Lots of turmoil in the world. It ranges from international all the way down to one-on-one. Tea can play a role as peacemaker here. In fact, tea has been playing that role for some time now in various countries around the world. Maybe it’s time to start a “Stop and have a cuppa tea” campaign. Sort of like moms and dads would tell us as kids: “Count to ten before you respond.” Emotions flare up easily. That small bit of time can help cool things, even just a little, which helps a whole lot.

Time out – have a cuppa! (Image by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Time out – have a cuppa! (Image by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Some Examples from Other Countries

In some cultures where tea is as integral to their lives as air is, tea has become a way to apologize, ask for forgiveness, and also to keep things from flaring up into heated events:

  • China – Serving tea can be a sign of respect. It can also be an act of attrition. When a young adult does something to anger his/her parents, making tea and offering it to them is a form of apology; if the parents take the tea and drink it, it is a sign that all is forgiven (or at least understood).
  • Turkey – Price haggling is almost the national pastime, but keeping it civil takes some finessing…not to mention a lot of tea!
  • Japan – In the Edo period (1603-1868), Japan’s samurai laid down their swords, entering these peaceful Chashitsu courtyards, and enjoying teas prepared with masterful precision. That simple bowl of tea was a moment of escape from harsh realities.

What to Do on a Personal Level

Most of us here are not in a position to affect things on such a grand scale, but we can improve personal relations with those in our immediate vicinity, be they family, friend, co-worker, neighbor, or mere acquaintance. Some ideas:

  • Hold a tea open house – hard for people to stay mad at folks who treat them with such hospitality (but it’s still possible, sad to say).
  • Have a tea time that abides by the Chashitsu rules – language is polite and the conversation revolves around tea.
  • Resort to the traditions of some of my ancestors (the ones who were here to greet those Europeans) – hold a sort of tea pow wow, were passing the pot of tea replaces that pipe of sacred tobacco, and where you can examine your issues and resolve your differences over those hot cuppas.

Maybe a “Tea for World Peace” Day needs to be declared!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Various images of Moroccan style tea pouring. (From Yahoo! Images)

Various images of Moroccan style tea pouring. (From Yahoo! Images)

Awhile ago I wrote an article posted on this blog about pouring tea like a Moroccan waiter, being inspired by a Moroccan waiter who had served my tea by pouring it from a gleaming silver teapot that he held above his head, letting a thin stream of tea flow flawlessly from spout to tea glass with nary a drop going astray. I practiced my own version of this and had rather – uh, well, let’s just say that some drops went astray! But the practice sessions continue, with ever better results.

Time out for a bit of an object lesson here: First, we see someone doing something with grace, skill, and supposed ease, and we are often totally unaware of the time, dedication, and hours of practice required for these skilled individuals to achieve their level of expertise. Not every pianist sat down at the age of 4, like Mozart, and began playing (as well as his young and small fingers could manage). Most of us mere mortals must put in lots of practice. Second, this is another one of those pithy observations that, of course, relates to tea. No matter how many articles and videos you read and watch about making that perfect cuppa, in the end nothing beats practice. And just when you think you have it all down pat, practice some more. It can be wince inducing to look back at yourself when you thought your skills couldn’t get any better and see how much better you now are, but it will be worth those efforts. And time. Lots of it.

Let’s not forget the age-old adage that anything worth doing is worth doing well. And so, my perfection of my Moroccan style tea pour continues. My progress to date is, sad to say, far from the level that waiter exhibited.

My blue 6-cupper teapot, affectionately named “Betty” and no kin to those marvelous Brown Betty teapots out there, is my instrument of choice. The lid is a bit of an obstacle. It is not attached with a hinge to the teapot body like that Moroccan waiter’s was. Plus, Betty does not have that long, thin spout. So right away, she has a dual handicap going into this whole endeavor. Nevertheless, she was “game for a go” as the British say.

