By A.C. Cargill

The last day of 2009 is approaching — time to throw an end-of-year tea time bash! While champagne bottle corks will be popping across the nation and the world, hubby and I will be enjoying the “champagne of teas”: Darjeeling.

One deep inhalation of the steam rising from the teapot’s spout can transport you to the hills of the Darjeeling Province in India. Even if you’ve never been there, you’ll be able to envision it in your mind after looking at some photos online and getting to know some people from that area of the globe. And since the sense of smell is supposed to be the most effective at evoking memories, pairing in your mind the aroma of Darjeeling with those images will bring them forth with every potful. Having that potful on New Year’s Eve will also bring out memories of the year past.

Time for a moment to reflect back. How did your year start? Did you have a list of goals? Were those goals met? For hubby and me, it’s been an eventful year and full of surprises, some pleasant and some challenging. I’ve gained much more knowledge about tea than expected, and I’m sure hubby never imagined that he’d be assisting me with tea tastings and serving as my photo assistant. (“Move the teacup handle a little this way. I need a little more light over there, too much shadow.”) He endures it all with good humor, including having the kitchen counter covered with cups of tea, brewed so I can take one photo.

As for New Year’s Eve tea time, since man does not live on tea alone, a New Year’s Eve feast is just the thing. Besides, there’s nothing like starting out the new year with a total “pig out.” And Darjeeling is one of those “go with” teas that seems to go with a lot of different foods, like these:

  • Cheeses such as brie, cheddar, and edam
  • Meat dishes like curries, buffalo wings, hamburgers, lamb, pork, and turkey
  • Vegetables/fruits such as avocado, eggplant, and lemon
  • Herbs/spices like basil, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
  • Sweets such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and vanilla
  • Desserts like baklava; carrot cake; cheesecake; ones with apples, apricots, raspberries, strawberries; fruit compotes; fruit tarts; pecan pies; pumpkin pies

Plenty for you to choose from for your feast. With a teapot full of Darjeeling, all steaming and aromatic, and a table top replete with an array of tasty dishes, you can ring out the old year and toast in the new. As the minutes tick on by, remember the days gone by and plan for the days to come, then fill a teacup and raise it with your true love to toast in those days.

Happy Resolutions!

Don’t forget to check out A.C.’s blog!

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