Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Turning Over a New Leaf.

I'll keep this short and sweet as I’m sure everyone is busy getting ready for debauchery tonight!

I know most will be ringing in the New Year with champagne or beer and perhaps even a bit of both!  Like alcohol, tea is very much a social drink also.  In the East, there once was a time when groups of men would gather together in tea houses to play cards and immerse themselves in deep conversation while being served pots of tea along with light confections.  If you've read Memoirs of a Geisha, one of my favourite books, you'll know what I mean.  This was in a much different time.  In the West, afternoon tea is most popular especially among women who get together for chit-chat over dainty finger sandwiches, scones and clotted-cream.  I’ll be going over tea ceremonies and afternoon tea etiquette in future posts. Right now, I want you to consider tea as a source of comfort during solitude when you're alone with just your thoughts.  I love spending time in cafés, sipping my tea, gazing out the windows on a rainy day or a chilly night.  I also enjoy pots of tea in the cozy comfort of my home, while I lounge in a chair by my balcony doors, enjoying the serenity even in the middle of the city.

As we come to the end of another year, tea for me has been a welcomed delight while I reflect on a year gone by and contemplate on what the New Year will bring forth.  Some interesting things have happened to me this past year which have made me stop and think about where I am heading in life and what is most important to me.  2013 was not the greatest year for me and I’m really looking forward to nailing it shut!  However, I am looking at my whole experience as a life lesson to learn from and move forward.  Sometimes you need that kick to set you on the correct path!  It hasn’t been easy, especially these past few months with unpleasant thoughts running through my mind.
 

As I slowly sip on my Assam and finish off the final few pages of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (a book that resonates far more for me this time around than when I first read it a few years back) I’m thinking about what will unfold for me in 2014.  For the first time in a long while, I’m actually looking forward to my journey and whatever the future holds for me...the cast of characters that will enter my life…who will be disappearing from my world...the challenges waiting for me...where I’ll be in life.

I don’t have any exciting plans this year on the big night…just time alone, lingering over a pot of good tea and better thoughts! 

Wishing everyone a wonderful and prosperous New Year! Cheers!


Words to live by.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yes Chef: Chana Masala Supreme!

Chana Masala is a traditional Indian dish that I’m sure most people are familiar with. This is a staple buffet item at practically every Indian restaurant. It is delish and a big favourite of mine! Chana masala is garbanzo beans or chickpeas in a rich tomato-based gravy with spices. You can adjust the spices to make it as hot as you wish. I like mine with a medium heat, just enough to taste everything with a little kick.

There are countless of recipes for chana masala available on the web, and quite a few of them do call for tea as an ingredient. I do include tea in my own recipe as I find it adds a more meaty flavour and richer colour to the garbanzo beans.

With the exception of baking, I don’t really bother with exact measurements in my cookery. I use a bit of this and a bit of that, observe, and taste until I think it’s just right! I added just a little more of each spice than the amounts I listed for this dish. Anything less than these amounts may be too bland, so do some tasting and adjust as you require. 

Ingredients:
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 3-5 tomatoes
  • 5 Tsp. of black (red) tea 
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1-2 medium onions
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans

The goods!


Spices
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tsp. paprika
  • ½ Tsp. coriander seeds grinded
  • ½ Tsp. cumin seeds grinded
  • ½ Tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tsp. garam masala
  • ½ Tsp. ginger powder
  • ½ Tsp. chili pepper flakes

The kick!


Process:
  • Chop or purée in a blender, the tomatoes, pepper, garlic, and onions. 
  • Prepare the tea according to directions. I used 5 teaspoons of Assam steeped in 5 cups of water.
  • On medium, heat the chopped or puréed ingredients to ensure everything combines. You may need to start adding the steeped Assam tea as moisture starts to reduce. Go for it! 

Tomato base.

  • Add the garbanzo beans and spices. 

Add the beans.

  • Slowly continue to add in the tea liquor until you get the consistency you want. 5 cups gave me a good consistency with enough gravy.
  • Heat on low for another 10 minutes until the garbanzo beans become tender and then set aside. It’s done!

Enjoy with rice, roti, or naan, some plain yogurt, and a side salad.

Final product.


Delish!


