Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fleur de Geisha

 Fleur de Geisha

Hanami (flower viewing) is the Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of  flowers. 

Every spring from the end of March to early May the Sakura (cherry blossoms) bloom all over Japan.  The Japanese people enjoy the tradition of hanami today by celebrating in parks and festivals with outdoor parties under the Sakura trees.

 Geisha Girls

Hanami is also celebrated in the United States. 

On March 27, 1912, Japan gave 3,000 Japanese cherry trees as a gift to the United States.  These trees were planted in Washington DC.  In 1965 another 3,800 gifted trees were planted there.  Japans' gift of the cherry blossom trees celebrates the enduring friendship between the people of Japan and the United States. 

Washington D.C. has had a Cherry Blossom Festival since 1935 to celebrate spring and the gift of the cherry blossom trees.  Today the festival has grown into a 2 week spring celebration known as the National Cherry Blossom Festival. 

 Le Palais des The`s

A wonderful way for to celebrate the arrival of spring and hanami is to drink
Fleur de Geisha tea by Le Palais des The`s.

Le Palais des The`s is tucked away in the le Marais in Paris. I discovered this wonderful tea purveyor while meandering the Marais on my last trip to Paris. 

My favorite tea discovery in their shop was Fleur de Geisha .  This tea is actually inspired by the Japanese tradition of Hanami viewing cherry trees in blossom.  Fleur de Geisha is a Sencha (green tea) delicately scented with cherry blossom. 

Fleur de Geisha

Fleur de Geisha is the perfect tea to celebrate the cherry blossom trees.

This special tea blend can be ordered online from Les Palais des The`s but I've decided to wait and pick mine up on my upcoming trip to Paris in May.

I hope you'll try this lovely taste of spring and take time for hanami. 

Special note:   I would like to express my heartfelt prayers to the people of Japan and their loved ones as they recover from their devastating earthquake and tsunami.  For ways to help the people of Japan, you can visit this website

(In the photos:  Large Washi tea canister available for purchase at The Tea Cupboard.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Afternoon in Paris!

 Un Apres Midi a` Paris
(An Afternoon in Paris)

 Spring has sprung...
and there's nothing better than An Afternoon in Paris
 in the springtime!

 Place des Vosges

A lovely place to visit on An Afternoon in Paris is the Place des Vosges. 

The Place des Vosges is the oldest square, and some say the most beautiful square in Paris.  I agree. 

The Place des Vosges is located in the trendy le Marais district. 

I'll be spending an afternoon in Paris (well, actually five)  next month when my husband and I holiday in England and Paris.  This will be our first time staying in the Marais arrondissment.  (We normally stay in the Rue Cler area near the Eiffel Tower.)  The Marais is home to trendy boutiques, famous patisseries, and my favorite French tea purveyors... Mariage Freres and Le Palais des The`s!

I can't wait for Paris in springtime!

An Afternoon in Paris

Speaking of spring,  An Afternoon in Paris is one of my favorite teas to drink in springtime.  It's floral and fruity notes certainly conjure up memories of Paris afternoons.

An Afternoon in Paris is one of Fauchon's top selling blends.  This lovely Chinese Black tea is flavored with sweet Orange oil, orange peel, vanilla, rose oil and rose petals.  I find its ideal steeping time is 4 minutes.  Of course, this tea is perfect in the afternoon with your favorite French desserts.  Very Parisian, indeed!

To enjoy this tea, I'm afraid you'll have to enjoy an afternoon in Paris and buy it there.  Fauchon products are being sold again online in the US but not all products are available on the US shopping site. 

 I can't wait for more afternoons in Paris!

(In the photos:  Vintage Shelley "Woodland" Tea Cup & Saucer. 
Available for purchase in The Tea Cupboard.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leprechaun Tea Toddy

Leprechaun Tea Toddy

 I love that anyone can be a "wee bit" Irish on St. Patrick's Day. 

(Yes, I'll be wearing something green and making my traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage.  Yum!)

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here's a wonderful tea toddy recipe perfect for celebrating St. Patrick's Day or anytime you need a soothing treat on a cold night.


Leprechaun Tea Toddy

1 cup hot brewed Earl Grey tea
1 shot Baileys Original Irish Cream
1 tsp. sugar
1 dash Irish Whiskey

In a tea cup, combine the brewed tea, Baileys, sugar and whiskey.  Serve immediately. 


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Make Your Own Tea Bags!

Make Your Own Tea Bags

The French call them Sachets or Filtres.
Brits and Americans call them Bags.

Call them what you will...
Tea filters make it so easy to enjoy your favorite loose teas!

The' Filtres

Make Your Own Tea Bags

1) Place 1 teaspoon of tea per cup in the filter

2) Place the filter in your cup and fill with freshly boiled water

3)  Infuse your tea for it's proper infusion time

4)  Remove the filter and throw it away

Voila'..a perfect cup of tea!

I first purchased filtres a' the' (tea filters) years ago in Paris.  I love enclosing tea filters with luxury loose tea gifts to friends. They are such a convenient way to enjoy loose tea when you don't want to brew an entire pot of tea!

(In the photos:  Wedgwood vintage Edme tea cup & saucer, Whittard Tea Measure Spoon, Kusmi Tea.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birthday Cake!

 German Chocolate Cake

Forget the fancy bakery...

there's nothing like an "old fashioned",
good 'ole home-made birthday cake! 

My husband requested a German Chocolate Cake for his birthday and my sweet Mother whipped one up for him since I've been sick with a lingering cold and not in a baking mood. 

 All gone!

Some recipes can pass the test of time.  This is one!  My Mom sticks with the original German Sweet Chocolate Cake recipe printed on the Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate box.

Traditionally, this cake is baked in three round layer pans.  You can modify it and make it a two layer cake or, for ease, a sheet cake, too.  If you're like me and think the coconut-pecan frosting is the best part, the more layers the better... for more frosting. 

I'm anxious to experiment with the recipe and see how it works for cupcakes. 

The Original Recipe

Based on it's name, many people think this cake originated from Germany.  That's not the case.  The cake is named after Sam German, who in 1852 invented a dark baking chocolate for the American baking company Baker's Chocolate Company.  This cake, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate Cake was named after him.  In 1957 the recipe was published in a Texas newspaper and it's been a family favorite since then.  It certainly is one of our family favorites! 

Special note:   this cake tastes even better the day after baking because the chocolate cake becomes more dense. 

(In the photos:  Spode Baking Days White Salad Plate.)