Friday, January 29, 2010

Valentine's Teas

It's a lovely Seattle morning here, overcast but not too chilly, and calm and quiet here in Post Alley. I'm having a Nice Cup of tea and a Sit Down with one of Sue's delicious bergamot shortbread cookies.

Sometimes my job is so hard. *sigh*

Anyway, on to business! We have some fantastic teas here for a limited time in honor of Valentine's Day!

The return of an old favorite: Harney & Sons' Valentine's Blend. As with many of our seasonal teas, customers eagerly await the arrival of this tea. It's an exceptional blend of chocolate and rose flavors, with a high quality black tea base. If you've ever had Harney's Florence tea, you know just how good they are at combining chocolate and tea. You can pick up this 4 ounce tin of loose tea here at the shop or online.

Continuing with the chocolate theme is Bling Fling, a chocolate and cherry black tea blend. With the aroma of chocolate-covered cherries, this one's sure to please. It even has real chocolate bits blended right into the tea! The "bling" comes from the golden sprinkles that dissolve in the tea. This one's available loose, online and in-store.

This one's called Rooibos Love Affair, a bright combination of caffeine-free South African rooibos and strawberry flavors, with just a hint of chocolate. The rose petals and candy hearts add a fun visual treat, making it a perfect gift for your sweetheart. Again, this blend is available loose, online and in-store.

Remember, all of these teas are limited seasonal blends, so once they're gone, they're gone til next year!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some important biscuit tasting to attend to.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bergamot heaven, what I'm baking

Just bought my bergamots and yesterday my whole kitchen smelled like Earl Grey, an aroma that makes me incredibly happy. January might be chill and rainy and grey outside but inside it's "Earl" grey.

We still have 6 bergamots left for sale in the shop - in store customers only - no shipping since this is a perishable item - $2.00 each.

To use my four bergamots: for my first recipe I was up to my elbows in semisweet chocolate adding zest of bergamot to the cream and chocolate blend, then rolling the truffles in cocoa powder. Made a day ahead the bergamot flavor actually increases in strength giving you a mouth full of chocolate-bergamot goodness.

Next I took a basic pound cake recipe - lots of butter and sour cream - adding zest to the batter and topping the warm out of the oven creation with a sugar/bergamot juice glaze. Again, aging increases the flavor.

Ran out of time to try my ice box cookies and muffins - but that's next.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bergamot Week Jan 14 - 24

Hey there, long time no see! Did you have a good holiday?

Things sure have been busy around here the last month or so, but now that it's a little more calm I have time to write up another blog post. And just in time to tell you about Bergamot Week!

What's Bergamot Week, you ask? Well, for the past few years around this time in January, we have brought in some bergamot fruits so people can see and smell them firsthand. What's a bergamot, you ask? Well...

That's a bergamot. Looks like a lemon, huh? It may look like a lemon, but one sniff of the peel and you get the unmistakeable fragrance of Earl Grey. The oil from the rind of the bergamot fruit is what makes your Earl Grey tea taste the way it does.

The finest bergamots (Citrus bergamia) are grown in the Calabria region of Italy (the tip of the "boot"). The particular soil type brings out the most flavor in the oil. It's pretty difficult (and expensive) to get them from Italy, so we bring in some grown in California by a grower who specializes in rare citrus fruits.

The flesh of the fruit is rather sour, so it's not so great for eating as is, but the zest is wonderful to use in baking and cooking. Try adding some zest to a shortbread, or in chocolate truffles; anywhere you use lemon or orange zest. You could even try a twist of bergamot peel in a martini to give it a unique hint of flavor. I wonder if anyone makes bergamot bitters... Hmm.

Anyway, in honor of bergamot season, we're declaring the 14th - 24th of January Bergamot Week! We'll have bergamots in the shop for you to see and smell, and all of our Earl Grey teas will be 10% off! That includes Earl Grey Extra, Lavender Earl Grey, Victorian Earl Grey, Irish Earl Grey, Imperial Russian Caravan, Paris Blend, Decaf Earl Grey Extra, and Decaf Victorian Earl Grey.

So come on in, meet a bergamot, and pick up some Earl Grey and celebrate Bergamot Week with us!