A few tips, if you want to try this at home:

  1. Have adult supervision (even if you are an adult)
  2. Be prepared for the possibility of breakage (teapot, cup, heads, hearts)
  3. Ditto for spillage (keep that box of tissues handy in case anyone, including you, starts crying over that spilt tea)
  4. Ditto for splatters (even when the tea makes it into the cup, there is often splattering)
  5. Wear a raincoat (see #4)
  6. Keep a mop and/or paper towels handy (again see #4 – no one ever said this was going to be neat)

Ready? Okay, fill your teapot with water (no sense wasting good tea, and tea is mostly water anyway). Set the teacup on a table-height (about 30”) surface, nice and solid and unwobbly. Leave off the teapot lid or secure it to the teapot with tape (we use painters tape so there is virtually no adhesive residue once we pull it off). Hold the teapot firmly in your pouring hand (I pour both left and right handed, so you will have to decide which is right for you). Start by slowly pouring a little into the teacup from about 2 inches above it and raise the teapot gradually as you pour until you can’t control the pour anymore. Next time, start at 3 inches above the cup and keep raising the teapot until you start splashing water around. Continue each trial by starting another inch higher. Hopefully, you will also be stopping higher. Eventually, you will be above your head – and then you can apply for a job at the nearest Moroccan restaurant!

Give it a go and let me know how you succeed.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

IngenuiTEA (ETS image)

IngenuiTEA (ETS image)

There are many resources nowadays that claim to tell you the secret of preparing perfect tea. I remain skeptical that such a thing exists. But if you’re willing to settle for a great cup of tea, I’d suggest that you focus on a few key factors – the quality of the tea, the time spent steeping it, and the temperature at which it’s steeped.

But let’s talk steeping. In addition to the time you spend steeping tea, the method you use is important. There are any number of methods you can use to steep tea nowadays, including automated gadgets that take care of most preparation steps and which will do your windows in their down time. But to simplify this discussion, we’ll focus on a few steeping methods, such as teabags and some of the assorted and sundry infusers on the market.

First, the teabag – the old tried and true. It’s a fairly well-known fact these days that the “two dollars for a 100″ type teabags that you buy in a grocery store might not necessarily contain the highest quality of tea. Even if they did, they did the construction of the teabag is not such that it would allow the tea to steep properly. One of the primary concerns when steeping tea is that the water should be able to circulate freely among the tea leaves to be able to make maximum contact with those leaves and release the greatest amount of flavor. When the tea is scrunched tightly into a tea bag this is not the optimum situation.

Which can also be the case with many tea infusers. The first one that comes to mind is that small metal strainer type tea ball that still seems to be quite popular these days. But the same advice can be applied any type of infuser that’s so small that it constrains the tea leaves and doesn’t allow the water to circulate properly.

A better choice – though one of many – might be the infusers that are shaped like a cup and have a lip around the top that allows them to rest inside your tea cup. Or simply a teapot that allows the water and tea to circulate and contains some mechanism for separating one from the other. My own preference is for a gravity type infuser that I pour the water into. When steeping is complete, place it on top of your tea cup and the tea is released.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gold Plated Rose Demi Spoon (ETS image)

Gold Plated Rose Demi Spoon (ETS image)

You know the saying that “silence is golden” and also that as we age we enter our “golden years.” Well, a golden touch for your tea time is another good one – and you don’t have to be King Midas to have one. All it takes is an item here, an item there. Start with something simple and work your way up.

That something simple could be a gold-plated demitasse spoon. They come in several handle designs. I have the one shown here (a gift from hubby years ago) with the rose-shaped handle and feel like Anna, Duchess of Bedford, herself when using it. Roses not your style? Check out this more simply styled Gold Demi Spoon, this Heart-handled Demi Spoon, and this Teapot-handled Gold Demi Spoon. Other possibilities are this pair of Gold Rose Pattern Sugar Tongs and this Gold Teapot Warmer. (A quick tip from my personal experience: keep any gold-plated items dusted so the finish doesn’t get marred.)

