Finally got the tea shelf up!

Finally got the tea shelf up!

Exhausted :)

Super thanks to Kathryn and Dan for the drill and drywall screws. And Pierre for doing all the actual hard work while I offered, “a little more on the left, nonono, bring the right side up. Yes, there!”

We’re redoing the apartment and concluded that an actual tea cabinet would make the space feel too heavy. This shelf worked out perfectly. As soon as it went up, I jammed in all my tea to fill every nook and cranny. Then Pierre came and removed about 2/3 of the tea to achieve the more minimalist look were aiming for. The shelf collects dust pretty quickly, so I’ll clean it once a week. And then rotate the teas on the shelf monthly. Or quarterly…we shall see how it goes ;) It makes me a teensy bit sad to have over half the teas hidden in the kitchen but that is truly a silly thing to worry over.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Chambre de Sucre: Small Touches that Make a Big Difference

A morning cup. Serendipitea’s Obama blend of Kenyan black tea, apples, mango and cinnamon. Bright, cheerful. Evokes how Friday afternoons ought to feel.

Hey, what’s peeking out from under there?

Is that? Could it be? Sugar I see?!

Only the best, Chambre de Sucre. Like the ones we saw at Lady Mendl’s but more thoughtful, intricate. Soft pastels. These are each handmade in Nagoya, Japan from a 270 year old company, and outfitted with French names. Sucre Pierre! (cubes with rough edges, which Pierre loved of course ;) Sucre Carré! Sucre Rond! It all rolls off the tongue and dissolves into hot tea with graceful ease.

There are even coffee bean sugars and coffee balls sugars if you’re so inclined…

…but I can’t get over the picture perfect rounds and cubes with flowers of pink and blue. Fairytale. Whimsy. All essential elements to afternoon tea.

Since we’re on playful note, it would only be right to have sides of Peanut Butter & Jelly Macarons ordered from Bosie Tea Parlor. Silky peanut butter buttercream (is that rich enough for your taste buds?) with a jelly gelée tucked in the center, ahaha! Same idea as Mitzy’s chocolate and foie gras macarons, which were inspired by Pierre Hermé. Kitchen Musings takes you through a pictorial step-by-step process of making the macarons, foie gras gelée included.

Chambre de Sucre
Sugars can be ordered online

SerendipiTea

73 Plandome Road
Manhasset, NY 11030
(516) 365-7711

Bosie Tea Parlor

10 Morton Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 352-9900

Love Song by Mariage Frères and Veritas Macarons

Good morning from a very cloudy and rainy NYC day. We’re getting my new desk set up (exciting) as well as a little tea cabinet for the apartment (even more exciting). Breakfast today is a pot of Love Song by Mariage Frères. This tea is part of their 2011 collection along with a few others. The traditional Mariage Frères packaging is classic but I do love the way they switch it up for new and seasonal collections. Always so colorful and sleek, you’d almost think it was a different company!

I was introduced to their tea in high school when a friend who I often afternoon tea’ed with gifted me the Mariage Frères Marco Polo tea for Christmas. She bought it from Neiman Marcus which was then the only place in Hawai’i which stocked Mariage Frères. It – Neiman Marcus included, all seemed so exotic at the time. The tea was an indulgence, so you could imagine how magical it felt when I visited their cafe in Paris with Pierre last fall. We’ll be back this year and partake in the full afternoon tea service.

One of the pleasures of waking up just a half an hour earlier that usual each day is the extra time it allows for a peaceful breakfast. Kettle on, a spoonful of loose leaf tea into the blue sky pot. And a few minutes later: breakfast. The Love Song comes in black and green tea versions. I prefer the black tea for Love Song simply because it holds up well to the strong flavors of almond (actual almond slices) and rose petals which are blended into the tea. The black tea Love Song is packaged in a pink canister, and the green tea in a blue canister, such a sight for the eyes!

And of course it is not breakfast without a bite on the side. Two fragrant vanilla bean macarons from the pastry chef, Emily Wallendjack who trained at Pierre Hermé. She certainly knows her macarons! A parting gift at Veritas where dinner yesterday began with a silky amuse of scallops and housemade lardo, lightly salted with rosemary. Did I mention that the mignardise plate also featured beautiful mini-saffron macarons and ispahan-inspired gelées?

