Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tea Time

It's a snowy cold day here in Chicago, a perfect day for a hot cup of tea (no, I'm not bitter at all that it's 70 degrees and sunny in Boston, New York, and Columbus). In the past couple years I've become much more of a tea drinker. I didn't used to really love tea, except the tropical flavored iced tea from the Cheesecake Factory (so good), and the occasional cup in the afternoon when the office was freezing. When I was waking up at 1:30am for work (yes, 1:30am. Not a typo.) I relied much more on coffee. Tea just didn't cut it in those early, early hours.

But a couple years ago Peter got me the blue Le Creuset teapot for Christmas, which I was lusting after. And my lovely British co-worker (hi Sital!) would convince me to come to the cafe at work with her to get tea and chat. And getting my hair cut at the Aveda Institute for years, I always looked forward to the Aveda tea they give you while you sit and wait - this tea is so delicious, it has licorice root and peppermint, and a wonderful naturally sweet flavor.

When we went to Paris for our honeymoon last fall, I definitely found my favorite kind of tea - Mariage Freres. We came upon this store in the Place de la Madeleine (gourmet food HEAVEN. I can't even get into it right now, this post will turn into a 10-page essay.). I wish I had taken pictures of inside the store...but I didn't. I certainly will when I go back in December (yay!).

They have dozens upon dozens of varieties of teas, all with the most beautiful and exotic names - Russian Star, Darjeeling Rose Camelia, Casablanca, Gold Mountain...the list goes on. The walls are lined with black tins of loose tea, and they also have barrels of loose tea so you can fill up your own tin on site. And they do have tea bags - they call them sachets - but only about half the flavors come in bags. Their tea bags are made of muslin and look too pretty to dunk in a cup of hot water.

We ended up buying 2 boxes of tea bags - Vert Provence and Marco Polo Rouge. Just listen to the description of the Vert Provence:

"The hinterland of Provence in southern France explodes with plants, flowers, and fruit that all boast heady scents. Lavender, rosemary, thyme, broom, juniper, heather, and boxwood dot hills and plateaus; forests of silvery mimosa colour the mountains of Maures and Estérel, and roses, tulips, jasmine, and violets blanket Grasse; finally, golden fruit trees (lemon, orange) light up the Riviera."

Now, tell me you don't want to drink that tea. It's not cheap, I think each box of 25 tea bags came out to $23, but it's soooo good. I can't wait to go back and buy more. You can buy it online from the Mariage Freres website, as well as several places in the U.S., I know Dean & Deluca carries it as well as Porte Rouge.

Here's my cup of Vert Provence I'm drinking right now. They even tell you the infusion time on the little tag, so thoughtful!

No comments:

Post a Comment