Cooking Tips:
  • Place onions in the refrigerator for about an hour to prevent tears. Sadly, this happens to me quite often!
  • Use tea bags instead. Red Rose, Tetley, Salada…any black tea bag will do. Saves time and bags are just easier for cooking with.
  • Yes, you may use dry garbanzo beans. Just soak them in water until they’re tender and hydrated.

Options:
  • Instead of garbanzo beans, use kidney beans, chicken pieces, or even potatoes and green peas.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the beans for a tangy twist!



Monday, December 16, 2013

Steeped in History: The Tea Tossing Incident!

Today is the 240th anniversary of “the destruction of the tea”, or “The Boston Tea Party” as it has fondly been referred to about 50 years later. On the evening of December 16, 1773, The Sons of Liberty who were a group of colonists, boarded ships docked in Boston Harbor and destroyed all the chests of tea by throwing them overboard into the waters. OMG!! WTF!?!? What were these would-be Americans thinking? This was their way of protesting against the Tea Act, a tax levied on them by the British Government. The colonists were sipping mad about being taxed by the British Government without any discussion or their consent. The tax itself was not the issue (apparently they were actually getting a tax break on the tea), but the fact that it was being passed without their representation. 

Time for a good ol' fashioned tea party!

There is a whole lot more to this incident, but I’m not interested in getting into the details leading up to the event on December 16 or the aftermath. I’m more interested in the precious tea that was put in peril! This is a tea blog after all! There are plenty of websites that provide historical accounts of what happened and can easily be Googled if you want more information. Depending on the site you visit, details, facts, and dates on what occurred may differ. Hey, it’s not like they had video surveillance, digital cameras or Instagram back then!

You might think it was tea from India that was destroyed because it was The East India Company tea that was shipped. However, this incident occurred well before tea was cultivated in India in the 19th century. The tea, in fact, was actually produced in China. The East India Company did have some tea business running in China around that time.

So, what tea in particular was dumped? From my research, I found articles pointing to The Boston Tea Party written by Benjamin Woods Labaree, which states that the ships contained the following:

  • 240 chests of Bohea (boo-hee) black tea 
  • 15 chests of Congou (kung-foo) black tea
  • 10 chests of Souchong black tea
  • 60 chests of Singlo green tea 
  • 17 chests of Hyson green tea

They were all loose leaf teas as the colonists were not into the brick variety and tea bags were not invented until 1908. Apparently, these teas were plucked in 1770 and 1771. They were shipped to London where they were stored in warehouses before finally being transported to the colonies in 1773 awaiting their doom.

The tea chests were distributed on 3 ships: Dartmouth, Beaver, and Eleanor. There was another ship carrying tea as well, William, but it was lost at sea. The Sons of Liberty boarded the 3 ships that arrived in Boston Harbour, and within a few hours, broke apart and emptied all 342 chests of tea into the waters, even returning the next day and using their oars and paddles to beat down any chests that were floating. The cargo was valued at £9,659.00 by The East India Company. It’s estimated that approximately 92,000 pounds of tea turned the waters of Boston Harbour into a giant teapot, enough to make 19 million cups of tea!

What lies beneath.

The Boston Tea Party was a rebellious act that remains an iconic event in American history, one that other political protests to this day often refer to. This incident built-up tension between the British and the colonists leading to further division allowing America to become more independent and a nation of its own in 1776, just a few short years later.

The company whose tea chests were destroyed in this tea tossing event are still in business. Davison, Newman & Co. of London sells a Boston Harbour Tea which you can purchase online. However, this product is a blend of Ceylon and Darjeeling teas. Not at all one of the Chinese teas doomed for destruction. Thank goodness these fine teas did not drown in the waters of Boston! I love Darjeeling!

What's this I see?

If you’re ever in the Boston area, visit the Boston Tea Party Museum. You can view and board restored ships of the Eleanor and the Beaver, participate in re-enactments, see films, and enjoy afternoon tea in a tearoom. As well, the museum has one of two known surviving tea chests from the tea dumping incident included in their permanent collection. Something definitely worth checking-out if I ever make it out to Boston. Hopefully for a marathon!





Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Cuppa: It’s All Assam to Me!

One of the most popular teas in the world is Assam. This assamica variety of Camellia sinensis is grown in the Brahmaputra Valley in the Assam region of northeastern India.  The climate in this area varies from cold, dry winters, to hot and humid during the rainy season. It's also home to some of the most nutrient rich soil.  Harvesting Assam generally occurs twice a year; once in late March, and the other, which is prime time for plucking, is during the summer months from June to August.

