Chéri and have busy lives, and with me working most Saturdays, we greatly treasure our time together on Sundays. Especially breakfast. Continue reading
I used to be a big coffee drinker. But I was converted by a Mariage Frères tea : thé de noël. It’s still my favorite, but I have since found other teas to please my palette and teas for all different times of day. There’s morning tea, I like a smooth black tea, then mid morning a black tea with a little more floral hints is nice or something with a sweetness to it. Afternoon tea can range from Korean tea to green tea, to even another cup of the mid-morning if I really need it. Then there is after-dinner tea, and then before bed tea. In all, I probably brink a minimum of five cups of tea a day. So, as you can see… I love tea. And so does chéri. He will often come home with a big happy smile and announce that he has found a lovely new tea to try, and this is THE event of the day…. (yes we lead thrilling lives). 😉
A friend of mine who is also a tea lover, showed me this wonderful store that sells just tea and tea accessories. La Compagnie Anglaise des Thés. So it’s an English company, but I am not surprised, the English have had a thing for tea since the end of dark ages I imagine.
There are just a few stores in France, and what is nice is it’s an affordable tea that you can buy loose. You can purchase a minimum of 100 grams, or a filled bag. You are not confined to their pre-packaging, and this allows you to do a scent test right from the bulk bin (that is an air tight tin) to see if you really do want a lot or a little of a particular flavor. Each flavor having a lovely name, 1001 Nuits, and Oriental, immediately caught my approval! There are black teas, green teas and others which include rooiboos teas, teas without théine (or caffeine as Americans say), and infusions.
The tea accessories are absolutely delightful as well, fun painted tea cups and pots in imagination inspiring shapes and colors, or beautiful iron puts for boiling the tea directly over the heat, and all sorts of trinkets and lovely things to make tea time even more fun, as if it needed help!
So my idea for our wedding, would be instead of the dragées that I see advertised all over (typically candies almonds), it would be fun to give everyone a lovely sachet of tea with ribbons and fluff to make it fun! What do you think???
Something perhaps like these :
I love tea… I wasn’t always a tea drinker though. It was the tea Esprit de Noël from Mariage Frères that converted me…but then the vocation of tea-drinker was more or less inevitable since the tea-party scene from the Alice in Wonderland cartoon was(and still is) the most quoted scene throughout my adolescence. But over a year ago, chéri and I were at his parents overnight for Noël, and at breakfast they served a huge pot of Mariage Frères, tea Esprit de Noël… I was sold and hooked. Since then tea replaced my religious ritual in the morning, and I have found delight in several different kinds. Plus, with tea, you avoid having coffee breath!
When I fist came to Paris, I had noticed that ordering tea in a café brought a bill that seemed a little steep to an American. Tea at American restaurants costs about the same price as coffee does here. I often compare the price of a pot of tea in a café to the actual cost of the entire box of 25 sachets in the grocery store. Well, I suppose when you add up the hot water and the service…then it seems justified, but it took me a few years to get used to it!
Now that I am an avid tea-drinker, an entire world of flavors opened up for exploration.
My regular morning tea is Indar, found at the Grande Epicerie de Paris, Paris 6th. It has a great taste that is smooth and strong without being too strong, and a a small pot of that wakes me up right! I used to drink Twinnings mornings tea, but I find the Indar is much smoother.
But I have also discovered a lovely red tea from the brand Gaïa, called: Un printemps chez les San, served at Sugarplum Cake Shop in the 5th on rue Cardinal Lemoine. This tea is great in the afternoon, with scones or chocolate cupcakes from the Sugarplum fairies that make sugary delights there.
Another tea that I LOOOOVE is a mint tea, like they serve in Arab cultures: steaming hot in a pretty little glass and heavily sweetened, often with a few freshly roasted pine nuts floating on top. Mmmm. Just fresh mint leaves steeped in water with sugar, and if you want some roasted pine nuts on top. Try the tea at the Grande Mosque de Paris, or at La Bague de Kenza. It goes perfectly with their cookies many made with almond marzipan, pistachios and filo dough. A great tea for winter or summer.
I recently discovered Pu-Erh tea, a Chinese tea from the town of Pu’er which is situated on the ancient tea route of China, is a tea that you can (and should) re-use several times, before discarding the tea leaves. They say it burns fat cells, and has a cleansing effect on the body. The fist post you make, has a strange smell to it, but the flavor is not strong. The smell and flavor become more and more delicate with each use. It is aged, like wine sort-of, and the older it is the more expensive its price. I like it’s economical aspects and the fat burning elements. It is a tea that I drink throughout the day at the office.