Your gold touches can be a bit more subtle. One example is this Yorkshire Gold tea (available loose and bagged). Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold Tea is a malty tea with a rich brown color. Blended from the fine teas of countries like India, Sri Lanka and Africa, this tea is great for breakfast. Since it is a stronger tea, it is often enjoyed with milk and sugar. Of course, you can get that “golden” flavor from the store brand, deep and rich. (Harrogate is known for the quality of its water and, therefore, its many teashops, going back from the first of tea being popularized in England.)

Want more gold? How about the golden hues of honey from the appropriately named Dutch Gold. You can get it as Pure Clover Honey and Orange Blossom Honey. Great for tea or cooking and baking. Try the clover honey over ice cream, in yogurt, or with oatmeal for a deliciously sweet addition. The Orange Blossom honey also pairs well with fruit, salad dressings, and even as a meat glaze.

Oh, and don’t forget a teapot with a golden touch to it. The Timeless Rose Porcelain Teapot is a fine example. It holds 37 ounces of hot, tasty tea and is decorated in the beautiful Timeless Rose pattern with fine gold edging. (It’s part of a complete tea set and a 45 piece dinner set, so you can go all “King Midas” here if you want.)

While “all that glitters is not gold,” these gold items will certainly make your tea time glitter, sparkle, and make you feel rather royal!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing a bunch of monthly columns about tea books, as well as some miscellaneous articles about tea books, I assumed that I was aware of absolutely every tea book that’s been loosed on the world in recent years. But that’s not quite true, as I realized when I was contacted recently by a company that has published a number of tea-related titles. While I wait for the supply of recent and upcoming books to replenish itself a bit I thought I’d take a look at a few volumes I’ve managed to overlook.

Judging from the title there’s no doubt about what The Japanese Tea Ceremony, from a few years ago, is all about. It’s actually a reissue of a 1933 volume by A. L. Sadler, an Australian professor of oriental studies. The publisher claims that “this classic remains the gold standard for books on the five-centuries-old tea ceremony.”

For another variation on the same theme, but one well over a century older, you can try Stories from a Tearoom Window, by Shigenori Chikamatsu. An eighteenth century warrior, Chikamatsu “set down scores of legends, anecdotes and bits of lore to express the essence of the tea ceremony for the edification of tea connoisseurs.” It was first translated into English in 1982 and reissued a few decades later.

While we’re on the topic of Japanese tea it’s a good time to mention The Book of Tea Classic Edition, a deluxe edition of Okakura Kakuzo’s 1906 volume, a volume that has remained in print, in one form or another, for more than a century. Or, in a similar vein, Tea Cult Of Japan, by Tasunosuke Fukukita, which first appeared in the 1930s and which was reissued about seven decades later.

Last up, Healthy Teas, by Tammy Safi, has been around since the early days of the recent tea/health craze. But it’s worth seeking out if you’re looking for “a delightful introduction to the history and healing properties of green tea, the health benefits of black teas, and the life-enhancing attributes of herbal and fruit infusions and decoctions.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A strong black tea served in an attractive glass. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.)

A strong black tea served in an attractive glass. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.)

Turkey ranks with England and Ireland when it comes to a passion for enjoying tea. And they rival Japan for their tea ritual. Theirs isn’t as complex, but it’s just as important to them. You may find yourself getting drawn into that Turkish tea ritual without even realizing it. Here are some signs:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

Turks love to haggle. It’s an art lost upon many of us here in the U.S. We’re so used to set prices. But there, the store owner will sit you down for tea and a nice session of congenial haggling. No respectable deal can be done otherwise. So, if you find yourself saying things like “no way that car is worth five of my best milking cows,” you may have gone Turkish at tea time. And if you ask for some “Rize tea,” you may be a lot closer than you think to being “Totally Turkish.” (Most tea grown in Turkey is from the Rize area.)

