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Come October, most love to say that these last three months of the year are the best. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the best times for celebrating. What better way to celebrate the upcoming holidays than with chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate? Starting with Halloween, the sweet celebrations begin. As soon as October approaches, stores begin to not only sell Halloween candy but also Christmas decorations and a few sweets. You may say it’s too early but if you live in the UK and are a fan of chocolate, then it is tradition. This is because chocolate boxes and tins go on sale, and they are some of the most anticipated sweets of the holidays.

teatssc1000015120_-00_nestle-quality-street-tin-820-grams-2016Now these are no ordinary chocolates. These beautiful sweets are colorfully wrapped and in random shapes and sizes. Much like a box of standard chocolates, each package will tell you what to expect in each chocolate, except you can pick whichever ones you like!

Quality Street is made by Nestle, identifiable by the purple box or tub. Quality Street was created after a man named Harold Mackintosh inherited his father John’s toffee factory after his death in 1936 and Harold revolutionized Christmas chocolates. In the early days, only the wealthy could originally afford Christmas chocolates since they were made with imported ingredients but with Mackintosh’s plan to use local ingredients, it lowered the prices of his chocolate and made Chhxm_08_c133_-00_cadbury-roses-tub-2016ristmas chocolate affordable to everyone. His invention, Quality Street, is made in the original factory from 1936. In 1988, Nestle purchased the brand and has owned it ever since. In previous holiday seasons, Nestle has released entire single serve chocolate bars devoted to favorite flavors of Quality Street (like honeycomb crunch and even chocolate green triangle). There has even been a giant strawberry! Quality Street was named after a play written by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who was mostly known for writing Peter Pan.

Cadbury Roses are the Cadbury equivalent of Quality Street, launched in 1938 to compete with the main brand of Christmas chocolate. The Roses name apparently comes from “Rose Brothers”. Cadbury Roses have only 10 varieties of chocolates.

teatssc1000020922_-00_cadbury-heroes-11-39oz-323g_1Finally, another hit among chocolate lovers is the Cadbury Heroes. This is a mixture of Cadbury favorites like Dairy Milk, Fudge, Wispa, Dairy Milk Caramel, Twirl, Eclair, and Creme Egg Twisted. The best part of this is that they are all miniatures! These “fun sized” treats come in a range of sizes from small bags, to boxes, to large tubs.

All of these wonderful sweets are delicious and are enjoyed throughout generations. Their popularity is growing throughout the world so it’s no wonder it’s gaining attention here in the States. The tradition of Christmas chocolates have been well-established with British families and now American families can create new traditions with them. Try some today. You will wonder how your holidays ever did without!

-CD

 

In Part I, I showed the role of roses in romance and your teacup. They also play a role in the décor of the teacups themselves. Don’t forget the teapots, sugar bowls, cream pitchers, and other accoutrements for a rosy tea time!

Rose Teapot - 50oz

Rose Teapot - 50oz

Roses have been gracing teawares since the invention of porcelain and bone china. Some designs have become classics and have endured through the ages. Others are more modern. Either way, they spruce up the atmosphere and practically beg for you to throw a tea party!

The vast majority that I have seen are in shades from pale pink to deep red. The designs usually have names like Abigale, Romantic Rose, Botanical Rose, Lydia, Charmed Rose, Cordelia, Festive Rose, and Victorian Rose. The Victorian Rose is especially appropriate in my mind since this was when tea time was “born,” thanks to a hungry Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria and the fashion among the aristocracy in Britain of eating dinner around 7 or 8 pm.

I’m personally attracted to rose designs in blue and purple, not as common but that’s probably the attraction. Right now I only have one blue rose cup and saucer, but the Blue Rose porcelain dinner set is very tempting. That way, whether it’s afternoon tea, high tea, or just plain tea, everything would match. Not a big deal, but certainly novel in our house where the teawares are a mix of styles.

Even if a full set is a bit out of budget range, you can make tea time bloom with a piece here and there. Mugs, teacups and saucers, sugar and creamer sets, or maybe just a regal teapot will be the star of the table. You can always keep that floral beauty to yourself with a tea-for-one set, like the one in the Wild Roses design.

James Sadler Teapots - Rose Cottage

James Sadler Teapots - Rose Cottage

If you are a collector of James Sadler designs, there is a rose cottage teapot you will adore. From the thatched roof, to the rose vines growing on the walls, to the cats, dogs, and duck keeping things cozy, this teapot will charm you and your tea time guests.

If you don’t want the actual flowers, you can still add a touch of rosiness to your tea table with Amsterdam, Grimaldi, and San Remo rose colored teapots. Amsterdam has other rosy pieces, too, including cups and saucers and cream and sugar sets.