Vavavavoom. Hope everyone has a good day!

Veritas
43 E 20th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-3700

Mariage Frères
Several locations in France, Germany, and Japan.
Dean & Deluca, the Tea & Honey Store, and McNulty’s in NYC carries various Mariage Frères teas but you’ll need to order online for the Love Song.

Nespresso: Afternoon Tea or Afternoon Coffee?

Saturday afternoon, in the middle of a thunderstorm, Monsieur P and I took refuge inside the Nespresso shop/cafe on the corner of Mercer and Prince Street. It proved to be a good choice, with cozy deep chairs that swivel, low tables and…

…espresso, chocolate, and a vanilla macaron (by Macaron Cafe) to sooth our weary feet and rain-soaked shopping bags. He had the espresso and I ate all the sweets.

On each table they leave a copy of the Nespresso Magazine, “the exclusive magazine for Nespresso club members.” I’m not a member, but was more than happy to flip through the magazine while Monsieur P took care of work emails. This particular issue was #15, the London issue, and it successfully managed to champion the Nespresso brand while providing thorough coverage of who, what, where (and wear!) of London.

The particular article that caught my attention was “Afternoon Coffee.” Tea! Why wasn’t it afternoon tea? Well, Nespresso of course ;) Monsieur P thought that was funny and winked in a way that suggested maybe I serve him espresso instead of tea for this weekend’s afternoon tea. He was also in strong favor of the page that proposed, “A timeless classic: scone, coffee and whisky. An afternoon tea fit for a gent.

However it was the recipes I found interesting, including one for coffee with spiced syrup…something I’d like to try next time, replacing the coffee with a brisk black tea. The spiced syrup calls for cinnamon sticks, start anise, green cardamon, coriander seed, and peppercorns. Can you smell it already? And then there was another recipe calling for smoked salmon and piccalilli tea sandwiches. Have you heard of piccalilli before? I’m familiar with relish, but the term “piccalilli” is definitely new to me. The recipe calls for mixing cottage cheese, dill and pepper with the piccalilli, then layering with smoked salmon and cucumber for tea sandwiches on white bread. Many tea sandwiches on the “to make/eat” list and not enough time, I better get to work!

Nespresso
92 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 966-1825

Tay Tea @ ABC Home

Enter into the always whimsical ABC Home, right off Union Square. Make a sharp right turn past the entrance, and you’ll be greeted by the Tay Tea display.

Pretty, isn’t it?
ABC houses a most dreamy, magical collection of trinkets from jewelry to essential oils, floors of rugs, mirrors, and plush couches. The mark-up on most their items are fairly absurd, and so I save the bulk of my visits for looking before I dash into the attached (and more fairly priced) ABC Kitchen for lunch. Think $60 for a copper tea strainer, $30 for a mini-glass test tube which functions as a vase, $80 for a reclaimed vintage spoon. Satisfying for the eyes. Not so much for the wallet.

But teas, even when they’re “high-end, artisanal, exclusive,” are still affordable. An luxury within reach. Tay Tea is based in upstate New York (where they have a tea bar!), though you can find them at various locations in the city.

The Tay Tea line includes five black teas, an oolong blend, three green teas, seven rooibos blends, two herbals, and three blooming (aka flower craft) teas.

This rooibos blend is called A Day in Provence, and the scent is heavenly. Sweet and light, the rooibos is blended with red and black currants, rose hips and rose petals and a trace of lavender. Wish they would turn it into a perfume ;)

Here’s a look at Tay’s Tea sampler box. I’m crazy about these little tea tasting sets and confess it has as much to do with the aesthetics as it does the taste. Most tea companies sell tasting/sampler boxes for those who can’t settle on one flavor. A little of everything is fine solution, will do a future post soon on my favorite tea tasting sets. Tay’s offers two types of tasting boxes: one called Wake Up, a compilation all their caffeinated green and black teas. The other is Relax and included all non-caffeinated teas.

ABC also carries many tea cups and tea pots, which they’ve conveniently arranged next to Tay Tea. Ideas are starting to brew in my head…maybe we should devote a generous chunk of our kitchen space to a tea and tea-ware display! Impractical but beautiful.

ABC Home
888 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 473-3000

Tay Tea
72 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Andes, New York 13731
(845) 676-4997