What is commonly sold as “breakfast” tea such as English Breakfast Tea or Irish Breakfast Tea is really Assam either on its own or in combination with other teas to create a blend. These other teas can actually be from an entirely different tea growing region such as Sri Lanka or Kenya.  As well, they are normally CTC (cut-tear-curl) teas.


Organic Golden Assam Tea

To produce Assam, it goes through most of the steps involved in manufacturing as outlined in a previous post on how to make tea. Generally, the process for Assam is as follows:


  • Plucking fresh leaves
  • Withering to reduce the moisture content
  • Rolling full leaves or mechanically pulverizing leaves to produce CTC tea
  • Allowing leaves to ferment in their own juices
  • Drying the leaves by applying hot air to extract any remaining moisture
  • Sorting leaves according to their size
  • Packing and shipping


To make a cup of Assam is fairly easy and something most Westerners are already familiar with, though I am referring to whole leaves here, not tea bags!  Properly prepared, Assam can be enjoyed on its own.  However, if you desire, you may combine it with milk, sugar, honey, lemon etc…

1.   Bring water to a full boil. 95°C - 100°C (203°F - 212°F).

2.   Measure out the right amount of tea leaves and dump them into your teapot.  I am using my glass teapot with a built-in filter.  For optimal results, 1 teaspoon of tea leaves for every cup (250 ml) of water.

3.   Water can be poured onto the leaves straight off the boil.  I like to wait for about 3 minutes before pouring the water onto the leaves.

4.   Steep for 3 - 5 minutes.  You may wish to steep a little longer if you prefer a stronger brew but not too long otherwise the liquor will become bitter.

5.   Enjoy your tea on its own or with the addition of milk, sugar, honey etc…whatever you like.

Pouring liquid gold

As always, this is just a guideline and everyone has their own taste preferences.  Feel free to play around with the amount of tea leaves, water temperature, or steep time to create your own unique experience. 

The colour of the liquor is a beautiful amber after steeping for 3 minutes.  It becomes a golden reddish colour after a longer steep time.  The brew smells like roses, even a bit like caramel to me. Cooked yams or cherries also come to mind.  The taste is smooth, a bit malty, not at all bitter or astringent even after a 5 minute steep time.  I drank the tea on its own, nothing else.
  
A perfect cup to enjoy!

It’s a lovely tea and I can detect similarities to the “breakfast” teas. Now all I need are some scones, jam, and clotted-cream, and I’m a happy girl!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaology 101: Tea and a game of checkers!

In some of my previous posts, you might have noticed that when I mention black tea, I often indicate red tea in brackets beside it. There is a perfectly good reason for this. Black tea and red tea are the same types of tea. The references can be used interchangeably, with terminology and perhaps your geographical location being the only difference. In North America, black tea is referred to as red tea in the East, specifically in China.

In an earlier post, I indicated that all tea comes from the same plant called Camellia sinensis. The differences such as the aroma, appearance, and taste of the teas are the result from the different processing methods of the leaves. However, in the West, black tea is so called based on the colour of the dried tea leaves. In China, red tea references the colour of the brew from the infused tea leaves. The fact that the colour of the liquor actually refers to the tea type and not the tea leaves makes much more sense to me. There are some green tea leaves that almost look black in their dry format but produce green or even yellow liquor. Black tea leaves actually produce beautiful mahogany, burgundy, and sometimes amber liquors. Take a look at your brew in a clear glass mug the next time you infuse a black tea. It is far from black.


Close-up of tea being infused.

Liquor from infused leaves.


There is a tea that produces a black brew. It’s called Pu-erh. The liquor for this tea almost looks like diesel oil. Pu-erh is a wonderful tea, but an acquired taste, with an interesting aroma. I’ll go over it in a future write-up.

Whether you want to call it black tea or red tea is solely up to you, but, don’t confuse them with Rooibos, which literally means "red bush" and is often called "Red Tea". Aspalathus linearis, the botanical name for Rooibos, is a plant grown in South Africa, and is a member of the legume family. Rooibos is actually a tisane. Do you recall what a tisane is? A tisane is a beverage brewed much like tea but does not contain any tea. Aspalathus linearis is not related to Camellia sinensis.

