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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Fortnums does Alice's party..

Off course this Post can not be a surprise… You could see this one coming a mile off…

So let’s talk TEA…

Presently I am in the Netherlands, at my parents in Rhenen, where the tap water is the softest you will ever find.
I am sitting here sipping a cup of really exquisite Chai, warming and smooth on a tropical day…
Still tea is the most quenching beverage in the book. The hotter it is, the more it will cool and calm you down!

Off course I have had the extended privilege to some brilliant teas in the UK.

Fortnums has its own bees on the roof...

Most people flock to Fortnums (short for Fortnum & Masons) to get their kicks. Piles and piles of differently coloured tea tins welcome you upon entrance.
But don’t let this fool you. Even if their well dressed service is lovely and their marketing excellent, this is not automically the best place to buy tea.

Proper Tea at the Parlour...

Personally I prefer the Tea House in Covent Garden.
I agree it isn’t as grand as F&M, but their shop is certainly well stocked…
(and much more easy to wander round without getting lost if losing the will to live)

Taking tea is a completely different issue.
F&M is brilliant to have a casual cup of tea with a friend, on the 1st floor Parlour. You get a large lated pot of tea to yourself (and as much water to top up if desired)

Secondly I can recommend having tea in hotels. These places are usually a lot more private and quiet if you feel like catching up with a friend.
I can recommend The Chancery Court Hotel and the Athenaeum Hotel. Service and selection is excellent at both, and please remember to smile at the jolly doorman at the Athenaeum. 🙂

Alternatively Liberty’s is a great alternative. Their bustling tea room can be found on the ground floor… Please sample the rose jam on your scones! (service can regretfully sometimes be slow, but not bad to look at in the meantime)

Then thirdly there is the Tea itself.

Kousmichoff's traditional tins...

Everyone has their own favourites and recipes… (my grandmother passed on her to me, but I can not publish that online 😉
At my house you will always find a selection of at least three of the following teas:

I love Tilleuil (lime blossom) and Verveine (Verbena) for the evenings or in between…Just add a dash of Lime blossom honey to give a light lemony sweetness to the infusions and enjoy!
Chai blends of spices are a wonderful opposite of the light and refreshing herbs above. Lovely in winter with some warm milk to warm you outside and in…

Green tea
Gen Maicha (Japanese green tea with puffed rice) always packs a punch with anti oxidants and the smoky smell of the rice.
Chung Hao (Chinese Green tea dried under a blanket of Jasmine) The Tea House and Simon Levelt in Holland have the best kind.

It's all good...

Black tea
Formosa Oolong (half fermented tea, so between black and green) reminds me of the lovely tea time by the fire in Sparham.
Troika (with bergamot and mandarin), Traktir (smoked with bergamot and spices) and Prince Vladimir (with spices and vanilla) and simply every other Russian blend from Parisian based Kousmichoff teas. If you think that the UK is the only European country with a tea tradition, you really should visit Kusmi teas old factory at Avenue Niel in Paris…

All you need is a warm fire, some soft water… a good kettle and a good friend.

(and my gigantic Spode tea cups/buckets haha)



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