Sunday, February 1, 2009

TEA FOR THE SEASONS

We had a lovely lunch at a local place yesterday (mine was a masterpiece of a sandwich with grain bread, avocado, tomato, cucumber, roasted peppers, sprouts and pesto---and I'm not a vegetarian). And we each had a cup of roasted-butternut soup, warming and velvety and redolent of mace and honey.

Before ordering our lunch, we strolled the many aisles of wonderful teas and coffees and cheeses!! and all the jellies and jams and pickles and capers. . .everything under one roof, since we could see through the glassless iron-laced windows into the wineshop side of the store, and could smell the luscious aromas from the cigar shop in an adjoining section. I blushingly admit to enjoying a cigar now and again, though even a whiff of cigarette smoke sends me out for air.

Despite having an entire cabinet devoted to all my lovely teas and cups and various adjuncts (the teapots are all over the house, displayed on rails above both kitchens, over the microwave, nestled into the open dish cabinets and bookcases, etc.), I was just carried away with all the selection.

Names I had never heard before---the whisper of a tropic isle, a sun-drenched field, an exotic hillside in a country I'll never see save through pictures and descriptions and sips of their glorious teas. I overdid it a bit on the buying, but I craved those teas, the IDEA of them, the projected tastes and moments and events and frames in which I'd serve them and enjoy them and share them with friends and family.

The new ones on my shelf are:

A couple of the old Stash standbys---some chai spice and a new red-and-white combo, with rooibos as the main component.

A pretty shiny box of Yamamotoyama China Oolong.

A couple of the ROT's---Ginger Peach Decaf and Honey Ginseng Green.

A trio of Grace Rare: Owner's Blend, Darjeeling and Connoisseur...these three on sale rack, but well within ED. Shiny square cans of Hedley's English Breakfast and Earl Grey ---Chris' before-breakfast or cold-afternoon favorites.

This a.m., I've had a cup each of rooibos/white (lovely vanilla flavor, beautiful color in the cup). And oolong--exactly like I like it. And last night's bedtime chai spice was just as it should be---gently aromatic of clove and cinnamon and cardamom, sweetened with honey---the perfect sweet-sleep tea. The bedtime cup conjured up visions of warm pajamas and soft slippers and a good book before retiring.

And I reserve the right, as a long-time SOUTH person before moving to the Heartland, to enjoy each and every one of these OVER ICE when the spirit moves.

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