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Recently my family and I had to pack up and move to a new house. While I was sorting through my things, I came across some of my tea sets. I noticed that I had several tea-for-one sets. My fiance saw them and immediately wanted to try them out. Then I remembered that National Hot Tea Month was coming up again so now is a good time to delve into tea-for-one sets!

teapchn1000029112_-00_rose-porcelain-tea-for-oneIf you are unfamiliar with these unique tea sets, many of them are usually made of ceramic, porcelain, or bone china. Each set comes with a small teapot to brew a teabag or two in, depending on how strong you like your tea, a cup, and a saucer. Stack the teapot on top of the cup and set it all on the saucer and voila! These nifty sets look great on any counter, cupboard, or table, and they fit nearly anywhere.

English Tea Store carries our very own brand of tea-for-one sets, much like our own regular teapots. These are made of ceramic and carry up to 16 ounces of delicious tea along with a 10 ounce cup. They are touched with a beautiful glossy finish and come in a range of lively colors, from blue to lime green. You may end up teadt1p1000031882_-00_shabby-rose-porcelain-tea-for-onestarting a collection!

But if you want to explore the more exotic versions, we carry an excellent variety. There is the beautiful Shabby Rose Turquoise Porcelain set, which is a pleasing look for the eyes, or the Rose Porcelain set. This one features a beautiful gold trim* and a more traditional teapot look and very charming. One of our best selling sets is the Irish Claddagh, beautifully decorated with creamy colors and Celtic knotwork and patterns. A Claddagh is embellished in the stoneware, symbolizing love, friendship, and loyalty.

These tea sets are very ideal to give to someone who fancies a quick cup of tea but doesn’t want to pull out the entire tea set. I had received my tea-for-one sets as gifts and they are the best ever. These are sure to wow and you will enjoy using your tea set.

-CD

 

*For tea sets with gold trim, these are not recommended for microwave use.

 

(c) Food Network

(c) Food Network

Winter has finally arrived and that means colder days and longer nights. While many dread winter, some enjoy it because of some of the activities one can do. Some of the best wintertime activities include bundling up in a blanket, listening to a fire in the fireplace, and drinking hot beverages. For most of us, tea and hot chocolate are the most common hot beverages but another popular hot drink during the winter is taken in the form of a hot apple drink: mulled apple cider!

Mulled apple cider is a warm and cheerful fruit drink that has been enjoyed by millions for generations. Mulled drinks go as far back as the 18th century. At first, a red hot poker was originally used to add sugar and cloves to alcoholic drinks like beer or cider. Nowadays, mulled drinks can be made non-alcoholic with just plain apple cider (apple juice that is technically “raw”).

Allspice, anise (usually star anise), cloves, citrus peels, and cinnamon are the most common ingredients used as mulling spices to help bring out the warm flavor of the apple cider. You can add other spices like peppercorns or nutmeg, it’s totally up to you! But the spices are usually ground together and steeped using cheesecloth, muslin, or empty teabags. Some people make little baggies of these mulling spices and give them away as gifts or simply use them in cakes or other baked goods.

Mulled cider is usually popular during the fall and wintertime. Once the holiday season passes, people still enjoy the drink all the way until at least spring or summer. The smell of the spices always signify the start of colder weather and of better times. Enjoy a warm cup along with a few biscuits or cake and curl up with a good book!

-CD

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Christmas time is a favorite for many, meaning yummy food, delicious drinks, and of course, gifts! I find that tea can be a delicious drink and a gift rolled into one because it’s warm, cozy, and it’s something that can btolsll_-swscho_-00_swiss-hot-chocolatee given or received. I have given and received tea for Christmas and it’s always been quickly opened up and brewed so we could sample the never-before-tasted tea. This holiday season, English Tea Store has some new holiday flavors that will keep you from ripping these open before giving them away (or saving them until brewing for Christmas)!

