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Less than one year after celebrating her 90th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II has marked another milestone! On February 6, 2017, The Queen celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee, symbolizing a remarkable 65 years on the British throne. No British monarch has ever reached a Sapphire Jubilee, making Her Majesty the first one. In 2015, she surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who had reigned for 63 years and 7 months.
Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II when her father King George VI passed away after years of battling lung cancer, while she was away in Kenya. She was only 25-years-old at the time, still in the early years of her marriage to Prince Philip and a mother to two young children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The national anthem was changed from God Save the King to God Save the Queen, many singing the national anthem with pride and affection for their Queen.
The Queen has celebrated several Jubilee anniversaries during her reign. In 1977, the Queen celebrated 25 years on the throne with her Silver Jubilee. 2002 marked her 50th year of her reign, and finally her Diamond Jubilee celebrated her 60th year. All of these Jubilees were celebrated with great While the Queen has requested for the celebration of her Sapphire Jubilee to be low-key, it is still a time to celebrate.
You can celebrate Her Majesty’s milestone in your own way. Try some English Tea Store English Breakfast Number 2 blend. If you want to try it just like the Queen, drink it like how she does! Milk with no sugar! If you would like to be patriotic to Her Majesty, our English Favorites Sampler is a lovely variety of 7 English style teas that can help bring out your true British spirit! Enjoy with some Walkers Shortbread and decorate accordingly. May I suggest a 50 pound Note Tea Towel?
Her Majesty is the most beloved in all the Commonwealth Realms. Can you imagine what it would be like if she celebrated her 70th year on the throne? Now THAT would be a record!
Valentine’s Day is well known for celebrating love between two people. I feel Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers, but for friends and family, as well. After all, these are people you love and cherish. Why not show your love and appreciation for them? Try our selection of Valentine’s Day gifts that are sure to brighten up everyone you love!
If you have a tea loving friend or family member, while tea is a good gift, but why not an accessory or an essential? By essential, try a tea kettle or a teapot. One can never have too many of those? If one ever breaks, you can always have extra! As always, our English Tea Store teapots come in many colors and you can choose from 2 cup or 6 cup teapot!
Perhaps the person you love is from the other side of the Pond? Wouldn’t you like to give them a taste of Home? We’ve got our selection of British sweets and chocolate to start off with. Some of our most popular candies include the world famous melt-in-your-mouth Cadbury Dairy Milk and the gooey but heavenly sweet Walkers Toffee. Let your love show their patriotism with their favorite items featuring the Union Jack. Give them a travel mug to sip their tea from or let the world know where they’re from with they’re shopping bag. Or surprise your Across the Pond Honey with a flag of Home! Great Britain, Scotland, and plenty more! Hang it in the kitchen or living room, it will bring a smile!
You can always put a surprise package together but if you’re strapped for time, try our gift baskets. They’re easy, convenient, and best of all, there’s just about one for everyone! If you know someone who is a fan of mint, we have a mint tea time basket featuring chamomile tea, or someone who is just getting into tea, there is the English Tea Store basket, and then the Deluxe Afternoon Tea for the full English tea experience!
There’s just about something for everyone. Take a look around our site and check out all of our categories!
Happy Valentine’s Day!!
Burns Night is an annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns (January 25, 1759-July 21, 1796). Burns Night takes place on the poet’s birthday when many Scottish people celebrate the life of Robert Burns by holding a scrumptious dinner known as Burns Supper. How it came to be was back in 1801 when his friends came together to mark the fifth anniversary of the great Bard’s death. There was a lovely meal, speeches, and fond memories were shared of their dear friend. It was then decided that there should be a feast held in honor of Robert Burns every year since then.
Who was Robert Burns? For those of us who are unfamiliar with the Scottish poet, he was well known for many of his acclaimed works, like My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose, Ae Fond Kiss, and of course, Auld Lang Syne. That’s right, that song we all sing at New Year’s was written by Burns!
If you would like to join in on the Burns Night celebrations, it’s very simple and every bit enjoyable. Many go to poetry readings and dance, but it’s never Burns Night without the traditional Burns Supper. Supper is the traditional Scottish haggis, served with neeps and tatties, or turnips and potatoes, mashed up to accompany the haggis. Haggis is considered to be Scotland’s national dish and it was the main dish during the first Burns Supper. Haggis is a savory dumpling which is made with offal, or animal entrails and cooked in a sheep’s stomach. Unfortunately, it’s ruled as a no-no food here in the US* and has been banned since 1971. You can get modified versions of it here in the States but many say it’s just not the same.
For dessert, it’s clootie dumpling pudding along with some Cranachan. Clootie Dumpling pudding is a delicious spicy pudding, named for the cloth it’s boiled in, or “cloot” in Scots. Cranachan is another traditional Scottish dessert made with oats, whisky, honey, and raspberries to help conclude the night.
Finally, the perfect end to the night would be with some whisky and music from the bagpipes! We can see why the Scots celebrate Burns Night every year. Poetry, food, and music. You can’t help but smile and join in!
*As of this writing, January 2017
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!
If 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 starting 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.
*For tea sets with gold trim, these are not recommended for microwave use.
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!
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!
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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
You 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 Bramley (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!
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!
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 regular 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!
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!