Don’t forget the accessories, including a rose-covered dome cozy to keep your tea warm.

Whether you’re steeping up a rosy tea or a regular one, serve it up in a rose-designed teapot or drink it from a rosy teacup. They’re so pretty even the bees get fooled. Enjoy!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Roses remain a favorite way to say “I love you,” both in a romantic setting and in your teacup. In the romantic setting, the color or the roses conveys different meanings, with yellow indicating warmth and happiness, pink conveying grace and elegance, and the dark red indicating love and romance. In the teacup, the flavor and aroma are the keys attributes sending a message to your senses when your loved one passes that cupful to you.

Actually, there are three parts of the rose normally used in teas: petals, buds, and hips (the bulbous part that forms after the petals have dropped). They can vary considerably in strength of flavor. Some are very subtle while others overwhelm. The hips don’t seem to me to add much flavor, but they are full of Vitamin C and can be steeped up in a tisane that is not only healthy but soothing.

Roses can be added to just about every category of tea out there: white, green, oolong, pu-erh, and black. Two major brand versions are from Golden Moon and Taylors of Harrogate. Golden Moon’s Rose Tea blends black loose leaf tea with a sprinkling of rose petals and steeps up to a rich, intoxicating, yet light-tasting tea with a dreamy floral scent, great hot or iced. Taylors of Harrogate has a China Rose Petal tea, a classic made of rose petals and large leaf black tea (Orange Pekoe) that steeps up a soothing liquid perfect for your afternoon tea moment.

The French came up with a tea blend so delightful you may want to dance the Can-Can after the first cupful. It combines teas from India (Assam and Nilgiri), Sri Lanka, Kenya, and China together with Jasmine, lavender, and rose petals to create a tea with complex flavors and aromas, from malty to flowery to saucy and sprightly.

Go caffeine-free with Tutti Fruity, a combination of Hibiscus petals, dried apple pieces, rosehip chips, dried sweet orange peel, calendula petals, raisins, cornflower petals, dried currants, natural flavors, and dried rose petals. Your kids will love it, and so will you, since it’s naturally sweet and therefore doesn’t need sugar and can be served hot, cold, or even as “tea-sicles” straight from your freezer.

I’ve tried several teas and herbal tisanes with either rose petals, rosebuds, or rosehips in them with mixed results. Some were quite appealing. These included Japanese Sencha Kyoto Cherry Tea (my review), which is the traditional Sencha with Montmorency cherry and subtle rose flavoring; Bingo Blueberry Herbal (my review) that is a blend of blueberry, apple, rose petals, and more; and Buckingham Palace Garden Party (my review), a black tea with strong floral (rose, lilac) and a hint of citrus.

More options abound and truly create a bouquet in your teapot and your teacup.  Don’t forget some Cadbury rose-shaped chocolates or some long-stemmed chocolate roses. Enjoy!

Don’t miss Part II delving into the roses in the teacup designs.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There’s a bouquet in your teapot — especially if you are steeping a tea containing, or processed with, flowers. With Spring in the air, the time is right to try one of these fragrant and exotic tea sensations. And the choices are bountiful.

Flowers seem to play a big part in tea in several ways: some teas have flower parts in them, then there are herbals (often called “teas”) made from flowers, and finally some teas have floral aromas and flavors without having any flower parts in them. Let’s start by taking a look at some teas with flower parts in them.

Usually the parts of flowers used in teas are the petals. Sometimes, they are layered with the tea leaves and left for a few hours to infuse their fragrance with the tea. Sometimes, they are dried and mixed in with the tea. Often, though, the flower part is an “essence” or “attar,” like those used in perfumes, and are sprinkled on the dried tea leaves.

Jasmine is a common flower added to teas, mostly green teas. The heady fragrance adds its aesthetic tune to the health benefits in that green tea. Roses and lavender are common, too.

Some Teas with Jasmine:

  • Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea — An unusual and tasty blend of Ceylonese Earl Grey with Jasmine, plus some Assam and Kenyan teas.
  • French Blend — Rich Assam, saucy but sprightly Nilgiri and Ceylon, golden Kenyan, Chinese Jasmine, and rose petals. Provençal lavender makes this a tea that can transport you to Le Quartier Latin en Paris.
  • China Jasmine Green Tea — Green tea from China with essence of Jasmine.
  • Jasmine Dragon Tears Green Tea — Another green tea from China made from tea leaves plucked in the first 3 weeks of a new season when the jasmine bushes are blooming. The most fragrant blossoms are layered between the tea, giving it that distinctly uplifting fragrance.
  • Jasmine #1, also simply known as Jasmine With Flowers Green Tea — Again, green tea processed between layers of jasmine blossoms so the tea leaves absorb that wonderful fragrance.
  • Shanghai Lichee Jasmine Tea — Lichee fruit combines with jasmine to make this Chinese green tea a true delight.
  • Oolong Orange Blossom Estate Tea — Despite the name, this is another Oolong tea with jasmine. A candidate for your next pitcher of iced tea.
  • Taylors of Harrogate Jasmine Blossom Green Tea — Chinese green tea infused with the fragrance from jasmine blooms and then dried and sealed. A cupful with your next order of Chinese take-out would be a perfect combo.

