective, if you use between 2 and 3 grams per cup and only make one infusion, this is between $1 and $2 per cup. Compare to an $8 mixed drink at a bar and it starts looking cheaper. As I always say, expensive tea is inexpensive.

Marlena said...

Good point, Alex. And even impatient me steeps Oolongs 2-3 or more times.