Friday, March 16, 2018

Guylian Matcha Green Tea Chocolates

The cookies and candies for sale at T.J. Maxx, I find, can be iffy. I've bought some chocolate teacups that disintegrated the moment I opened the package, and I've bought some cookies that tasted like slightly sugared cardboard. So while I'm happy to buy teas there, I don't often try the foods. But I decided to take a gamble and brought home these Guylian Matcha Green Tea Artisanal Belgian Chocolates when I saw them there the other day.

I loved the little seahorse shapes!

I turned one over and was surprised to find some milk chocolate along with the white chocolate shell.

Where was the matcha? I had to slice one open to confirm that the matcha filling was inside. (Or I could have just bitten into it, but that wouldn't make for a pretty photo.) And I'm delighted to report that these were absolutely delicious! These chocolates tasted fresh and sweet with just a light matcha taste. The consistency reminded me of Lindt Lindor Truffles, of which I have long been a fan.

There was only one box of these at the T.J. Maxx I visited, for an obvious reason, but if I see more, you can bet I'll be buying them! Have any of you tried these chocolates before? I'd love to have some of these on hand the next time I host a tea!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Some new tea from a new shop!

Several years ago, I learned from tea friend Denise about a new tea company in Huntsville, Alabama, called Piper & Leaf. I've not yet made it to the shop in Huntsville, but fortunately, the tea company has come to me! A new shop called Local Provisions recently opened in downtown Newnan, and they carry Piper & Leaf Tea!

I saw the display and wanted everything on it!

But I'll allow myself only one tea purchase at a time, and I started with the tea I've most wanted to try, their Front Porch Special blend. It contains black tea, spearmint, cornflowers, jasmine, and bergamot.

Think Earl Grey, but softer. I loved the scent of this tea, the sight of this tea, and most of all, the lovely, delicate flavor of this tea. Count me as the newest fan of Piper & Leaf — and Local Provisions!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Steep & Go bottle infuser

When I was in Wisconsin recently, I bought a new tea gadget that I was eager to try, this Steep & Go cold brew bottle infuser for use with loose leaf tea.

The set consists of a cylindrical column with holes pierced in it,  a cap (shown at left), and two different sizes of ring attachments (both shown on the column here).

Just glancing at the package, I had assumed the column was supposed to then be filled with tea, but when I read the instructions, I learned that no, that is actually the part that filters out the loose leaf tea. That was surprising, and I liked the fact the loose leaf tea gets to "swim" while it is cold brewing.

I was skeptical, but friends, this thing works like a charm! I cold-brewed some Grapefruit Oolong from Adagio, and it gave me the citrusy taste I was expecting, and not one particle of tea slipped past that magnificent filter!

I also liked the fact it has a sports-bottle type of cap that lets you sort of squirt the tea out for sipping. Now I wish I'd bought two of these gadgets! Every year I try new bottled teas, and about 9 times out of 10 I am disappointed with the flavor. Now I have an easy way to take my owned bottled tea on the road, and I couldn't be happier with this infuser. It's made by The Tea Spot, and you can find it in their Green Tea color as well as a few other colors by clicking here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The teapot tea infuser goes to …

Sandy Garvey! And Sandy, I've sent you an email asking for your snail mail address so I can get this new infuser headed your way. Congrats!

A new video and new teas from Fortnum & Mason

Do you all subscribe to the emails from Fortnum & Mason in London? I do, and I do not ask for very many emails. Yesterday, I enjoyed viewing this new tea video teased in their latest email. If you view it—and it's just about a minute and a half—watch for the Bloody Mary Tea. That caught my eye.

And so did this … Fortnum's is now offering silky teabags containing loose leaf tea, just as Harney and other US vendors have done for years. Even though I won't be flying to London to shop there anytime soon, I like knowing that my favorite UK department store is getting with the times and offering a more convenient form of their fabulous loose leaf tea!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Flea Market Garden Style magazine

I absolutely love the new gardening magazines that appear each spring, especially the ones that promote using flea market finds as garden decor. This week, I picked up Flea Market Garden Style at Walgreens and flipped through it to see if it needed to go home with me.

And it did! I love sedums, and I love teacups and sugar bowls, so what's not to love about this spread?

And oh, this lovely little mossy arrangement in an old enamel tea kettle is so charming! There are quite a few more winsome ideas in this issue as well, along with some "shabby chic" decor, old statuary, and vintage linens. If that sounds like your cup of you-know-what too, you might want to look for this magazine!

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Giveaway: Teapot-shaped tea infuser

One of my favorite tea infusers is this twisting tea ball from Oxo, but last fall I got (nicely) pulled out of line at the Milwaukee airport for having it in my suitcase. Oh, it's legal and all, but that plastic handle doesn't show up on the airport X-ray machine, and the infuser looks like a sharp metal weapon. I was as puzzled as the security guy when he pointed at the scan of the long skinny object in my bag and asked me what that might be. After he reached in and pulled out the tea infuser, he laughed and waved me on through. So on my most recent trip, I meant to take an infuser that wouldn't create any problems. Alas, I forgot it, and fortunately my stepdaughter had some tea filters left over from a previous visit, but still I *mean* to keep a plastic infuser in my suitcase for use in the event of a tea emergency. (I know, I know. First-world problem, for sure!) But when I found this silicone infuser on eBay for 99 cents, I decided I'd go ahead and order two, one for me and one to give away to one of you!

It's a pretty simple gadget to use, as the lid neatly pops off and right back into place after you scoop some tea inside.

As often happens with this type of infuser, I found a few tea leaves slipping through, so I will probably keep this as my "travel infuser" rather than an everyday infuser. Perhaps you're headed on a trip and could use one too? If so, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, March 9, and you'll be entered to win. US and Canada only, please. And may the luck of the Irish be with ya!

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Currier & Ives tea print

Well, this is a first! I was browsing the Library of Congress website for vintage tea images, and I found one I'd never seen before, this print from Currier & Ives that reads "Splendid Tea!"

When I enlarged it, the line directly under the picture of the old lady, who bears more than a passing resemblance to a smiling Abe Lincoln, reads "Copyright 1881, By Currier & Ives, N.Y." Underneath "Splendid Tea!" it says only, "New York, Published by Currier & Ives, 115 Nassau St."

I've always associated Currier & Ives with the vintage prints of snow-laden landscapes, but I've certainly never seen any of their prints related to teatime. And what on earth do you suppose "Splendid Tea!" is about? Tea is splendid, I'll agree, but don't you think this was probably some sort of advertising piece? If you have any ideas on it, I'd love to hear them!