Monday, December 27, 2010

French Tea in the Snow

That's kind of how I feel after Christmas, like a bird about to take wing.

We had such a lovely Christmas. There is nothing quite like seeing everyone have a really good time and knowing that you have made this fun work. It is so satisfying to really please guests and make them feel special. One of our guests is in his 90s - still playing trumpet, still has 7 trumpet students, and one of the true gentlemen of this world. It has been such a privilege to know him.

I certainly got tea presents! A new electric teakettle, which, as the switch on mine is going, is very welcome. I got 4! teapots - 2 Yi Xing teapots that I am intending to use solely for Oolong and the best green teas. I really want to do the whole thing of first boiling them in the tea I want to use in them and then exclusively use them only for that tea. I was especially happy to receive them, because the ones I currently had are so special, I feel I can only display them or use them for very special occasions. I also received a really cute little glass one and a beautiful blue Yi Xing that looks like a bunch of bamboo tied with a small vine. That may be display. I also got some Fauchon tea, which I will have this afternoon and review here.

We had a yummy lunch today - falafel sandwiches. A Middle Eastern treat. It's a mix with the prime ingredient being ground chick peas and spices. You make patties with it and then saute them and put them in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki, which is a sauce made from Greek yogurt, garlic and finely chopped cucumber. Serve it up with mint tea and be transported to Greece or Morocco. I was trying to think how to do it for a tea, but then I remembered there are those mini pitas. Hmm and with some of those lovely Greek pastries... You could have a really nice exotic party, perfect for the winter doldrums.

However, on to the tea. As I said, this is from Fauchon, another French tea company. It is called Le Melange Fauchon, aka Fauchon's Blend. The label says it is Ceylon and China Black teas with rose petals, citrus peel and lavender. It comes in a very nice tin, with a sliding, outer lid and an inner one, to keep it nice and fresh. The dry tea smells of old leather with a very heavy, sort of sweet citrus aroma, reminiscent of some of the heavier Russian blends. As it brewed, the scent moderated quite a bit and became much more pleasant. There didn't appear to be much in the way of lavender in it.

The first time I made it, I brewed it for 4 minutes, as they recommend. Unh, unh, the citrus peel overwhelmed everything and it wasn't very nice. The second time I only did it for 3 minutes with a bit more tea. It brewed up a nice dark amber, with almost a sugar cookie aroma to go with the tea and citrus. Interesting. Ah, this time, the tea is much, much better. The citrus seems to be taking its proper place and some sort of spice is coming to the fore. Sadly, I can't say I really like it. I tried it with some sugar and that was a great help, as it smoothed out the edges of the citrus. In fact, with sugar, it is very good, and some cream completes the process. And you all know I am not a sugared tea person. It is always interesting how tea can change so much in one cup, with a few additions.

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