By Cheri Scolari
Since then, I love to take a few minutes out of my busy day for a cup of hot tea in the afternoon. It’s even more enjoyable to invite a few friends to an afternoon tea. A tea time held between 2:00pm and 5:00pm is considered a “low” tea. Scones and other pastries, as well as delicate finger sandwiches, are normally served. “High tea” is actually an early supper between 5:00pm and 8:00pm and is served at a high dinner table (hence the name). In addition to the sweets and sandwiches, meat pies and cheeses are often added. Whichever tea time you choose, be sure to treat yourself to a high quality tea that is prepared well. Use loose tea leaves in a tea pot with fresh, boiling water. When you re-boil water or let it stand for a long time, the water loses oxygen and does not extract the full flavor from the tea leaves. Brew your tea for no more than 3-5 minutes. If you leave the tea leaves in the water much longer the tea will taste bitter, as tannins are released.
|Harrods Tea Room|
Whatever tea tickles your fancy, you may want to sweeten it up with a little honey. I have recently discovered Aiva, a multi-floral raw honey from the mountains of Armenia. The bees gather honey from wild herbs and flowers in the pure mountain air at elevations of 5300 feet. Agave nectar from Mexico is another alternative to sugar. It is very low on the glycemic index and it only takes a small amount to sweeten your tea. Spice blended and flavored teas are also a very appealing option. Blue Lotus Chai is one of my favorite afternoon teas. The finest Indian black tea and organic spices are combined to create a traditional Masala Chai that you mix with hot water and milk. It is so spicy and satisfying! SerendipiTea is a Fair Trade company that creates organic flavored tea combinations such as Buccaneer, an African rooibos tea with coconut, chocolate and vanilla.
Cheri the Cheesemonger!