Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two for my cup of tea

I'm convinced that I've found the finest possible teapot [display] and my favorite jasmine tea [display].

On the other hand, I still hesitate concerning the ideal cup. My choice has been narrowed down to two quite different models. The white porcelain bowl on the right (a gift from my daughter) is a sacred chalice that seems to add a spiritual dimension (whatever that might mean) to the simple act of drinking a cup of tea. Whenever I drink tea from this delicate bowl (like a pyramid poised upside-down on its tip), I have a funny feeling that I should also be praying, meditating or listening to monastic chants emerging from a temple.

A more down-to-earth solution, when I'm working in front of my computer screen, is one of the delightful glazed stoneware cups I bought down in Moustiers. I've always agreed with the opinion of an aged Payne neighbor in my childhood Waterview, who amused my mother (unaccustomed to the expression of such refined sentiments) by saying: "I always feel the tea tastes so much nicer in a fine cup." The elegant forms and beautiful hues of the Provençal pottery certainly add something to the commonplace experience of consuming tea. But it's primarily a simple matter that I would designate as drinking comfort.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Teapots in my life

Here's an assortment of teapots that I've had for ages:

My favorite is the glazed stoneware object on the right, created by the potter Maurice Crignon. The little metal teapot with red hearts came down to my daughter as a memento of her aunt Catherine Vincent, and Emmanuelle then gave it to me. It remains my daughter's favorite teapot whenever she visits Gamone, because she can make herself a single cup of tea for breakfast, knowing that I prefer coffee. Manufactured in what used to be known as Yugoslavia, this lovely little object is unfortunately so light and round-shaped that it has a tendency to roll over if you touch it abruptly… which is not reassuring behavior for a teapot. And the thin metal radiates heat rather than keeping it in the brew.

Here are my two high-tech cast-iron made-in-China teapots:

They incorporate the excellent idea of a built-in tea strainer, whereas my older teapots require the use of a small spherical tea-container that is not very user-friendly. The big green teapot on the left is a family-size device, whereas the lovely little beige teapot (which I've just purchased, through the Internet) is perfect for me on my own, and particularly esthetic.

If you happened to read yesterday's blog post entitled Internet shopping [display], you'll understand immediately how I've succeeded in obtaining top-quality leaves of Chinese jasmine tea.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Honey tree at Gamone

One of the linden trees at Gamone blooms about a fortnight later than the others, no doubt because it's a different variety.

Flowers started to appear abundantly a few days ago.

Yesterday, I noticed that a swarm of bees had discovered the tree.

They probably come from hives that a local beekeeper installed, a year or so ago, on the other side of the hill in front of Gamone. As you might guess from reading my recent blog post entitled Basic beverages [display], I've always been so fond of fine tea and coffee that I rarely get around to brewing tisanes, which means that I don't call upon the huge potential supply of flowers from my linden trees. So, I'm happy that the bees take advantage of these flowers.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Starting to blush and ramble

Up until recently, I was starting to imagine that my Blush Rambler bush, on the pergola, was simply a vigorously-branching late-flowering small white rose. That, in any case, was my judgment after its first flowering, one year ago. Not so long ago, in my blog post of 23 May 2011 entitled Pergola roses [display], I did not mention the Blush Rambler, because it was the only one of the six varieties of old roses on my pergola that had not started to bloom abundantly. Well, things have certainly changed by now. I've finally discovered that the charming blush of this rose is due to the presence of pastel pink petals.

There are even small dark pink spots on many of the white leaves, as if the flower can't quite decide whether it wishes to remain white or rather start to blush.

As for its rambling, I've discovered that branches and blooms of the Blush Rambler have now spread into (I was going to say "invaded") every corner of the upper region (or "roof") of the pergola.

This is not at all a problem. On the contrary, only the red Chevy Chase is still blooming, so an observer has the impression that all the bushes and foliage are Blush Rambler. This latest photo, which I took a few hours ago, indicates well what I'm trying to say.

In another corner of my garden, there's an impressive bed of mint.

Chinese tea flavored with mint leaves is delicious. The tea I most appreciate, though (and by far), is perfumed with jasmine. Yesterday, when I was buying coffee beans in Valence, I also purchased a packet of their Chung Hao leaves. Once reserved for the Imperial Court, Chung Hao is reputed to be one of the finest reasonably-priced jasmine teas produced today in China. I happen to be drinking this fine tea now, at the same time that I'm blogging, and it's truly superb.