While Bastille Day isn’t widely celebrated in San Jose, the local French restaurants and cafes are enjoying their own festivities, featuring French music and special menus. Why not join in the fun with some tea and French food this evening? You can go out, or put something together at home.
It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy; stop by a bakery – even one inside your favorite grocery store – and pick up some baguettes for hearty tea sandwiches, croissants to eat with jam and cream, and a frilly dessert like macarons, petit fours, or chocolate eclairs. Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square, Cocola Bakery at Santana Row, and Bijan Bakery & Cafe are only a few places in San Jose that sell Parisian macarons, croissants, and other traditional French pastries to add to your table. Many local French bakeries also serve as coffee shops and are open late into the evening. You can even go to Lisa’s Tea Treasures at the Pruneyard for their special French tea plate, if you want to extend the festivities through the weekend.
While the French are better known for their love of coffee, tea has had a devoted following in France since the 18th century; it is said that Madame Pompadour introduced the custom of adding milk to a cup of black tea! Try pairing Keemun – known as “the Burgundy of tea” – or Darjeeling – known as “the Champagne of tea” – with your menu. Make a champagne tea sparkler, with a fresh summer berry and a teaspoon of sugar crushed in the bottom of a glass, topped with iced tea and champagne. Try jasmine green tea or scented white tea in your sparkler recipe, or mix it with chilled lemon sparkling water for an alcohol-free champagne substitute. Don’t want the caffeine to keep you awake? Use some fresh herbs, like mint or lemon balm, to make an herbal tea or tisane.
Of course, it goes without saying that the tea served at a French party should be good-quality loose leaf tea. There are several places in the San Jose area where you can get nice loose-leaf tea. The French are nothing if not detail-oriented and the smallest detail of quality does not escape their notice! Have a nice, yet simple tablecloth and napkins on the table – real linen if you have it – and a bunch of garden flowers in a vase, and you’ll be well on your way to having an elegant French-style tea!
Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
“Best French Restaurants in San Jose”
“Cocola Bakery, a quaint French sidewalk cafe offering treats, espresso and more”
“Gluten-free afternoon tea tips”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Is it too warm to sleep? Try soothing orange-blossom mint tisane”
“Tea history: what type of tea did American founders drink?”
“Tea with the Founders: an 18th century style tea menu”
“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”
“How to give a Tour De France tea”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“How to use edible flowers for tisanes”
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”