2 Tea Preference Changes

You find yourself craving a strong black or green tea (often steeped for 10-15 minutes and the leaves left in the pot). In Turkey, herbal tisanes are also popular, although mostly with tourists; the most popular are apple (elma çayı), rose hip (kuşburnu çayı), and linden flower (ıhlamur çayı). Sage tisane (ada çayı, also called “island tea”) is most popular in the Mediterranean coastal region. Your choice steering in these directions is a strong indication of your progress toward going “Totally Turkish.” (You can shop locally for many of these.)

Handmade Hand-painted Copper Teapot Stovetop Tea Kettle - Magnificent ArtWork Handmade in Turkey (screen capture from site)

Handmade Hand-painted Copper Teapot Stovetop Tea Kettle – Magnificent ArtWork Handmade in Turkey (screen capture from site)

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

You steep the tea (black or green) up strong and serve in a Caydanlık (a stacked double kettle contraption). The tea goes in the top teapot and hot water is in the bottom pot. The top pot acts as a lid for that bottom pot. The tea is served hot in glasses and without milk but with some cubes of beet sugar.

4 Turkish Tea Time Recipes Dominate

Your tea time treats switch from scones and finger sandwiches to baklava (oozing honey), sweet and savory cookies, pastries, and cakes – all lavishly arrayed. You might also go with some salty biscuits and cookies (tuzlular or “salties”) often covered with sesame seeds, black cumin, and poppy seeds.

Baklava Turkish Delights tea time (screen capture from site)

Baklava Turkish Delights tea time (screen capture from site)

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

Bright colors are the key. Reds, greens, blues, and yellows dominate. Modesty is another key. Nothing slit down to here or hemmed up to there or so tight that no imagination is needed. Head scarves is a wide variety of styles colors, and patterns are also common. If you find your normally somber hues (I tend to wear a lot of dark colors or black or grey or brown) replaced with these bright hues, and if your wardrobe at tea time is usually described as a notch away from something that would make even Miley Cyrus blush but now would be welcome in the most modest of locations, you have gone Turkish at tea time.

So, how did you do? Have you gone totally “Totally Turkish” yest? If so, just give in and enjoy it!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Far be it from me to set the rules for preparing tea, a beverage that’s probably consumed by more than a billion people around the world each and every day. But I can’t help finding myself a bit disconcerted at the trend toward shaving seconds – or even minutes – off of how long it takes to prepare it. While that sort of thing seems to fit in with what I know about the coffee drinking experience (which is not much), it doesn’t seem quite right for drinking tea, something that many of us perceive as a slower paced, more leisurely kind of experience.

Yorkshire Red Tea Bags (ETS image)

Yorkshire Red Tea Bags (ETS image)

I’ve written about this very same topic a few times before, most recently in this article. Which questioned the need for gadgetry that is supposedly able to turn out a cup of tea in about a minute. Which is useful if you’re on the retailer’s side of the equation and you want to prepare more tea in a short time. But how does it affect the quality of the tea itself, not to mention what for many is the more low-key experience of drinking tea?

Rather than rehash the topic of one-minute tea let’s move on and tackle the even more fast-paced and thrilling subject of 25-second tea. Yes, that’s right. It seems that the optimum amount of time to steep your tea in teabag form is a mere 25 seconds. That’s according to Martin Isark, a “professional food and drink taster,” who recently undertook to study the issue. Whatever his qualifications for doing so might be, the study was interesting enough to catch the attention of the press in that great tea-drinking part of the world that we know as the United Kingdom.

Over the course of two days Isark sampled 400 cups of tea made with teabags from some of the most well-known British tea firms. The manufacturer’s recommendations for steeping times for those teas ranged from 40 seconds to five minutes.

