Thursday, 18 October 2012

Chateau Rouge Rooibos Tisanes

Imagine an up market French Street crossing a South African herbalist street, and there on the corner you'll find Chateau Rouge selling their wonderful teas and tisanes. 

 Chateau Rouge gives tea the same French sophistication similar to what we’re used to seeing with coffee culture.  With a passion for exquisitely tasting luxury drinks, they aim to ‘recapture an age when explorers and traders returned from their travels with exotic, unknown discoveries’.  I couldn’t have put it better myself.  No more soggy tea bags and lacy doilies here, more likely a place where James Bond gets his tea (stirred, not shaken obviously).

Warm reds

I’ve started off my Chateau tour looking at the Rooibos tea, which is a Tisane (French for herbal tea).  It’s rapidly growing in popularity and i'm glad I finally have the chance to talk about one of my favourites!

I helped convert someone close to me to Rooibos a few years back (after failing in the pushing of green tea) and although we lost him to cancer recently, I'll always remember he'd ask for a 'redbush' when he came to visit. '"Rooibos" you mean?' I'd say with a wink, and 'redbush' he'd say back to me with another wink.  Sigh! 

Of course it's the perfect time of year for rooibos. It's not just the rich orange-red colour, reminiscent of the turning leaves of autumn, but also the slight woody taste like warming yourself up next to the crackling open fire.

From the Cedarberg region in the Western Cape of South Africa, the Rooibos plant gives you a naturally sweet taste, is caffeine-free and has less tannin than black teas.  People who like milk with their tea but want to benefit from the numerous health benefits of Rooibos, will find it a great start because you can drink it as it is, or add milk and sugar (or honey).  A friend recently back from South Africa posted some photos on Tea Street's Facebook page and told us the locals have milk and about five spoons of sugar in theirs! 

So what was the Chateau Rouge Rooibos like?  Well, I received two kinds of Rooibos wrapped beautifully from Chateau Rouge; one was the Organic Vanilla Rooibos and the other Wiedouw Rooibos, pronounced “we do”.

Rooibos is naturally full-bodied, but the Vanilla gives it another dimension.  The tisane remains smooth while the vanilla brings a sweeter taste that's quite subtle and doesn’t overpower the Tisane like some other brands with this blend.  

Organic Vanilla Rooibos

There’s surprisingly quite a bit of vanilla in the aftertaste, which was nice.  Chateau Rouge add 100% organic vanilla pods to this tea, rather than a vanilla essence and I think the natural flavouring is quite apparent...

The Wiedouw loose tea is full of rich colour like the Vanilla, but is naturally less sweet and has more of a grassy flavour to it.  This really takes you on a journey across the vast vistas from where the green bushes originate.  It’s also a gentle reminder of how delicious Rooibos is year round as you can really imagine drinking this in the warmer months as well.  Without the help of the Vanilla though, I think if you like a bit of sugar in your Rooibos, then you’d be more inclined to add a spoon to this one.

 Organic Wiedouw Rooibos

Overall, I’d recommend these tisanes whether you’re new to Rooibos or if you’ve tried it before, as you will likely find a difference in quality not experienced elsewhere.

It’s also worth noting you can re-steep this tea, which I always find useful because it makes teatime last longer (as well as the packet)!  Also you can see Chateau Rouge is a proud member of the Soil Association and the Rainforest Alliance.  Lovely!

In memory of Pete, lover of “Redbush”.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Pewter Tea Spoons

What do you think of these lovely Pewter spoons, themed with teapot and teacup tops??  

I just love them; they're hand-made at Glover and Smith's own UK studio and made from lead-free Pewter.  

Their leaflet tells me that lead-free pewter is a 'non-tarnishing, food-friendly and eco friendly material.'  It is 100% recyclable and it doesn't need polishing like silver!  

A gorgeous Christmas gift for a tea-lover, i think!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Fortnum and Mason - High Tea China

Exciting new package!

As i mentioned in a recent post, i had a special birthday recently and it just so happened that i needed another teapot..!  I think i'm getting a bit into teaware as women normally do shoes.  Obviously i have a few teapots already, but i wanted something special, that would last me and so i could add pieces later to make a set.  Everyone has to have an actual tea SET right?

Anyway, i recalled looking through pictures of tea (as you do) and that i'd found a really nice picture of Fortnum and Mason teaware.  This went down in my mind as the teaware i'd ask for or get myself if it was a special occasion!  It was a gorgeous mix of turquoise, white and gold china.

So since it was my birthday, i went back to look through Fortnum's site to see if they still did this tea range i'd remembered.  I was happy to find they did, it's the 'High Tea China', in fine bone china that's made in England and decorated in what they call Fortnum's signature eau de nil with a golden butterfly motif. 

My new teapot!
So when someone in the family asked what i wanted i mentioned the teapot and it arrived on the day!  I love it!  It pours really well, as long as i'm careful about it (when i went a bit quick i did make a mess)!  It's a good size, very pretty and it's nice to think i've got a proper china teapot.  Hopefully i'll add to the set as time goes on with the High Tea Cup and Saucers and also the plates.  After all, if it's good enough for the Queen, it's good enough for Tea Street right?!  

The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was re-opened in their historic Piccadilly store last March by HM the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.  It would be great to stop by sometime and try out the Afternoon Tea.

Have a good day,

HRH the Duchess of Tea Street ;-)