One tea that I literally went crazy for is ‘Shiraz’ from Hédiard. It is a black tea with mirabel, plum and caramel flavors and marugold flowers…. You MUST try this tea. It’s sensual and fun, and fruity but not sweet (unless you add sugar). Just the smell of this tea makes me happy! Sadly I cannot find it on their website… I wonder if the discontinued it. Gasp! Oh no! I only have half a canister left!!!!
Mariage Frère also offers a red (rooiboos) tea version of the Christmas blend called : Noël Blanc, that I love to have before bed on a cold winter night. It has a flavor that reminds me of Christmas and the holiday cheer, and makes a cold winter night suddenly cozy. Great when you are reading before bed… Be careful, if you let the tea leaves steep too long, you will a get way-too-strong cinnamon flavor. I’m having a pot of this as I write…
I have my habits, but am always open to change (as demonstrated by the change from coffee to tea), and am open to tea suggestions from my readers! Leave your favorite tea in the comments!
A couple of Saturdays ago chéri and I took a tasty stroll through Paris as a way to relax and enjoy the city and each other’s company. Food is a pleasure, of that there is no doubt, but it is often a frustration for he and I because he is coeliac and I am horribly intolerant to milk proteins (that means no milk products or derivatives whatsoever). But, people like us can find des délices dégustatives, we just have to be selective and not be hesitant to ask about the ingredients. This can often be a difficult moment for the vendors or servers or whomever we are purchasing something to eat from and we are not 100% sure it’s something we can eat. How many times, have i hear the line from a server… “oh it’s just a tiny little bit of butter.” Or this that cracks me up : “it has eggs in it, so you won’t be able to eat that.” Um since when did eggs com from a cow???
But, people, servers, bakers etc are becoming more and more aware of these kinds of eating issues, as more and more people are diagnosed with them. So we go boldly into Paris, the land of butter, cheese and bread, without fear, and eat to our heart’s (and stomach’s) content!
First stop last Saturday was at the Marché Saint Martin :
Chez Tante Emma Laden
A charming German boutique in the Marché Saint Martin, 75010 Paris. They sell all of those things that you miss from the fatherland if that is where you are from… we heard the joy of one happy (German) customer and saw the smile on her face when she was told that they DID have a certain type of sausage that she was craving. They have an impressive collection of German beers, German cookies, all sorts of fun baking products, soups and sauces, condiments (I also saw Miracle whip mayo for those of you who love and miss it, I myself grew up on Helman’s… so Miracle Whip makes me gag.) They have Fresh soup made as well and table where you may have a seat to eat it.
In the Marché Saint Martin, we also found a vendor that sold Speculoos cookies that both of us could eat, made with soy flour and vegetable oil… we both squealed with joy! And bought 2 packages (5€ each for about 36 or so good sized cookies… une super bonne affaire!) They go really good with Mariage Frères thé Esprit de Noël rooiboos décafinated tea. Mmm!
Outside of the Marché we paused on this charming street, for a café at La Pendule Occitane, and the weather was balmy enough for a January afternoon to actually sit outside and not freeze. So we sipped a coffee enjoying the friendly service, and took some time to soak in the atmosphere of the très tranquil little corner.
Next we walked to the Marché des Enfants Rouges, it was a trot but we wanted to earn those treats we were going to stuff in our mouths! Our Italian vendor was closed for vacation, which actually may have been a good thing because we often stop in to see him and no one else. He should be back by now, if any of you were wondering. He has a superb wine selection. So instead we went to the Moroccan vendor who sells couscous, tagines and other delicious things freshly made, hot and ready to bring home or eat there. I was starving, so I got a chicken Pastilla. It was the first time I have ever eaten one… and let me tell you, it was pure and absolute ecstasy eating that thing. My whole mind was so wrapped around that deliciousness, flavor, texture, the flaky outside, the warm soft inside, the oozing oil… that is was hard to pay attention to traffic as I walked and ate. Good thing chéri was there to keep me from walking in front of moving cars. That’s how delicious this thing was! Chéri had a couple of mérguez sausages wrapped in aluminum… delish!
We hoped on some vélib bikes after that…hope to burn a calorie or two. On our way to La Bague de Kenza on rue Saint Honoré, for mint tea and cookies. I have to say, I was very impressed with the girl behind the counter, because as soon as I opened my mouth to tell her that I needed cookies that were lactose free, and that chéri needed gluten ones, she went immediately to a book that was placed right next to the counter for everyone to see, and consulted the ingredients which were written down there. Now you don’t get that at every bakery or pâtisserie in France! Plus wpâtisseriehen I asked if I could take photos they responded with a “bien sûr!” that I was so not expecting. After selecting our cookies we were showed to a table n the upstairs tea room and were served a few minutes later our pot of tea and cookies. It was a delicious end to a tasty day.