Though he claims that 25 seconds is an optimum time for tea steeping, Isark is not a fan of this type of tea, which he notes is often made “with tiny particles of broken leaves that have lost the wonderful flavour nuances” that we’re likely to find in other teas. Though he claims to be a fan of pricey first-flush Darjeeling tea, he did allow that of the teas that he surveyed Yorkshire Tea got his thumbs up as the best of the bunch.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Jams and preserves are as much a part of the English-style tea time as the teapots are. And the empty jam jars can be fodder for a number of creative projects. Just the way those tea tins and unwanted teapots and teacups could (see my article here). Save some up and then try your hand at one of the creative uses shown below.

The More Obvious Uses

You don’t have to stretch your imagination too far here. Several uses spring to mind immediately.

  • Candle holders – the possibilities are endless, including filling the jar with hot wax and a wick in the middle.
  • Flower vases – the flowers will have to fit the jar sizes, which can vary quite a bit.
  • Storage jar for non-food items – extra buttons, bits of ribbons, small toys, game pieces, coins, paperclips, rubber bands, and any number of other things.
  • Pencil, pen, and brush holders – some people even go so far as to paint the jars.

More Crafty and Whimsical Uses

Let your creative spirit roam free with ribbons, lace, and even little toy figures attached to the jar lids. Some starter ideas:

  • Salt and Pepper shakers – just a few holes in the lids with a nail and hammer will suffice (pepper needs several, and salt often only needs 2 or 3).
  • Pincushions – people seem to be able to make pincushions out of anything, as I pointed out previously about teacups.
  • Paint jars for your kids – make them even more fun by gluing toy figures to the tops.
  • Holiday gifts and decorations – from pumpkin candleholders to cute snowman jars.

One Final Use

Awhile back, I did my own little experiment in creating a flavored tea (one where the tea leaves have things like spices, flowers, and fruits added in). The vessel used for storing this mixture was a very well-cleaned used jam jar. The flavored tea turned out rather well, and that jam jar kept it fairly fresh. (In case you’re wondering, it was half Scottish Breakfast, half Kenilworth Ceylon, a couple of pinches of coriander, and several cardamom seeds split open and the contents added to the tea. It is wonderful served hot with milk and sugar.)

Try you hand at turning some of those jam jars into something cute, useful, whimsical, or whatever suits your skill and imagination.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The versatility of this smoking method is endless. The salmon is spectacular but only one of many recipes that can be created using this tea smoking method. This is one recipe sure to stay in your repertoire.

Tea Smoked Salmon (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Smoked Salmon (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

1 cup Jasmine rice
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup Lapsang Souchong tea
1 ½ -2 lbs Salmon
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bundle fresh dill

Smoking device: an Asian bamboo steamer over a foil-lined pan was used, but a smoking device can be made from a variety of different kitchen tools. The basics are; a perforated pan(bamboo steamer, pasta strainer) that can sit on top of the pot, a pot or pan at least 4 inches deep roughly the same diameter as the perforated pan. On a side note of using a pan that is perforated up the side of the pan, tightly wrap the sides with foil and secure in place. A lid to fit the top of the perforated pan is needed as well. Also needed is a piece of foil large enough to completely line the inside of the pot or pan being used.

Smoker directions: Completely line the bottom and sides of the pot with foil. Mix together the rice, sugar and tea. Place the mixture in the bottom of the foil lined pan. Place the perforated vessel on top of the pan. Make sure that it fits so the smoke goes into the fish not outside of the pan. Place a bed of dill onto the perforated pan reserving a few sprigs for the top of the fish. Liberally season both the skin side and top side of the fish with salt and pepper. You many not need to use all of the salt and pepper depending on the surface size of the fish. Place the reserved sprigs of dill on top. Cover the perforated pan with the lid. Place the smoking device over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until smoke is visible. Once smoke is visible reduce heat to medium low or low and look for 15-20 minutes or desired doneness.

This method of tea smoking can be used on any meat as well as vegetables. Simply change out the seasoning to fit whatever protein or vegetable being used.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ah, shortbread – beloved of tea time aficionados. And, happily, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some even have nuts, dried fruis, and chocolate added in. Serving up a variety of these shapes and flavors can really enliven your tea time!

