A colleague from work brought me a box of gluten free macaroons from a recent trip to Italy that she made with her husband on a motorbike. We usually share sweets, biscuits, fruits and many cups of tea at work but these macaroons were a gift and also were so pretty that I said I was going to use them for a new edition of “tea and cake” on my blog. So another excuse to write, eat and drink tea!
These lovely purple little circular cakes are blueberry macaroons with blueberry cream filling. To pair them I made a Nilgiri SFTGFOP1 black tea so the sweetness and fruitiness of the macaroon could blend with the natural fruity character of the tea. The crumbly texture of the macaroon was also perfect to match the light-medium body of this black tea. In this case I think an iced tea could have been good as well but temperatures already started to drop so a warm cup of tea was a great choice.
I know it could sound silly but how easy it is to make yourself happy with little things: tea, macaroons and a book perhaps? Or just watching the clouds go by from the window, feeling the crisp air of the autumn? Tea and cake is a small but special pleasure if we intend it to be, isn’t it?
Thank you Txung for the present!
Today we are featured in Revista Estampas -online version- giving some tips about how throw an afternoon tea at home. The article is in Spanish as this is a magazine from Venezuela’s newspaper El Universal, but I will be posting all the tips in English below!
For me having friends and family over is always a pleasure and I find that a nice afternoon tea at home is always a good option to gather, have a nice chat, eat delicious food and, of course, drink many cups of tea! Here are some tips you can follow to make the afternoon special but, more than anything, the important part is to make it enjoyable, fun, create a friendly atmosphere and to be a nice host!
Here we go:
- Decorate the table selecting plates of various sizes, styles and different heights to serve the food . Place the flowers in small vases so your guests can see and talk .
- Use your best loose-leaf tea. You can opt for a classic English-style black tea (like an English Breakfast or an Earl Grey) or choose any other of you really like. A green or an oolong tea are also great choices if you prefer a lighter taste.
- Serve preserves, jams, fruit jellies or honey to accompany scones, cakes, croissants and even toast.
- Serve a variety of sweet and savory food. For a traditional tea you can offer the traditional cucumber, egg or salmon finger sandwiches. For something sweet choose from biscuits, cupcakes , cakes all in small portions. Remember the important thing is variety, not quantity.
I want to wholeheartedly thanks Adriana Gibbs for always inviting me to participate and for letting me share my passion for tea at @Estampas!
Do you have any other tip you would like to share? I would love to hear from you…!
Thanks for reading and happy Sunday!
Link to full article here
In this edition of tea and cake I have a very special guest, Lorena Franzoni, an Argentine graphic designer and artist that lives in Barcelona and with whom I always like to share ideas and projects and, of course, many cups of tea. This time I invited her to bring her ceramic pieces to have “tea and cake” at home using them as the main theme. I chose a refreshing Darjeeling First Flush and, to accompany it, whole wheat and regular madeleines, mini croissants, mini “napolitanas” and strawberries.
Her pieces are handmade and they respond to her own creative process, stories and needs. I particularly like the organic touch and feel of the pieces and how its variety of sizes, textures, shapes and colours complement each other so gracefully.
In the pictures you can see small bowls, a beautiful cake stand and two little horses. The horses are actually part of a bigger piece called “Brillante”, a lamp that is also a character that during the day delivers flowers and by night lightens up the dark. The piece was recently showcased at the collective expo called “Los Tripulantes” in Barcelona.
We had tea and a nice chat about her present and future projects. She is currently working on a children’s cup for her nephew and a set of plates for her home. I am sure it will be to die for!
What a pleasure to have tea with such a great company and these beautiful pieces! Thank you Lore for being on this edition of Tea and Cake, a real delight!
To know more about Lorena’s design work please visit:
She makes all her ceramic pieces at El Taller de Lusesita: https://www.facebook.com/pages/El-taller-de-lusesita/571797292930333?fref=photo
While in Antwerp I was doing some grocery shopping at the supermarket when I spotted this lovely box of gluten free Speculoos biscuits on the shelf. I would always see my husband craving for the regular ones so it was finally my opportunity to try them! If you don’t know what Speculoos is, these are shortbread biscuits with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar, cardamom, among other spices, similar to a Christmas shortbread.
The box had this message on the side: “The little pleasures in life are a touch of oooom mixed with a pinch of mmmmm and a dash of yuhm, and many other special ingredients only you know about”. Well, these biscuits are mmmm, yuhmmm, oommm indeed and I think that would be the best description for it; my husband was right. Needless to say this brand is called Little Pleasures.
So in this edition of Tea and Cake (that I should have called Tea and Biscuits instead), I married a black, malty, full bodied Assam with the Speculoos biscuits and the combination was absolutely delicious! It was like tasting a Masala Chai and if you think about it, it actually is. The spices in both the tea and the biscuits are mostly the same. But don’t worry, if you don’t have Speculoos, find a good Assam or any robust black tea and accompany it with some ginger or spiced cookies, and you will see the result!
This time I also added soy milk to my Assam (a lighter version of a builders tea) just to add creaminess to it and have a bit of contrast with the crunchiness of the biscuits.
I had a sip of my tea, then I had a cookie, then another sip and so on until the cup and the box were both empty.
Last week I visited a charming Japanese teahouse in Barcelona called Usagui (which means Rabbit in English), a lovely place where you can find a nice selection of Japanese teas as well as a variety of sweets and desserts (including mochi!).
I ordered a Sencha Fukamushi, an exquisite deep steamed and spring tea that I particularly loved. Fukamushi refers to the steaming time of the tea leaves in the production process of the Sencha, being this one the longest one (two minutes approximately). This is a beautiful tea: grassy, rich in flavour with a buttery feel to it and a vivid green colour.
My tea came in a small clay teapot in a square wooden tray. It had been already brewed, as they took care of the water temperature and the steeping time of the tea beforehand. Then I kindly asked for a second and third infusion and they gave me precise instructions on how to do it each time. For the second infusion they suggested 80 seconds and then serve “until the last drop”. For the third time, only 30 seconds and then pour again, “until the last drop” and so I did. It is said that the last drops are the most important ones as they are more concentrated in flavour and can even determine the final taste of the tea…
I also tried an iced apple kocha (black tea) and a fruit pannacotta. Both very delicate and refreshing.
The teahouse is very minimalistic and intimate, ideal for a peaceful afternoon with a nice cup of Japanese tea…
Thank you Usagui, until next time!
Usagui. Santjoanistes 28, 08006.