Tea time has gone nuts around here. The usual tea time treats such as scones with clotted cream and raspberry preserves have been replaced, at least temporarily, with nuts! Maybe it’s that whiff of Spring in the air. Maybe it’s those cute little stuffed bunnies next to the pink and white mug. Or maybe that Scottish Breakfast tea has just decided for a change of pace. Whatever the reason, tea time will never be the same (until we run out of nuts, that is).
The nuts in question are from that Victoriana nut lady previously mentioned on this blog. The mix is called “Sweet Hickory” and consists of almonds, cashews, and pecans that have been steamed (not roasted) and then coated with sugar and smoky hickory flavoring. Very reminiscent of those nut vendors I encountered in Germany years ago. The coating was a great balance, not too sweet and not too smoky. And the nut flavors were coming through loud and clear. The question was which tea to serve with them. Not all teas are sufficiently robust in their flavor profile nor as able to “play nice” with other tea flavors as some teas are. After trying some oolongs, green teas, Darjeelings, and even some black teas, the clear winner was one that we have come to regard as a staple in our tea pantry: Scottish Breakfast.
For us, the best way to serve this tea is what many refer to as “British style.” We steep it strong for at least 5 minutes (we have been known to let it steep longer) and add milk and sweetener (sugar is the tradition here, but we switched years ago due to health concerns since we drink so much tea every day). One of the great things about this tea is how the flavors of both the Assam and Keemun black teas blend their unique flavor profiles in the cup. That made us sure this tea would also coordinate well with the flavors in this nut mix. One mouthful and we were sure we’d made a good choice. Two mouthfuls had us oohing and aahing with sheer delight. By the end of the nuts (no, we didn’t eat the whole 8-ounce bagful) and the pot of tea, we were completely content and ready to tackle whatever challenges the rest of the day might hold.
Mix it up at your next tea time with some nuts, fruits, veggies, or other non-traditional tea time treats. You’ll have an experience to remember for sure, good or bad. Enjoy!
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