Kyoto Cherry

Some Teas with Roses:

  • French Blend — see description above.
  • Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea — Cherry joins with rose petals and Japanese Sencha green tea to give your tastebuds a thrill.
  • Cinnamon Sibu Green Tea — Green tea with cinnamon and the surprise of roses.
  • Golden Moon Rose Tea — Black tea with rose petals, a combination that results in a rich, floral-scented tea. Light tasting and perfect for a cool pitcher full of pleasure or a hot cup of delight.
  • Oolong Rose Tea — A semi-fermented tea with rose buds.
  • Pu-erh Rose Tea — Strong pu-erh with the taste and fragrance of rose buds.
  • Rose Green Tea — Green tea with rose petals and a surprising fragrance of pineapple.
  • Rose White Tea — More rose buds, this time with white tea.

Some Teas with Lavender:

  • French Blend — see description above.
  • Lavender Butterfly Green Tea — French lavender (Oo la la!) blended with Chinese green tea. Relax and de-stress with this wonderful smelling and tasting tea.
  • Golden Moon  Tippy Earl Grey Tea — Oil of bergamot dances with lavender in this black tea in a soothing rhythm. Enjoy it as part of your wake-up ritual.

Don’t miss Part II, Herbals Made from Flowers.

While you wait for Part II of this three-part series on Floral Teas to hit the streets, head over to A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, and say hello.

You love tea, you love your sweetie, so why not combine the two in a Valentine’s Day tea gift? Okay, all you lovers out there, it’s that time of year when you get to let that special someone really know how you feel. Don’t forget about family, friends, co-workers, classmates, that special teacher, your boss, and that someone special in your neighborhood who has been helpful. We all know someone who needs to hear that they are appreciated. And the choices are plentiful.

Baskets (pre-made and custom)

Even if you’re on a budget, you can say “I love you” with a gift basket, since many are priced below $20. Pre-made baskets contain teas, cocoas, candies, treats, and sometimes teawares (teapots, mugs, etc.). Who says your money doesn’t go far these days? And what a great excuse for a cozy Valentine’s Day tea moment. I can just hear you saying:

  • “Here, dear, sit back while I make you some tea and scones.”
  • Sweets for the sweet. Enjoy while the tea is steeping and I read you these love poems.”
  • “Who needs real roses when we have chocolate ones, each other, and tea?”

You get the idea.

Candy and Treats

Chocolates are very traditional for Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry about the calories. Just be sure to drink some tea with them (green tea goes especially well). Not only is tea great for speeding up your metabolism and burning off those extra calories, it makes chocolate taste even more chocolaty (at least it does to me). Of course, buying good quality chocolate and the best green tea helps. The heart-shaped box also makes chocolate taste better — honest! Of course, rose-shaped chocolates and chocolate-covered pretzels can be real attention-getters. If your true love doesn’t like chocolate, go for another sweet like jelly beans and hard candies. Thank goodness they’re all so affordable. You can spread your good feelings around by giving to others who are special to you.

Mugs

A Valentine tea mug says “You’re mine” year round, especially a mug that’s in red or pink. Add in some candies, a special tea or maybe cocoa, possibly some cookies, and voilà! A gift fit for your special someone all wrapped up in heart-covered plastic with a red bow and one that can’t fail to impress her or him.

Plush Toys

Something else that will last long after the tea has been drunk and the treats have been eaten: a plush toy. Of course, teddy bears are du rigueur (“par for the course,” “standard ammunition for the lovelorn,” etc.) You can be a little offbeat with a plush biker dog (yes, I said “biker dog”) and show your humorous — and a bit wild — side. Or go bananas with a plush monkey. Any of these as part of your gift basket makes the teas, candies, mugs, and treats speak even louder of your love. If your giftees are young in years as well as heart, you’ll surely bring a smile to their faces. Us old fogeys will grin a bit, too.

Whatever you choose, the time is now to order. You don’t want to be empty-handed when that important moment arrives.

After you pick out a Valentine’s gift for your sweetheart, head over to A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, and unwind with a good “cuppa.”

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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