The woods are dark and mysterious this morning, calling to mind gothic novels with their forbidding air of mystery, the mist moving as if it were the tatters of ghostly apparel. The trees bend in the wind, the birds are still, hunched in the rain that drops and slides over every tree and plant.
Perhaps this is a good day for a somewhat romantic tea, as most gothic novels I read in my misspent youth were romances with a big helping of mystery. They were so predictable. As soon as the handsome laird showed up and treated the heroine miserably you knew he was "The One" she would spend the next 150 pages trying to engage. Meanwhile, there was a gloomy manor, a scary cellar and surely, something she would need to be rescued from.
So, my tea today is SD Bell's China Raspberry from Best International Tea. When I opened the packet, it smelled just like a box of raspberry creme chocolates, rich, creamy, oozy. The dry leaves are pretty standard, quite black with some small white bits that may be flowers. There is nothing on the label to indicate anything about it. As I brewed it (3.5 minutes, 212 degree water) it began to remind me of church basements when the women of the church were preparing a big dinner - warm and comforting, filled with memories of good people and good food. There wasn't much raspberry scent at first, but as it cooled enough for me to sip it, more came out.
This is more a raspberry cream tea than a straight raspberry. It's good, but it isn't to my taste. Milk doesn't seem to do anything for it, in fact, it seems to overwhelm it. If you like raspberry cream, by all means try it. I would advice a heaping spoon and a 3 minute brew.
The nice folk at Best sent me some candy bars to try. So far, I have only had the milk chocolate with almonds. It's wonderful. Seems to have just a tad of sea salt in it as well, which I really like. It is very creamy, with slivers of almond running through.