Our kitchens are sparkling. No, we’re not bragging about cleanliness. They’re sparkling with wine. One of our New York natives is taking Champagne sorbet recipes and giving them a happy tweak. She’s taking out the water and adding Executive Director Lisa Kunizaki’s wonderful No. 14 tea. The hibiscus and rose petals add a delicate color, and the apple pieces contribute a floral note.
July is National Ice Cream Month, but we’re happy to be swayed to sorbet.
We think No. 104’s blend of white tea, rose petals and chrysanthemum blossoms would be a great addition to any wine, floral or summer fruit sorbet. We’re getting ready to release it, so you’ll have a chance to find out soon.
If you try any of Chambre de Sucre’s teas in recipes, please send us a snapshot. In fact, we’d love to see photos of you and yours enjoying our sugars and teas – how, where and whenever you do it.
H’mmm . . . Maybe we could persuade Lisa to hold the occasional contest.
For icy inspiration, open a copy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Jeni’s shop could make anybody want to move to Ohio. We’re New Yorkers, so we pay a premium for cross-country pints. The book has beautiful sorbets, including baked apple, cherry lambic, and Riesling-poached peach. Jeni uses tea in some of her ice creams, which you know we appreciate.
We have extra reason to like Jeni. Some of her recipes feature our good friend Mandy Aftel’s chef’s essences. In fact, Mandy sells a Jeni’s Ice Cream set. As of this year, you can buy some of her essences at Williams-Sonoma.
We heard about Mandy before we met her, and we always heard from award-winning chefs and bartenders, so we knew her food-first. Only when we met her did we learn that she made perfumes. Just like her culinary essences, her perfumes are all nature. If you love scent (and who doesn’t), treat yourself to samples – or go for unique indulgence and buy solid perfume in an antique case.
Our sugar made it into the kitchen, too. A friend made chocolate bark – no nuts, no fruit, just dark Valrhona chocolate, some sprinkled with Amber Sugar and some with Rainbow.
We thought we’d like the rainbow more, but amber on chocolate has monochrome elegance. The sugar adds texture, and the crunchy bursts of sweetness complement the creamy bitter chocolate in an unexpected way.
Providing perfect tea means buying exactly with care, from tea to kettle to presentation. Lisa is the best shopper. (No, you may not borrow her. We need her.)
She brought home Breville’s variable temperature kettle, a tidy item with five preset tea temperatures (for green, white, Oolong, herbal and black teas), a 20-minute warmer, a transparent water-level indicator and a sturdy stainless steel base. There’s a removable scale filter (a true asset in some regions) and a safety feature that keeps the filter from boiling dry (a boon for the busy; you know how the phone rings just as you put the kettle on).
She rewound time with the Tirol Tea for One. Just looking at it makes us break into childlike grins. Fill its belly with tea, and we’re even happier. The Tirol dolly has a pot and cup for one – but who wants to share? We do let other people play with the pot, but it has to stay in the office – Our pot!
While our inner children delight in the Tirol Tea for One, our inner adults appreciate the elegant glass
Therm-O-Terra thermos, which has a built-in strainer. It’s almost sculptural, especially when filled with tea.
We’re advocates of shopping in advance – some of us, because we’ve had delivery services fail us; Lisa, because she takes to adorn everything with precision and care.
One of us is a photo junkie, so Lisa’s lead on a Canon 70-200 lens thermos is a happy trail. It’s one of our photographer-friend’s favorite lenses, and thermoses are always welcome by people who can lose themselves for hours in photo walks. Fill it with Lisa’s Tea No. 3, and you have a triple delight: lens, flask, and black tea with peaches and vanilla. No. 3’s name is Summer Child – making it especially apt for our August-born colleague – but it’s an excellent all-season, all-occasion tea.
We’ve had Summer Child steaming and iced, in air-conditioned offices and outdoor summer swelter. Where fine tea is concerned, there must be taste-tests, and many of them. One is not enough.
In fact, it may be time to step away from the computer and turn on the Breville kettle. Do join us.
Bastille Day’s coming. We’re going to visit our friends at Murray’s Cheese and pick up several somethings French. A little Bucheron, a little Chevre d’Argental, a lot of Mimolette, some Brillat Savarin and Murray’s cave-aged Selles-sur-Cher . . . That’s a good start. Fruit and bread from the farmers’ market, a bottle of Dom Perignon . . . Vive la France!
If you’re creative, you can celebrate your way around the world without leaving home. We’ll drink to that.
We’re taking iced tea (or coffee) and Pyramids to concerts in the park. (Yes, they remind us of the Louvre, and of the Metropolitan Museum’s Egyptian wing. Bliss by association.) No matter how many we bring, there are never leftover packets. The drivers in our circles take some to put in glove compartments; other people pack them in purses, briefcases and knapsacks. The sugar dissolves easily, and our most jaded friends agree that you can taste the quality.