Stare at the white dot.  An image will apprear!  Keep staring...



Monday, November 25, 2013

Yes Chef: Green Tea Chicken and Veggie Soup.

This is a very typical soup other than the addition of tea. Really, there is nothing to this. It’s quick and easy. Just grab some veggies, a protein, and heat them in some tea-infused water. I just used what I happened to have in my fridge at the moment.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water 
  • 4 tablespoons of Sencha green tea
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame 
  • 3 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 red radishes, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded 
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Chili pepper flakes to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

My chosen veggies!


Sliced and ready to go!


Green tea and a side of chicken.

Process:

  • Infuse the green tea in the water for about 15 – 20 minutes. Can’t remember how to brew Sencha? Check out my Sensational Sencha post. However, there is no need to worry about water temperature or brew time in this case. We’re cooking here!  I just used a large teapot with a built-in filter.
  • Pour the infused tea and chicken stock into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Add all the veggies, salt, and both peppers, and cook for about five minutes.
  • Add the shredded chicken breasts and heat for a couple of minutes. 

Tea infusion.


Time to get cookin'!


Enjoy with some bread!


The final product.  Yum!

Cooking Tips: 
  • Place the chicken breasts in a pan with a few inches of water just enough to cover the portions. Poach for 20 minutes. Allow chicken to cool-down and then shred with your fingers or use a couple of forks. 
  • To save time, use some leftover roasted chicken instead which is what I did. It’s a great way to use up leftovers and create a completely new meal.  Woo-hoo!

Options: 
  • Use another green tea instead of Sencha or use green tea bags. 
  • Any veggie will do. Feel free to use green peas, red or green cabbage, celery, another type of mushroom, along with any combination of the veggies listed in this recipe. 
  • Try another protein like shrimp, turkey, and even tofu. 
  • Add soba noodles, brown rice, or rotini pasta for some carbs. 

I think the broth is the best part! It almost tastes like a miso soup and you can really detect the tea. It was soothing and perfect to cozy up to on a cold day.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Tea Spot: I had High Tea with Donald Trump!

Okay, “The Donald” did not show-up! I think he would make a very interesting conversation over tea, no? Give me all his trade secrets on real estate investments while we munch on overpriced finger sandwiches and sip tea. Occasionally he would shoot me a stern look and point an accusatory finger at me when he's giving me the lowdown on something very conniving while I think up of ways on how to remove that rug off his thick skull! (Back to Earth now!)  For high tea this month, a group of us headed to Stock Restaurant Bar & Lounge located at The Trump International Hotel & Tower

Christmas in the Lobby!


Stock Logo


Apparently Stock does not normally do high tea events. Our organizer-extraordinaire, Lisa, pulled a few strings, and so we became their guinea pigs. Our table was set-up as a conference style square, in a poorly lit room with a great view of the city. The menu was fantastic with an abundant selection. It was a departure from what you normally get at high tea which I thought was a refreshing change!

Scones and Croissants


It consisted of the following:
  • Roasted Portobello and goat cheese wraps with charred peppers, arugula, and cured lemon aioli 
  • Smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, capers, and sliced red onions 
  • Roasted turkey breast with avocado, asiago cheese, spinach, and honey mustard 
  • Peppered roast beef, Canadian cheddar, and caramelized onions 
  • An assortment of fruit-filled scones along with cream cheese and preserves 
  • An assortment of fruit-filled turnovers 
  • Plain, flaky, buttery croissants 
  • Chocolate and buttercream mini-cupcakes with chocolate decorations 
  • Powered-chocolate and coconut-crunch truffles

Smoked Salmon

For tea, I opted for the Vanilla Orchard Yunnan Black Tea by Forté. This is loose-leaf tea provided in pyramidal tea bags. I wrote about these bags in a previous post, The Accidental Teabagger! It's a divine black tea with Madagascar vanilla and hints of coconut. I loved it mainly because I'm a huge coconut freak! However, I did expect that a place with Trump’s name on it to offer actual loose-leaf tea properly prepared with all the gadgets that go along with a high tea. Forté is great though, so not an issue!


Norm, a fellow globetrotter and tea lover!


