Monday, February 21, 2011

Ooh La La! Mes Amis!

I had good intentions on Monday, but here it is, already Wednesday.

As I gaze out at 6 new inches of snow, which is beautiful, but still - more snow!, I am reminded that one of the farmers at the farmers market is right now grafting tomatoes so that by May 30 we can buy really tasty, fresh, ripe tomatoes. Also, in a few short weeks, the tea harvest will begin in China and we can look forward to a lot of wonderful new teas. The weather in both India and China has been good this year, so the farmers are looking forward to a good harvest.

Some of the trees in the meadow look like thin ladies dressed in very full ball gowns and there are a multitude of animal tracks, although some tracks are just big blob marks where the cats can only leap instead of walk.

If you like interesting tea breads and would like to make a really cute Panda Tea Bread, please go on over to for pictures and a link to the recipe.

You lucky folks in the Chicago areas of Naperville and Skokie are in for a treat. On any Tuesday you can go to the local Adagio tea shop and pick out one of their teas for a free cup of tea. The Skokie shop is in the Old Orchard Mall. Definitely a nice way to advertise and help us broaden our tea horizons at the same time. Our local teashop, Briar Patch, does the same thing.

Today's tea is from Culinary Teas, from Gay Paree - otherwise known as French Blend. And it certainly is a blend! Ceylon, Nilgiri, Assam and Kenya Black teas, "Cream of Vanilla Earl Grey", Jasmine, Rose and Lavender flowers. That's a lot going on in one small cup.

Dry, this is an attractive tea, with all the flower petals and the different leaves. To me it had a strong citrus scent with floral and perhaps lavender overtones. I brewed it for the usual 1 teaspoon, 3.5 minutes with boiling water. As it brewed, I could catch the aroma of the Earl Grey and the rose/jasmine combination, one I especially like. This is a lot more delicate than I would have expected, and I did not catch much of a Cream flavor. Nor was I able to discern any lavender, but the rose and jasmine were very good partners with the Earl. After trying it both plain and with cream, I decided the latter is better. Probably a bit of sweetener would be good, but I am always leery of anything sweet in my tea.

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