Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yunnan or Dian Hong is a regal tea

Yunnan Province in China

Dian Hong, or Yunnan, also known as Yunnan Gold, Pure Gold, Yunnan Red and Broken Yunnan is the subject of today's post.

Yunnan tea is from the birthplace of tea itself - Yunnan Province in China. Yunnan black tea is easily identified by its abundance of soft, golden tips and hints of savory cocoa and black pepper flavours.

Yunnan overall is a very foregiving tea; and in most cases will not taste bitter when over-steeped. Cheaper brands and lesser qualities of Yunnan tea can be bitter and have been known to have a lesser taste. However, Classic Yunnan like Yunnan Red as an example, is a Chinese black tea which is used as a relatively high end gourmet black tea and is sometimes used in various tea blends. The main difference between Yunnan and other black teas is the amount of fine leaf buds, or "golden tips" present in the dried tea. When you have blended or flavoured teas that included Yunnan, they are often called royal or regal teas because of the history and reputation of Yunnan.

We are proud to feature "Sunny Blossom" tea that has Yunnan Tea as a base. Stop by and get a sample size container to taste-test a cup'll soon realize why Yunnan is a regal tea!

Please stop by again real soon! We'll see you then.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rose Petal Confit - Jams, Marmalades and Confit - no Jelly

Rose petal confit?

What is THAT, you are asking?

We thought we would take a moment or two and have some fun with the words “jam”, “jelly” “preserves” and “confit.” Fancy That is selling rose petal confit in our Tea Boutique. We also have other confit including lavender!

Not to be “stuffy”, but when you visit the Tea Boutique and ask for the jelly, we may cringle a little (quietly inside), and point you to the Fireplace Room where we have our jams, preserves and confit on display.

OK….here we go. Grab your rose-biscuit (oh! did we mention that we sell rose biscuits?! – that's for another post, dear!) and “Sunny Passion” tea, sit back, and enjoy the read! (grin).

From Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook:
Jelly is made with fruit juice and sugar.Jam is made with crushed or chopped fruit and sugar.
Preserves are fruits cooked with sugar to keep their shapes.
Conserves are jamlike mixtures of two or more fruits to which nuts or raisins are usually added.
Marmalades are soft jellies with pieces or fruit or peel.
A confiture is a confection, a preserve, or a jam.

And now for the Legal Definitions!
Legal definitions
US FDA definitions
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published standards of identity in 21 CFR 150, and treats jam and preserves as synonymous, but distinguishes jelly from jams and preserves. All of these are cooked and pectin-gelled fruit products, but jellies are based entirely on fruit juice or other liquids, while jams and preserves are gelled fruit that may include the seeds and pulp and interestingly, must contain at least 55% sugar. The US Department of Agriculture offers grading service based on these standards. (Taken from the Grading Manual of Fruits and Jellies” by the US FDA)

European Union directives on 'jam'
In the European Union, the jam directive (Council Directive 79/693/EEC, 24 July 1979) set minimum standards for the amount of "fruit" in jam, but the definition of fruit was expanded to take account of several unusual kinds of jam made in the EU. For this purpose, "fruit" is considered to include fruits that are not usually treated in a culinary sense as fruits, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins; fruits that are not normally made into jams; and vegetables that are sometimes made into jams, such as: rhubarb (the edible part of the stalks), carrots, and sweet potatoes. This definition continues to apply in the new directive, Council Directive 2001/113/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption.

'Extra jam' is subject to somewhat stricter rules that set higher standards for the minimum fruit content (45% instead of 35% as a general rule, but lower for some fruits such as redcurrants and blackcurrants), as well specifying as the use of unconcentrated fruit pulp, and forbidding the mixture of certain fruits and vegetables with others (taken from the Council Directive cited above.).

So with all that said, let’s look closer at “confit” since that is the subject of today!