Forté Tea

As great as the food spread was, the event had its hiccups. I thought the sandwiches were way too thick! They are supposed to be finger sandwiches, not manwiches! As well, they were very stale. The longer they remained on their trays, the drier they got. After a while they were so rock-hard that you could easily use them as paperweights. One of my table companions even joked that they could be used as “weapons”! Even the bagels used for the salmon were thick, and really, you don't want all that bread for something so light and delicate like smoked salmon.

Turkey manwich weapon!

The mushroom wraps were delicious, but again, a smaller portion would have sufficed. The scones were not bad, but I found them too crumbly. They broke too easily with your fingers, and to pair it with Philadelphia brick style, cream cheese, made it even worse! Not good. Stick with the clotted-cream, please! The desserts were good. Not too sweet and a perfect bite-sized portion.

Yummy Mini-cupcakes!


Even yummier truffles!


The service could have been better. The staff was great, but the logistics was terrible. There didn't seem to be enough of each food item for everyone at the tables. One side of the room didn't receive any cupcakes and additional scones were offered at the end of the whole sitting. Trays were being moved around from place to place so that each person could get their share. It would have been better if more platters were used and distributed evenly across the tables, that way no one would have to stretch over others to take something or scream over each other to pass something over.

As always, hanging out with friends for interesting conversation and laughter is what makes the whole experience most pleasurable. I would definitely head back to Stock if they make tea events a regular part of their service and only if they've worked out all the kinks to proper tea servicing. Otherwise, Mr. Trump, you're fired!


Norm and his thoughts on the 20% tip!




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tea and an e-book!

Recently, a fellow Tea Sommelier, Carol, held a casual noontime party to launch her new e-book on cooking with tea. This e-book focuses on the use of teas that people typically already have and drink at home such as Earl Grey and Assam. The gathering was held at Organic Boutique, a gourmet food store.  Unfortunately, this shop does not have a website.

The food samples were a feast for the eyes and stomach! It included the following:

  • Lentil, Pepper, and Anise Spread with smoked tea
  • Vegetable and Lamb Dumplings with semi-oxidized Yunnan Tea 
  • Lavender Earl Grey Truffles 
  • Earl Grey Orange Sunrise Cocktail
  • Assam Lychee Cocktail


Creamy Lentil Spread

Earl Grey Orange Sunrise Cocktail

Lavender Earl Grey Truffles

The dumplings had a nice spicy kick to them. The lentil spread was smooth and creamy with a sweet pepper base. The truffles were rich and delectable. Not too sweet and you could really detect the tea and lavender. The cocktails were very refreshing and something that could really be enjoyed during summer backyard parties.

Carol does quite a few of these pop-up tea events held at different venues from bookstores to art studios which I think is awesome! If you’re interested in her tea e-book or learning more about her events, check out her tea website, The Love Of Tea.

Looking forward to the next event!



Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Cuppa: Sensational Sencha!

One of my favourite teas is Sencha. This is a green tea most popular in Japan which accounts for 80% of the tea produced there. I love the aroma of Sencha, which is sweet and grassy. Something you would not normally think of for tea.

Harvesting tea leaves for Sencha usually occurs around April or May. Once plucked, the leaves are steamed in order to prevent them from oxidizing. This also gives the leaves their bright, green colour, and strong, sweet aroma. How long the leaves are steamed will depend on the manufacturer. A light steaming will result in a stronger aroma and lighter, pale green liquor, whereas a longer steaming will result in a lighter aroma, but deeper green liquor. Following the steaming process, the leaves are cooled-down to room temperature. Then, they are pressed and even exposed to hot air to remove some moisture. The leaves then go through a mechanical process of rolling and twisting. Additional drying may also be applied to reduce moisture. This rolling and drying process might occur a few times until Sencha’s characteristic appearance of thin grass-like needles is achieved. After a final drying, the leaves are sorted, weighed, and ready for distribution.


Dry Sencha

To prepare Sencha, use a small vessel with a capacity of about 250 ml of water. A Japanese teapot called a kyusu is most appropriate, but if you're like me and don't have this fine tool, use any small teapot you have. I have tiny glass teapot with a built-in filter that works perfectly well for me, but it is best to pour the tea leaves directly into the teapot to provide sufficient room and allow better expansion of the leaves. A sieve can then be used to separate the leaves when pouring the liquor into cups though the spout may become clogged with the leaves. 

