Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tea in Paris

Recently, my husband and I were fortunate to celebrate our anniversary by taking a  week long river cruise from Normandy to Paris.  It was a fabulous trip and I absolutely adored Paris!  We will have to return some day as we simply didn't have enough time for everything we wanted to see and do. 

Even though our time was limited, I did my best to visit several tea spots. On our way to Paris, we stopped at Rouen.  Rouen is a charming town with plenty of shopping and historical points of interest.  Most notably where Joan of Arc met her demise.  Cakes was our first tea stop.  The tea maids  at Cakes wore  beautiful red toile aprons which I wanted to purchase.  But a $100 for an apron couldn't be justified so a picture would have to do. No one there spoke English but using the universal language of money I was able to purchase some French Breakfast tea. It was quite robust and satisfying.

 Next, was the famous Hediard in Paris.  The walls were a dizzying array of  red tea tins.  Hediard, purveyor of fine teas since 1854, offers more than 200 varieties of tea from many different origins to be enjoyed at any time of day.  They strive to impart the spirit of tea, to encourage the awakening of tastes, to stimulate the desire and satisfy the curiosity for the unknown.   We were able to be seated here for a delicious pot of tea and a to die for French apple tart. 

 At Hediard,  I chose the  famous Hediard blend, one of their most popular black tea blends from China with a delicious subtle bergamot, lemon and sweet orange flavor.

Mariage Freres was the last stop for tea. It was also established in 1864.   Here there was an overwhelming inventory of  600 choices of tea. With the help of a young French salesman,  I chose  Marco Polo.   Another wonderful black tea blend of  several varieties of Chinese and Tibetan fruit and flowers creating  a highly sophisticated bouquet.

And so our trip to France came to an end all too quickly.  I am still enjoying my French tea and dreaming of returning some day.  Have you ever been to France?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bake Some Tea Cookies for Your "Mum" for Mother's Day

Show your "Mum" some love and bake her a batch of these sweet tea cookies for Mother's Day.  These cookies are scrumptious to nibble with your tea and in between teatimes.  Given to me by a dear grad school friend many years ago,  this recipe has always been my "go to" sugar cut out cookie recipe.  You can decorate the cookies as you wish as shown in the picture above or serve them as is as shown in the picture below. They are equally delicious either way.   Will you be sharing tea with someone on Mother's Day?

Sugar Cookies
Mix together and reserve:
2 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Cream together:
2/3 C butter
1 C sugar

Blend in:
1 egg. beaten
2 T milk
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t lemon extract

Blend in dry ingredients.  Chill in fridge 2 hours or until dough can be easily handled.  Roll 1/8" thickness on lightly floured cloth.  Cut  into teapot  shapes with floured teapot cookie cutters.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 10-12 minutes.