CONFIT, from the American Heritage Dictionary says: "A condiment made by cooking seasoned fruit or vegetables, usually to a jamlike consistency" "Confit" simply means to preserve or enhance the flavor of a food by packing it a substance. Typically, that substance is fat, sugar or salt. Duck Confit, for instance, is duck that has been cooked in duck fat, which enhances its flavor.

Confit is one of those words that is so mysterious, and wonderful, so gloriously French, that you guess anything with “confit” in the recipe is difficult, or has pound after pound of butter. Many “foodies” know of Duck Confit or Lamb Confit. Those with a sweeter tooth know of the Lemon Confit.

So, with the actual definition meaning “preserved,” we know that “confit” was originally devised to preserve meats and poultry in order to winter-over. Accoutrements began to be simmered as well, giving rise to some of the most wonderful confit such as Lemon, Lavender, Rose petal, and others!. Fruits and vegetables can become confit by packing them in sugar or salt.

Our confit are packaged in sugar to make it a wonderful spread that can be used on toast, biscuit or even a piece of cake. Stop by soon to browse our Tea Boutique and look for the Jams and Confit! They’re in the “Fireplace Room”.

Starting in May 2011, our Tea Boutique hours will be Friday 11AM – 3 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 PM. There is parking in front of, and in the back of the Tea Boutique. Thanks for stopping by! We look forward to seeing you again very soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pai Mu Tan is a White Tea often called White Peony

White Peony Tea from the Fujian province of China, plucked from a special varietal tea bush called chaicha, is also known as Pai Mu Tan or Bai Mudan, or Peh bo Tan which is the actual pronunciation in Chinese. This translates literally to White Peony. This tea is a sweet, mild tea made from unopened tea buds, as well as the two newest leaves to sprout. The freshly harvested leaf is allowed to wither dry in the sun. The natural oxidation which takes place during this withering gives White Peony beautiful, aromatic flavors. The nose is warm, floral and rich like fruit blossoms. The liquor is golden and bright. What you get when you drink this tea is a clean, floral-fruit flavor with a hint of what you would think how a peony would taste. As you reach for a white tea, or any tea-blend with white or green, consider this Pai Mu Tan as a reward for the experience, and a reward for your palate. It also offers anti-oxidants so there are other rewards in enjoying a cup as well! Fancy That is proud to offer “Sunny Passion” which is a Green and White tea blend. Best described as a noble blend of Pai Mu Tan & Yunnan, rosebuds, pineapple, mango cubes & a delicate touch of pear, this tea will delight you as an iced tea in the summer, or that special cup of tea after a long day. Reward yourself and have a cup of “Sunny Passion”. Now available at Fancy That: a Tea Boutique. Don't forget about our Open House on May 28th from 1pm - 4pm. You can sample tea and tea bread while browsing through the Tea Boutique. There is parking in front and behind the Tea Boutique. 'Hope to see you then! (The tea and tea bread will be offered buffet style as this is not a seated event.) Please do stop by again very soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

High Tea Slide Show

Whether you call it "High Tea" or "Afternoon Tea" (they are quite different! We'll discuss those differences in a later post!), here is a wonderful link to a slide show on High Tea Etiquette. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Trivia Game

There is always a little room for fun! We are delighted to add to our items that we will be selling, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Trivia Game. Did you enjoy the six hour version of the movie? Have you read the book more than three times? Do you know the name of Bennet's housekeeper? Do you know if "Sense and Sensibility" came out before "Pride and Prejudice"? Why not stop by in May, pick up a copy of the Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Trivia Game and have a "Jane Austen Party" including hours of fun and trivia?! Why NOT? :) Join us for our Open House May 28th from 1 - 4 PM and sample tea and tea bread. Browse the Tea Boutique and enjoy your afternoon with a cup (or two!) of tea. (The tea and tea bread will be offered buffet-style as this is not a seated event.) Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Trivia Game! Soon available at Fancy That's Tea Boutique. Stop by again very soon!