Kyusu


My mini-teapot


For optimal flavour and aroma of Sencha, I usually follow the steps below which are pretty much what you’ll find online: 

1.   Bring water to a full boil. This will be approximately 90-100 degrees Celsius.

2.   Pour some of the boiled water into your vessel and drain. This will warm up the teapot.

3.   Pour some of the boiled water into your tea cups and drain. This will warm up the cups.

4.   Allow the water to cool down to 70-80 degrees Celsius. This is a good temperature for Sencha.

5.   Scoop about 2 tablespoons of Sencha into your teapot.

Scooped Sencha

6.   Pour the now cooled water over the leaves. Amount of water should be about 250 ml.

7.   Infuse for about 1 - 1 ½ minutes. No longer than 2 minutes as this will result in a bitter brew.

Infusion

8.   Pour a little tea into your cups alternating from one another until each cup is full. If you have 3 cups to fill, start with 1, 2, 3, then 3, 2, 1, and starting with cup 1 again until all cups are full. This will provide even distribution of flavour and strength. You don't want to leave any water behind otherwise the tea remaining will continue to brew. If you have a filter like I do, none of this is an issue. Just remove the filter and pour away.

Filter removal


Tea pouring

9.   Your tea is ready for drinking.  Woo-hoo!

Sencha goodness

10.   Don't discard the leaves yet! You can do additional infusions. You may need to brew it longer with each new infusion or use a higher temperature of water along with a shorter brew time until all flavour and aroma have disappeared. In my experience, 4 infusions work out well with this amount of tea.

Infused leaves

The aroma and flavour is wonderful! Sencha has a grassy aroma. Seaweed, spinach, and rapini are other scents I get. Everyone has their own unique senses though, and so you may detect entirely different aromas. The liquor is a golden, pale green. It’s a fairly clear tea, but you may get some specks of the leaves poured out as well, and that’s okay! The taste is a fine balance of natural sweetness and astringency. I do get flavours of spinach or broccoli. I always joke about how I’d love the take the leaves and sauté them with garlic, olive oil, and butter! Yum!

I love Vimeo, which is a video sharing site. During my tea research, I found a beautiful film on handmade Sencha. The video is about 7 minutes long, but worth watching. Credits are within the movie. Make yourself a pot of Sencha, sit back and enjoy the video!



video
Handmade Sencha






Monday, October 28, 2013

The Tea Spot: Sereni-tea Now!

Yesterday, my tea group and I headed out to the sweet town of Guelph in Ontario for high tea at The Boathouse. This is a really pretty and picturesque area. The Boathouse is situated along the Speed River with trees that had turned beautiful shades of oranges and reds. There was even a covered bridge nearby that added to the ambiance. I found it very serene.  It's something I really needed at this time in my life…a moment alone to calm the chatter in my head.

The Boathouse signage


View along the river


Covered bridge



The Boathouse served up a traditional high tea. Some items included:

Finger Sandwiches
Cucumber with cream cheese
Egg Salad
Tuna Salad

Finger sandwiches


Pastry
Plain scone 
Whipped-cream 
Strawberry jam

Plain scone


Mini-desserts
Tiramisu cake
Brownie with crunchy nuts
Lemon cake
Éclair
Chocolate coffee cake

Desserts

The sandwiches weren't anything special. They were simple fillings between slices of multigrain bread. I thought the scone was the best! It was moist inside and just enough for me to finish off. I was a little disappointed with the whipped-cream though. It was too runny and soupy. Whipped-cream has to stand on its own. Another bowl was requested later-on which was perfect, but I had already devoured my scone by then. For dessert I went for the lighter items like the éclair as well as the nutty brownie I had my eye on. It was really good! 

For tea, I had the Boathouse Private Blend which was a Ceylon tea and their “secret” flavour blend with hints of almond and orange. Not sure what the “secret” part was, but obviously something that could not be shared! It was a loose-leaf tea served in a filter bag. The liquor was a lovely golden-orange colour. The fragrant was sweet and fruity. The flavour was a smooth, 
sweet orange without any bitter aftertaste. I drank several cups of it straight without milk or sugar. It was lovely.

Boathouse blend

As always, the dialogue around the table was the best. Put a group of women together and discussions always turn to dating horror stories and about men with strange quirks and habits. Always a hoot! It was a perfect Sunday to head out of town for good conversation and food. I would definitely venture back out this way in the future.

Colours of fall!