Swiss Hot Chocolate Black Tea This is a surprising blend of Ceylon tea grown in Sri Lanka mixed with cocoa beans and white chamomile petals for a nice floral lift. You can’t even tell this is a tea! Add a splash of milk for a creamy effect.

Vienna Egg Nog For those who are fans of egg nog, this is a real treat! This is another Sri Lankan grown Ceylon tea but with delightful hints of ginger, cinnamon, and caramel. Try with or without milk!tolsll_eggnog_-00_vienna-egg-nog

Peppermint Matcha Green Tea – Our delicate matcha powder but with a refreshing peppermint flavor. This matcha powder can be drank in its simple form brewed with hot water or you can make Peppermint Matcha Green Tea Lattes oreven  in desserts such as cheesecake. Be creative!

Whether you give these teas as a gift or buy them for yourself, be sure to share with a friend or a loved one. After all, it is the season of giving and one of the best parts of tea is being able to share it with someone.

Have a Merry Christmas!

-CD

 

mince-pies

Nearly everyone loves pie, so when you hear about having pie during the holidays, it turns some heads. While beloved pies like apple and pumpkin are served during the holidays, mince pies are the true holiday crowd pleaser. Mince pies have been around since the 1600s and believe it or not, they were originally filled with actual meat! Love them or hate them, it’s not Christmas to many without a mince pie! In the US, not too many people have heard of mince pies or even know that they are a major part of the holidays but in the UK, it’s not Christmas without them. The mince (or mincemeat) is made of dried fruits, peels, bits of apple, along with distilled spirits like brandy, and spices.

In the UK, mince pies come in bite size and usually in packs of 6, 9 or 12. Sometimes the pies are decorated beautifully in pastry, with shapes like stars or holly cut into them. In the US, some markets sell what are dubbed as “mini” pies, because mincemeat pies are sold as a whole entire pie to cut and share. Suet, which is a type of animal fat, is also commonly used in many made-from-scratch mincemeat recipes.

When it comes to getting a mince pie fix, some simply go to the grocery store to pick up their mince pies. Others like to make their own by using either homemade or jarred mincemeat, and using either store bought pastry or pastry made from scratch. To make mini pies, some use muffin tins and for a large pie, others use a whole pie plate. Add just a dusting of powdered sugar and you’ve got yourself a nice holiday treat!

However, when it comes to popularity, mince pies are not too common in the United States. You won’t find them as easily as you would in the UK. It’s not a common part of the holiday tradition here as it is on the other side of the pond but you can always keep it going or even start it if you have not had them before!

-CD

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Christmas is a magical time for everyone but for the children, it’s especially magical. School is out, snow is falling, and presents are unwrapped under a beautifully decorated tree with loved ones. The most important memories are developed during childhood, so it is key to make the holidays special for them. Tradition is taught early on and it sticks with children for years to come. They learn of old family traditions, like bringing out an old family heirloom to hang on the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the house, especially hanging Christmas stockings.teatssc1000021391_-00_mars-and-friends-medium-selection-box-181g

teatssc1000015115_-00_cadbury-selection-pack-medium-81g_1Now, about those stockings: they’re usually left empty right up until Christmas, when they’re filled to the brim with goodies and toys! For children, sweets are a big deal, so when shopping for their stockings this holiday season, why not try a candy tube like Maltesers, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Pink Smarties, or Cadbury Buttons? They’re narrow enough to fit in the stocking and no one will ever see them! Candy tubes are popular during the holidays in the UK and nearly every confection company makes them!

Another popular candy creation in the UK are selection boxes. They range from small to large and they come with all sorts of chocolate. Milkybar and Galaxy also make variously sized selection boxes if you or your loved one fancies these more. Each box comes with a preselected mix of candy bars loved by fans. The hardest part is which one to eat first!

Now I know candy is not entirely good for children, but it’s the holidays and they only come once a year! Let them enjoy themselves before they go back to school and homework!

