I prefer drinking tea instead of coffee during the holiday season because it is easier in the stomach. In fact, it helps my digestion. I also keep a supply of herbal teas for my guests who don’t want the caffeine at night.
Here are three gift ideas for people who enjoy their cup of tea at night. First, every teapot needs its cozy. This colorful tea cozy is made of acrylic, which means that it is easy to clean.
I received free sample boxes of the winter collection by Four O’Clock from TRANS-HERBe. They come in 4 flavours: almond biscotti, banana cinnamon spice, gingerbread and truffle mint. I was delighted by the taste and became a fan of the almond biscotti. If a latte is more your style, take two bags of your favourite flavour from the winter collection and steep in 250 mL of hot milk.
As a bonus, the festive illustrations of the Four O’Clock Winter Collection given by Montréal artist Bruce Roberts will look great on your table. You can find this limited edition Winter Collection in supermarkets, gourmet food stores, natural food stores and pharmacies across Canada.
Lastly, Magisso proposes an innovative teacup for serving tea with tea leaves. I have them thanks to Magisso, who sent me a few teacups a while ago. I enjoy how they work. Each Magisso teacup comes in a nice box that makes your gift wrapping easy. The Magisso teacups are available at Amazon.com and might be available at David’s Tea.
Here is a perfect Easter gift idea since it will please even people who count their calories. To be safe I suggest that instead of showing up at the Easter brunch where you are invited with a chocolate Easter bunny this year, you show up with a box of Euphoria, the latest addition to Kusmi Tea’s Wellness collection. Personally, I plan to end my Easter brunch with a cup of Euphoria tea.
Their Quebec PR agency sent me a box of Euphoria this week. My husband made us a tea pot after dinner yesterday night. We both like it. Euphoria is made with roasted maté, orange peel and chocolate. The chocolate taste is just present enough to appreciate it.
Euphoria is sold at Kusmi’s Montreal store and online. They operate a Canadian online shop and an American online store.
+ For Canadians: Euphoria Wellness Teas by Kusmi Tea
125g tins $22.90 CAD, 250g tins $37.60 CAD, pack of 20 sachets $17 CAD
+ For Americans: Euphoria Wellness Teas by Kusmi Tea
125g tins $22.90 CAD, 250g tins $37.60 CAD, pack of 20 sachets $17 CAD
Wow! A recipe that unites two of my favorite flavors: chocolate and Matcha tea. I am pleased that Kusmi Tea has accepted that I shared the recipe on my blog. I was surprise to see that it is not complicated to make your own choco-matcha truffles. You could serve them as mignardises at the end of a dinner party or bring those as the perfect hostess gift.
Choco-Matcha Truffle Recipe
Recipe by Kusmi Tea, which operates a boutique on Saint-Denis Street in Montreal.
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 5/8 cups 35% cream
- 3/4 – 1 lb 70% Guanaja chocolate
- 3 tbsp. Matcha powder tea (powder for cooking)
- Boil cream and honey.
- Finely chop the chocolate and put the pieces in a bowl.
- Pass the sweeten cream through a sieve, pouring over chocolate.
- Whisk thoroughly until you get a smooth texture.
- Refrigerate until the mixture hardens.
- Make small balls with mixture. Aim for 2 cm (3/4 in) in diameter.
- Roll the balls in the Matcha powder and completely cover each truffle.
You could eat that with one of the delicious teas from Kusmi Tea. Click here for their online boutique that serves Canada and the United States.
I can’t tell you if it makes you feel better since I did not catch a cold this winter, but I like the concept behind the Cold and Cough Collection at DavidsTea. The cute packaging grabbed my attention.
Cold 911 contains sinus-clearing eucalyptus and juniper berries, plus you get a dose of vitamin C with the orange peel and orange oil. It could make a thoughtful gift to a friend or colleague who is sick.
At the heart of Throat Soother are lemongrass, lemon myrtle and lemon balm, which are known for their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and/or antiviral superpowers. They are combined with marshmallow root, slippery elm and stevia leaf to create a sweet, hot, healing, lemony tea that coats and soothes your throat. That would be an option instead of my warm milk with honey.
+ Cold 911 tin by DavidsTea $14.50 CAD
+ Throat Soother tin by DavidsTea $14.50 CAD
If a friend or a loved one on your list loves tea, make sure to check these 4 tea essentials for anyone who he serious about drinking tea.
First, you eliminate the guess work with a tea timer. The most practical infusion times are 3, 4 and 5 minutes. You will find the one on the left at Arthur Quentin. I prefer this design because it takes less space. Danesco makes a 3 In 1 Sand Timer that look more manly.
The Breville Variable Temperature Kettle is wonderful. I received it for Christmas last year and absolutely love it. The kettle is useful for tea drinkers and French press coffee fans. You can read the review I did about my Breville variable temperature kettle.
The last essential is a good infuser for your loose teas. The fine mesh Comfort Touch Tea Strainer includes a lid that serves as a saucer to hold the strainer when you finish.
+ 3/4/5 minute sand timer $19.50 CAD at Kusmi Tea (for the store locator)
+ 3 In 1 Sand Timer by Danesco $15 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Breville Variable Temperature Kettle $108.40 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]
+ Comfort Touch Tea Strainer $16.95 USD at Teavana
I would like to have a sip of an Earl Grey hot chocolate. In fact, I might also try hot chocolate with other tea blends. Outstanding hot chocolates start with fine chocolate pieces and hot milk. It enhances the flavor to add a third ingredient. I often simply add a dash of pure vanilla. I never tried it with loose teas.
