Chambre de Sucre has a multicultural, multinational crew, and we live in multicultural, multinational places. (We’re all New Yorkers, but Lisa spends stretches in Hawai'i and Japan, Kathy divides her time between Paris and Hawai'i and Seánan can often be found in England.)
We see things from many perspectives. Take our views on tea. Green tea, white tea, black tea, honeybush, tisanes . . . The Korean tea ceremony, the Japanese tea ceremony, the full-fat English tea service, playful American spins on British teas . . . There’s beauty in every shade, cup and culture – and we wouldn’t miss any of it.
For all of our Manhattan sophistication and our international delights, we still get a great big childlike kick out of Fourth of July celebrations.
The USA is younger than the company that makes our sugars. The fight for freedom, the political struggles and human risks, the passionate debates – all of it is very close.
Whatever brings the stories closer, whether it’s reading the letters of John and Abigail Adams, watching 1776 – or reading David McCullough’s 1776 – having a picnic under the fireworks, or enjoying the freedom to gather with friends and family, it’s a day, a story and a history worth celebrating.
There’s nothing wrong with barbecue. Again, we’re open-minded: KC style, Texas style, Korean style, whatever you’re dishing, if the sauce is homemade and the company is fine, then we’ll happily join in.
Naturally, our contribution to the party is infused with tea and adorned with sugar – although, this time, the tea and sugar are coming separately to the celebration.
The Union Square farmers’ market has blueberries and strawberries galore. We’re taking advantage of that, and using the berries in a (relatively) healthful spin on a trifle. We can’t bring anything too British on the Fourth of July. It simply isn’t done. (We’ll have high tea next week, to compensate. Our executive director, Lisa Kunizaki, will blend and pour.) There will be no pastries or soaking in our dessert; we’re layering strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream – but we’re infusing the cream with tea.
This is the laziest bit of cooking in our repertoire – and a good thing, too, in the sticky summer heat.
The night before you’re going to make dessert – or the morning of the day, if you’re composing dessert in the evening – open a pint of heavy cream. Stir in eight teaspoons of loose tea. Use a bit more if it’s a light and subtle tea; a bit less, if it’s strong and dark. Pinch the container closed. (We tape it, because we don’t like flavors sneaking in through the gap. If we’re feeling especially lazy, we use a clothespin.) Give it a little shake. Don’t go crazy. It’s not yet time to whip.
Put the container in the refrigerator. Close the door. Go to sleep, the office or the cinema. Do whatever pleases you.
Seven or eight hours later, pour the cream through a sieve into a bowl. Now, it’s time to whip.
When berries are this ripe, you won’t need much sugar in the cream.
We’re using Earl Grey with lavender. The bergamot complements the berries, and the lavender brings a floral component to the dish. It’s elegant, without being complex.
Don’t forget the sugar.
We’re making Granny Twitchell’s Secret Chocolate Cupcakes. If you count the icing – which we do – these cupcakes have chocolate four times over. Granny Twitchell’s recipe isn’t all that secret. Here’s our insider trick: Just before we pack the cupcakes, we decorate each with a small scattering of Chambre de Sucre stars. They’re as happy as fireworks. We wish we could say they last longer, but most of our friends believe in eating dessert first. (We have smart friends.)
Love comes in every shape, size and
color. We’re happy to tell you that our hearts are back in stock – yellow,
Our spectrum was narrow for a while. All
or our true colors are shining through again.
Lisa’s been crooning happily over her latest blend of tea. Don’t feel that you’re being left out in the cold. Even those of us in the office haven’t been allowed to try the newest combination. The collection is growing. When we put it online, it’s going to be a garden of tea-leafy delights.
We’re ready to reveal the name of Tea No. 104. Evening Engagement is a beautiful blend of Bai Mu Dan (Chinese white tea), rose petals and chrysanthemums.
If that sounds romantic, it should. The number commemorates the day Lisa’s fiancé proposed to her. Lisa describes Evening Engagement as “delicate and romantic, even whimsical.” The tea turns pale pink as it steeps. There’s no added coloring. The hue comes from the rosebuds, sharing their pretty blush.
We appreciate good coincidences, and there’s a double coincidence here.
Lisa numbered her tea after an event. In Chicago, bartender Lynn House, of Blackbird (a mixologist who’s earned our affection, as well as respect), has been taking“cello” far from the “limon”.
With Lynn’s cellos, the numbers represent work. Her latest features lemon balm – fresh from her garden – lemon oil, fresh citrus, and organic Rare Tea Cellar teas. Yes, there’s tea in it –and do you know what the number is? 104.
We had no idea Lynn was working on a tea-infused 104 – and Lynn can’t have known about Lisa’s pale floral blend.
Two women releasing exquisite elixirs, each involving tea, each bearing the same number. We’ll drink to that.
We promise, we’ll release 104 soon. Lisa has promised not to make us wait until next January (the anniversary of the proposal.
In the meanwhile, if you’re in Chicago, stop by Blackbird, try the new cello, and give Lynn our love and a great big tip – and then tell us about the new cello, the unconnected-save-by-wonder cousin to Chambre de Sucre’s blushing tea.
Before we go put our cream in the fridge (Yes, it’s early, but we feel in need of a berries-and-cream-rehearsal.), let us wish those who celebrate it a happy Fourth of July. Wherever you are, we wish you happiness, health, sweetness, and the liberty to love, laugh, learn, and enjoy the riches of a full and wonderful life.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very safe and happy 4th of July holiday!