-CD

 

At my house on Thanksgiving, there is always dessert: the standard pumpkin pie and an apple pie. Apple pies are at our Thanksgiving dessert menu because some of my family members are not too keen on pumpkin pie, and that is understandable. The idea of pumpkins in a pie do not sound too appealing for some

74627-0-1459502036You may have heard the old saying, “As American as apple pie”. It turns out that apple pies were actually in the UK before they were in the US. They were only brought to America from Britain where they became very popular and associated with American culture. Many Americans enjoy apple pie a la mode, which is vanilla ice cream on the side while the pie is still warm but it’s an entirely different thing in the UK. Go there and they enjoy their apple pie with a bit of custard, cream, or some cheddar cheese!

The types of apples are also very different. In the US, the most popular type of apple used is Granny Smith, a bright green, very tart apple that is used in nearly anything culinary that requires apples. The same goes for the British Bramley apple, the American counterpart to the Granny Smith. As a born and raised American who has never been to the other side of the Atlantic, I have never tasted a Bramley, but it is on my bucket list. I wish I could describe the taste of a 36452ba2-648c-4c67-90f7-3a1fc36cf6f4Bramley (but someday!). I do know that they are green with just a blush of red and very stout in their appearance. It’s the most popular cooking apple in the UK.

Both kinds of pies are prepared using a flaky pastry crust (or shortcrust) along with the apples and some sugar. The spices make all the difference. In the American apple pie, cinnamon is most commonly used, sometimes a bit of nutmeg or other choice spices. The British apple pie will sometimes use little to no spices. Sometimes mixed spice (more on that later) or a little cinnamon. It depends on the palate of the consumer.

American apple pies are usually plain apple but are sometimes made with cherries or made half and half (apple-cherry) to please the apple pie vs. cherry pie lovers. British apple pies take a walk on the wild side by adding dried fruits like sultanas (a type of raisin), figs, or even cheese!

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays but apple pies are enjoyed year round. They can be enjoyed with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon or in the evening with a cool glass of milk!

-CD

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving is here and you probably have a lot on your plate already. Who is coming to dinner? Should I bring out the good china? What kind of snacks should I serve? Fear not, here are just a few ideas on how to spruce up your Thanksgiving!

Snacks: Before the big meal of turkey and stuffing, everyone is always looking for something to nibble on. If you have guests, it’s sometimes best to have a small spread for everyone to munch on,teatssc1000025103_-00_jacobs-mini-twiglets-caddy-7-05oz-200g_1 just to tide them over until dinner. That’s when you break out the cheese and crackers. Most people love cheese and it can go very fast, especially with some Jacob’s Biscuits for cheese. The best cheeses to try these savory biscuits with would be brie, English cheddar, or even your own special cheese dip. These go with just about anything and they’re well worth it! Another savory snack that is a hit among snackers are the Twiglets. These crunchy little sticks are Marmite flavored, so some may love them, and some may not but they do cause some conversation at the snack table.

teatssc1000015134_-00_mcvities-biscuits-victoria-carton-10-58oz-300g_1Cookies: If your guests fancy cookies as much as crackers, then cookie varieties are a must! McVitie’s makes a variety box called Family Circle which features some of their best cookies (like digestives, bourbon creams, and jammy cookies) all in one box so there’s something for everyone! Or more in the mood for chocolate? Try the Victoria selection box. There’s lots of chocolatey cookies in this beautiful box but be careful, this could be gone very quickly!

Tea: If you plan to serve tea at your Thanksgiving feast, it may be a bit hard sometimes as you may not know what type of tea to serve since there are guests who have different preferences. Luckily, there are English Tea Store Samplers, which provide everyone a type and flavor for everyone. Not sure which sampler? There’s the Tea for Any Occasion. Perfect for parties, dinners, or desserts, it’s literally perfect for any time! This loose leaf sampler includes Pumpkin Spice, Godiva Roche, English Breakfast 2, and along with 5 other teas.