My fave shape with a nice cuppa tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

My fave shape with a nice cuppa tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The Bar (“Finger”) Shape

This shape is just a long rectangle. To me it’s the best, probably because it was the first I’d ever had. Or maybe because I can nibble from the end more easily than the other shapes. Shortbread, loaded with butter, is the type of thing to nibble.

  • Walkers Shortbread Fingers – 5.3oz (150g) – Imported from the UK, these are the classic shortbread recipe traditionally baked in a square and then cut into a “fingers” shape. Pure butter shortbread with a perfect, crumbly “melt-in-the-mouth” texture and just the right amount of sweetness. A perfect accompaniment to hot or iced tea and with a dish of ice cream.
  • Border Scottish Shortbread Fingers – 6.7oz (190g) – These light and buttery cookies are sure to melt in your mouth. They’re made from an original recipe, using only the finest ingredients. Share with friends and family or just enjoy some to keep your sweet tooth happy.
  • O’Neill’s Shortbread – Fingers – 5oz (141g) – Imported from the UK and baked from an age-old recipe passed down for generations. They use only the finest and freshest ingredients, making this shortbread a delicious and buttery addition to afternoon tea.

The Round & Swirl Shapes

The rounds are a great shape, too. And a bit more suitable for dunking.

  • Walkers Shortbread Rounds – 5.3oz (150g) – Imported from the UK, these are very traditional, being miniature versions of the larger cakes of shortbread produced in olden days. They have a rich distinctive buttery taste and are baked in the secluded village of Aberlour, Speyside, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands according to a traditional recipe handed down through generations of the Walker family. The perfect accompaniment to tea and ideal with ice cream or desserts.
  • Walkers Shortbread Rounds – 2 Pack – 1.2oz (0.075g) – Those wonderful rounds in convenient take-along packs. Each pack of shortbread biscuits contains 2 delicious, buttery cookies.

The Petticoat Tails Shape

A unique shapes said to resemble the edges of a woman’s petticoat (something us gals don’t wear much anymore). They may have been inspired by Mary Queen of Scots, who returned from France (where she grew up, was married, and then widowed) to Scotland during the 16th century. Her chefs are said to have modified the traditional large, round shortbread cakes into individual servings.

Various Other Shapes

Triangles, shamrocks

  • Walkers Shortbread Triangles – 5.3oz (150g) – Baked in the Scottish Highlands from just four natural ingredients. The triangle shape makes a particularly impressive addition as a garnish on mousse, puddings and ice cream.
  • ONeills Shamrock Shortbread – 2.8oz (80g) – Imported from Ireland, these buttery treats are shaped like delightful shamrocks. The recipe was passed down by generations and contains the simplest, yet finest ingredients, blended and baked to delicious perfection. A good luck gift from Ireland.

Some of Those Flavored Kinds

As if that buttery goodness weren’t enough, some makers now add currants, nuts, and chocolate chips.

  • McVities Fruit Shortcake – 7.05oz (200g) – A delicious crumbly shortbread biscuit packed full of currants. The perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea.
  • Border Chocolate Chip Shortbread – 5.3oz (150g) – A generous helping of sweet chocolate chips are poured into Border’s classic shortbread recipe to bring you this decadent treat.
  • Walker Chocolate Chip Shortbread- 4.4oz (124g) – Bountiful amounts of real chocolate chips and Walkers have never looked back. Chocolate Chip Shortbread brings a certain self-indulgence to teatime which is why this variety has become one of their most popular.
  • Walkers Shortbread Almond – 5.3oz (150g) – A classic shortbread with a delicious almond flavor that comes from the finest almonds and pure almond oil added to the traditional shortbread recipe. A flavor that is uniquely exquisite and that is a perfect accompaniment to your hot cuppa tea.

A word to the wise for the holiday season that will soon be upon us: watch for shortbread cookies in those special holiday shapes to reappear. What’s tea time without a munchable, buttery sweet evergreen tree, bell, star, or Santa?

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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