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You love your mother. She does so much for you and sometimes it feels like we don’t do enough for them. Busy schedules usually don’t allow for it but why not spend Mother’s Day having tea with your mom?

If your mother is a huge tea fan and loves to drink her favorite type or brand of tea, she could never have too much! We always carry a wide variety of loose leaf and tea bags along with all of our popular teas, ranging from our very own brand to the popular British brands, along with many more.

However, if your mother is talking about trying new things, why not trying an English Tea Store Tea of the Month subscription? While you can pay month to month and choose loose leaf and tea bags, you can also pick a prepaid annual subscription along with a 20% automatic discount! This way, our teas of the month will simply arrive at your mother’s door! Click here for more information.

To enjoy with her tea, pick some of Mom’s favorite cookies and cakes or get her something she has never tried before! Some of our newest cookies include two of Cadbury’s most popular chocolate bars in a biscuit: Cadbury Crunchie and Cadbury Wispa. The Crunchie biscuits have a honeycomb crunch while Wispa biscuits have a bubbly, chocolatey middle. If she prefers something simple, then you can’t go wrong on Walker’s shortbread, pure buttery rounds of sweet crumbly goodness. Perfect with nearly everything from tea to coffee.

For more Mother’s Day gift ideas, check out our wonderful selection of gifts.

 

-CD

Please note: When purchasing chocolate products in the spring or summer time, please be aware of weather conditions as chocolate may melt during shipment. For chocolate to arrive in top condition, please select “Next Day Air” at checkout.

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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

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

 

 

 

 

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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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Well over here we are still on Easter holidays and the Easter eggs are half price!  The kids are still away from school and bored so having bought some little Easter eggs cheap I thought we could make some Easter Nests which, because it is after Easter, we will call Spring treats.

It is a macaroon mix and filled with chocolate spread and small egg.  The mixture makes about 16 nests.

You will need:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 6 oz coconut
  • 2 oz ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of chocolate spread and three little eggs for each nest
  • Oven 160 C  325 F Gs Mark 3
IMG_5917

(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Whisk the egg whites until stiff then add the lemon/lime juice and a little sugar and keep whisking.  Gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until the mixture is shiny.  Fold in the coconut, almonds and vanilla.  Spoon the mixture into paper cases and make a small depression in each one.

Bake for 12 minute until set.  Cool on a wire rack and when slightly cool add a teaspoon of chocolate spread and three eggs to each.  The children had one still hot from the oven with a glass of milk but they go equally well with tea.

– JAB

The final Christmas blog of the year will reflect on Christmas traditions, comparing them side to side with Britain and the United States.

You may have heard of writing letters to Santa and popping them in the mail here in the US, and the United Kingdom does it as well, only they burn their letters by tossing them in the fireplace! You may think that’s a little absurd but it’s common! The British say the letters go up in the smoke and fly up to Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus) up in the North Pole much faster.

Christmas Crackers at dinner are some of the best things about Christmas! Ever since I learned about them, I have added them to my holiday traditions. 82324_1000x1000They’re a little round tube wrapped up in Christmas paper and it looks like a big piece of candy (or large pack of edible crackers which I thought they were til I did my research). Inside is a few toys, a paper crown, and a little (yet corny) joke! In order to crack them open, two people must cross their arms with their right hand on their own cracker, left hand on their neighbor’s cracker and pull! A CRACK sound comes out, which is where the term Christmas Cracker comes from. Speaking of the paper crowns, one must wear the crown at dinner. It is believed to have originated from the Twelfth Night Celebrations, in which a king or queen was appointed to look over the proceedings.

I previously wrote about stocking stuffers but I forgot about where they go! In the US, we hang our stockings on the fireplace, usually when the house gets teatssc10000214117_-00_mr-kipling-mince-pies-6pk_1decorated for the holidays and Santa will usually fill them with treats and sweets if the children have been good. British children traditionally hang their stockings at the end of their beds! Father Christmas will then fill them while they are sleeping (that is, if they have been good).

Finally, American children always leave out cookies and milk (and maybe a few carrots) for Santa Claus for when he stops by and makes his present run. Store bought cookies like Oreos, Chips Ahoy, and other popular brands fly off the shelves or some make it themselves. For the British, that is unheard of. Instead, they leave out mince pies and a bit of sherry, since he is an adult after all!

From all of us at the English Tea Store, have a Merry Christmas! Tell us how your holidays were and how you celebrate!

© Pilar Echeverria | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Pilar Echeverria | Dreamstime Stock Photos

PG MonkeyBoxing Day is actually a holiday in the Commonwealth nations, including the UK and Canada. It is considered a bank holiday, so many buildings like the banks and post offices are closed that day. It is also said to give people an extra day to spend with family and friends who they were unable to be with on Christmas Eve or Day and to recover from the holiday festivities. The origins of Boxing Day are mixed. Some say it was a Christmas box given to servants by a household for working during the year, others say it was created by servants who had to work on the Christmas holiday. The British use the holiday to kick back and relax from all the Christmas festivities, especially with all the hard work of spending so much time getting ready. When I was a child, Christmas was way more fun when I didn’t have to help set up or help clean up, but it IS more for the children in my family.

In Canada, Boxing Day is more of a shopping day, often compared to the US’ Black Friday in November. Retailers open back up and post sales, but there is also a rise in gift returns for the people who did not like what they received. The sales are mostly to get rid of the stuff from what they didn’t sell from the holiday season. I always find the best deals after the holidays, sad to say!

Talking about shopping and relaxing is making me want to go have a nice cup of peppermint tea and take a nap. I shall sign off to go celebrate the holidays with my family but I will see you all in the New Year! It’s been a hectic December and I do hope you have a lovely holiday. Post your pictures and tell us your holiday traditions to our Facebook page or on here in the comments! Happy Holidays from us to you!

~CD

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