The Earl Grey Hot Chocolate recipe calls for heating the loose tea and milk in a saucepan for about 10 minutes. Drain the milk with a tea strainer before you pour the tea milk onto your melted chocolate. Find the details on the blog of Fisher & Paykel. If you like Earl Grey, Emma also shared a Earl grey bread & butter pudding recipe.
Another good mix would be a Matcha hot chocolate. These two flavors are known to pair well. Plus, you would not have to drain the tea milk. I imagine that the Lucipia matcha latte that we bought in Japan would deliver a smooth texture. You won’t have to envy me since the Lucipia stores in the United States sell the same Matcha au lait.
Have you tasted a tea hot chocolate before?
+ Lucipia Matcha and Matcha au Lait from $8 to $15 USD
+ photo: by Emma for Fisher & Paykel
Kyusu is a traditional Japanese teapot mainly used for brewing green tea. We used these teapots all the time when we were in Japan. They pour very well. Typical features include a side handle and a built-in strainer.
If you want to get yours, you can find them at Lucipia, a Japanese tea shop which operates a few stores in the USA plus an online store. Typically, a kyusu is small. I like the black Komarukyusu.
Sencha tea lovers can opt for the elegant Sawa teapot. This modern version of a Japanese sencha tea pot with an ergonomic handle and thumbprint lid allowing for easy one-handed pouring. Add 4 to 6 Sawa cups and saucers to create a wedding gift that the couple will be happy to use for many years.
Oct. 2nd, 2010 Update: My husband brought me back from San Francisco the stylishly modern SAWA teapot. I love it! It comes with two strainers: a built-in porcelain strainer on the inner edge of spout and a removable strainer for tea leaves. The one-handed pouring system works like a charm.
+ Komarukyusu black $22 USD
+ SAWA Teapot with Strainer $49
+ SAWA Sencha Cup $11
+ SAWA Saucer $13
I still have a craving for the fabulous matcha bakery treats I ate in Japan. One thing I like about Japanese desserts is that they are not as sweet as here. They mix traditional French patisserie with Japanese techniques and ingredients to create cakes and pastries that taste fresh and new.
Therefore, it will come to no surprise that I felt in love with the photography of Evangeline who runs the blog Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings and a bakery shop in Singapore called Patisserie dessert couture. She specializes in macarons, petits fours secs, tartlets and cookies.
I love sablés. The most memorable I ate lately were the sakura sablés and the matcha sablés we bought at a fancy bakery shop in Kyoto. Evangeline shared a Matcha sablés recipe from the Okashi treats cookbook written by Keiko Ishida. But do not search for the cookbook, it is out of print.
Another treat that brought back nice memories is the Matcha chiffon cake. Chiffon cakes are popular in Japan. I still have to publish a cool video I filmed about the making of these tasty cakes.
Finally, a Japanese version of two French classic cakes. First, her homemade matcha financiers decorated with black and white sesame seeds. For a twist, why not bake your own matcha madeleines.
+ photography: Evangeline Teo of Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings
If you are not ready or if you already gave her the Tiffany blue box, here is another signature blue box that will please her this Valentine. I like the drawings on the artisanal chocolates. It is common these days to see design like the chocolates made by Christopher Elbow. The MarieBelle chocolates gain points for being more cheerful and adorable.
You can buy it online from MarieBelle Chocolates or find at a retailer near you that carry the collection. I spotted this gift idea on Parcel Post, the blog of Urbanic Paper, a boutique in Venice, California. I wish to leave a message to my dear husband. I saw on the store listing that it may be available at Indigo.
A must-go in SoHo
I noted on my agenda a visit to the Cacao Bar and Tea Salon that is inside their retail space in SoHo. Their line of hot chocolate seems awesome and many rave about it. Another idea is to sit down for a nice cacao at their Parisian style salon. It is on the pricey side but indulgences are in order on Valentine’s Day.
+ MarieBelle Chocolates
As we visited the Interior Design Show in Toronto last weekend, one trend that is still going strong is the tree barks and branches. My husband and I were happy since our banister design is inspired by branches.
The Swedish design Jakob Solgren put it at a new level with his stylish teapot. I love it. At €1,500 a piece, “Wood You Like a Cup of Tea” seems more like a piece of art than an object you will use on a daily basis. He only produced five. The green ceramic leaf reminds me of the delicious Tea Aura’s matcha green tea cookies.
+ via Coolhunting
I enjoy shortbread cookies because they are not too sweet. I bake my own but I also like to try gourmet shortbread cookies. After all, they come handy when you are in a hurry. My latest find is the Matcha Shortbread cookies from Tea Aura, a small brand located in Toronto. I could not stop eating these leaf shaped cookies with my herbal tea the other night.
Susan Ho, the owner of Tea Aura, created 5 flavors up-to-date. Her shortbread cookies are made with butter, premium loose-leaf teas and without added artificial colors or flavors. Besides Matcha Green teas, the other flavors are Earl Grey, Rooibos Chai, Chocolate Mint and Lavender Currant. The latter is supposed to be popular.
To save time, I would stock a few since bringing two or three boxes make a delicious hostess gift. You can find the tea Aura’s cookies at selected grocers and specialty shops across Canada and at selected places in the United States. Check here to find a retailer near you.