What are some of your favorite things to serve at a Thanksgiving dinner? Any ideas of your own? Let us know!

-CD

 

 

There aren’t that many opportunities in the year to have a large meal and just go all out. For Americans, there is Thanksgiving, which is held on the last Thursday of November each year. Relatives from far and wide typically come to visit so they can enjoy the annual dinner with the ones they love. There is also a parade filled with giant balloons of cartoon characters many of us know and love, followed by a football game. Once the dinner concludes, dessert of pumpkin or apple pie is served.

The UK is an entirely different story, however. Each Sunday (yes, every Sunday), many Britons make a dinner consisting of meat (usually  beef, pork, chicken, or lamb) that is roasted, potatoes, which are also usually roasted, vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, and who can forget, the gravy?

The history of a Sunday Roast (or Sunday Dinner) started very simply: many people did not eat meat on Fridays since they were following their religion so it was usually eaten after church when families would whip up a nice Sunday dinner. This has been a tradition since around the 1700s and is a very hearty one, still going strong today. People always make sure they’re home for Sunday dinner!

If you have never made a Sunday Roast, what goes in one? Of course, the standard roast but it’s your choice of what kind of roast. Fancy beef or chicken? Roast it! And the most popular vegetables used to help make up the Sunday Roast range from carrots, to broccoli, to even parsnips. Potatoes are sometimes boiled but are most commonly roasted to be perfectly crispy. Then there’s the stuffing. Now, this isn’t the Thanksgiving stuffing you’re used to. This is stuffing rolled into balls but sometimes it is also made into a dish like traditional American stuffing. There’s also the Yorkshire puddings, which are baked in a special pan (or in a muffin pan) with hot oil until they just pop up! Don’t forget the gravy!

Just describing this makes me hungry! Now I can see why everyone goes home for Sunday Dinner! Do you have your own Sunday Dinner traditions or ones from Home? Do you plan to start new ones?

Enjoy with a nice hot brew. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

-CD

 

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Trick or Treat! While children and teens dress up and go out for Halloween festivities, the adults are busy helping the youngsters prepare for one of the biggest nights of the year (next to Christmas). What kind of treat do the ones not trick-or-treating deserve? Maybe a warm cup of tea along with some scones or toast with jam or a nice sandwich with tangy mustard? You’ll be surprised to find all sorts of treats for the tea time fan.

While our shop sells rfcrm_cc_3pk_clotted_cream_and_jamsegular sized jams and jellies, these tiny jars of fruity goodness are just too cute to pass up! We are proud suppliers of Bonne Maman, a French jam company specializing in scrumptious flavors like fig, cherry, and strawberry and jarring them up with their trademark gingham lids. These jams are popular regular sized, so when they’re tiny, they’re even more irresistible. The smaller size makes it a lot easier to sample flavors you may not have tasted before or just simply spice things up by mixing up your favorite flavors. Try these jams on some bread, crumpets, or an English muffin! If you enjoy Bonne Maman’s jam, we carry larger sizes!teafcsc1000036761_-00_maille-honey-dijon-mustard-1-4oz

For those who are not a fan of sweet or just like a little savory (or tangy) before jam, there is a treat for you, too! Just like Bonne Maman, Maille Mustards come in a tiny jar, so you can treat yourself with a little dijon or whole grain and have a lot of flavor. Try these on a sandwich, with a fresh soft pretzel, or even in recipes! Just a few teaspoons or tablespoons and your dish will have a lovely zing to it! Maille Mustards are a well trusted brand, as they have been making mustards, vinegars, and other products for over 250 years.

Now, call these fun size, if you like! These may be tiny but you will get big taste and excellent quality from both Maille and Bonne Maman. And these treat sized jars are perfect year round, as you can get them for birthday parties (who wants a tea time themed birthday party? I sure do!), weddings, or baby showers. These are available for multiple jar purchase. Simply specify how many you need and we will do the best we can to work with you so you will be able to charm your guests!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

-CD

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