Tag Archives: tea party pantry

Making jam for the tea party pantry

Homemade apricot-oolong compote.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Homemade apricot-oolong compote. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Now that summer is here and those delicious summer fruits are in season, it’s time to stock up on homemade jam for the tea party pantry!  San Jose’s history as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” is no longer visible in the orchards that once covered the Santa Clara Valley, but plenty of local people still have fruit trees in their front and back yards, full of ripe fruit this time of year.  Wild plums and berries can also be found along the banks of rivers, creeks and streams in the Santa Cruz mountains and local foothills, if you know where to look.  For those that don’t have edible landscaping at home, and even for those that do, the local farmers’ markets are a wonderful source of fresh, ripe fruit for tea-table jams and preserves.  What better treat to serve your tea guests, give as gifts, or enjoy by yourself than homemade jam?  It’s not as hard as it seems.  Plus, once you’ve washed the fruit, you can freeze it in freezer bags, and make jam or pie with it later in the year (or when the weather has cooled down a bit).

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All the Single Ladies (and Gentlemen) – enjoy Singles’ Awareness Day with tea!

Lonely Victorian love letter.  Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lonely Victorian love letter. Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s afternoon on Valentine’s Day, and many San Jose residents don’t have any plans!  San Jose-area singles aren’t necessarily in for an evening of depression and loneliness; there are plenty of things to do, that don’t require a partner, and getting together at home with some other single friends – or even just staying in by yourself – for High Tea and television or a movie this evening, can be a perfect way to spend the holiday.  Here are some ideas for things to do this afternoon and evening:

  1. Have tea at a local tea shop (advance reservations required).

A Fairy Tale Tea (through Feb. 28th), for $29.95 per person at Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell: 1875 S. Bascom Avenue #165, Campbell, CA 95008. (408) 371-7377

Tea with Love (through Feb. 28th), for $28.95 per person at Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Los Altos: 167 Main St., Los Altos, CA 94022.  (650) 209-5010.

Be my Valentine Tea (Feb. 14th only), for $35 per person at Satori Tea Bar – 37 San Pedro St., San Jose.

A Victorian Valentine Tea Party (Feb. 14th at 3 p.m.), for $30 per adult/$20 per child, at The English Rose Tea Room — 163 West Neal Street, Pleasanton California 94566, (925) 462-6233.
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Review: Sticky Fingers Red Raspberry Scone mix

Sticky Fingers Red Raspberry Scone mix.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Sticky Fingers Red Raspberry Scone mix. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Scone mixes are a good item to keep in your tea party pantry for those times when you don’t have 30 minutes to make a batch of scones from scratch, but you still need something to eat with tea, and you want something a little more special than toast.  Enter the packaged scone mixes!  With the company tag line “homemade taste for modern lives,” Sticky Fingers was the first brand of scone mix that I saw in San Jose-area stores, and it has expanded to include several flavors that are available in local Safeway, Target, Nob Hill, and Cost Plus World Market stores, as well as Lisa’s Tea Treasures in Campbell and at Santana Row.  The scone mix is packaged in a foil-lined paper sack, and includes enough dry ingredients for 12 medium-sized scones; the only ingredient that the user needs to add is water, but you can enrich the scones by adding milk, cream, or a combination of those and water when you mix up the scones.

The company website says that all their mixes contain no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, trans-fats or saturated fats.  Ingredients for the Red Raspberry mix include: unbleached enriched flours (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavins, folic acid), sugar, canola oil (with ascorbic acid and rosemary added to preserve freshness), buttermilk powder, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), freeze dried raspberries, natural flavor, and salt.

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Review of Tazo Organic Chai Spiced Black Tea Latte Concentrate

Tazo Organic Chai concentrate. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Chai is becoming more and more popular in the United States, and liquid chai concentrates make it very easy to enjoy an instant cup of chai.  Tazo Organic Chai Spiced Black Tea Latte Concentrate is described as “a rich blend of flavorful teas, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom & vanilla” and “an enticing source of wonder, inspiration & optimism.”  It is packaged in 32 oz. sealed, aseptic cartons and does not need refrigeration until after it is opened.  Tazo is made in the USA from imported teas, is certified organic by the QAI, and Kosher.

The carton reads: “Chai first enchanted tea drinkers in the Himalayas more than 2,000 years ago, a time when all things were organic.  To make Tazo Organic Chai, our tea shamans combine full-flavored teas with aromatic, natural spices.  Enjoyable hot or iced, this drink is especially delightful when consumed with pure thoughts” and “Like tea itself, good fortune is best when shared with others.  To see how Tazo gives back to communities around the world, visit us at http://www.tazo.com/csr.”

Preparation instructions (in French and English) on the carton read: “A splendid cup of chai—1. Simply shake carton and mix equal parts of Chai concentrate withmilk (or any milk substitute).  2. Add heat. Tazo tea lattes are easily prepared using your microwave, stove top, or open fire pit.  To Prepare Cold: Mix with equal parts milk (or any milk substitute) and pour over ice.”

The ingredients are “an infusion of (water, [organic] black tea, [organic] black pepper, [organic] cardamom, [organic] cinnamon, [organic] ginger root, [organic] cloves, natural flavors and [organic] star anise), [organic] cane sugar, [organic] honey, [organic] ginger juice, natural flavors, vanilla and citric acid.”  There are 70 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate in a 4 fl. oz. serving (undiluted with milk).

Tazo Chai has a nicely balanced flavor and is not overly sweet.  The black tea flavor is in the background, and the warm spices are the predominant flavor, but none stands out and can really be identified apart from the other spices.  There is a bit of heat sensation from the ginger, pepper, cinnamon and/or cloves when the chai is consumed cold, which would probably be more pronounced if the chai was hot.  It is a tasty addition to a tea party pantry, and a good choice to have on hand for chai lovers.

Tazo
P.O. Box 125
Portland, OR 97207
1-800-299-9445

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.

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For more information: “Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“How to make Thai tea”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“How to make ‘instant’ chai”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”

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Filed under Product Reviews, Tea, Vendors and Shops