Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fortnum and Mason Teas...

Taking tea is an everyday ritual here in The Humble Bungalow.
It might be a restorative mug sipped while doing domestic chores or it might be served in an elegant cup and saucer and savored with a magazine or a good book. Often I sit and look out the window at the garden beyond and take s few deep breaths and ponder.

Emma Bridgewater's tea tray

Good tea is essential.
Testing and seeking out blends and flavours that please your palate is worth the effort.

On our trip to Vancouver I found two such teas which I think are delicious and I am happy to share with you.

Making great tea is simple.
You must boil the kettle to a full rolling boil
put some of the boiling water in your tea pot to warm it and let it sit for a few minutes
Pour out that water then add your tea
if it is loose tea leaves you'll need
one teaspoon for each cup brewed and "one extra for the pot."

Let it steep at least 5 minutes
then using a tea strainer pour into your cup
drink plain 
add milk
a squeeze of lemon
and possibly a bit of sugar
it's a matter of personal taste.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the moments
taking tea is a ritual worth cultivating.

It is of of life's simple luxuries.

Like linen tea towels...
they are the towels of choice here in The Humble Bungalow
many of mine are soft and worn with regular use
I have trouble parting with them when they do get holes from years of wear.

Irish linen is wonderful
My family hails from Ireland
they fled when the potato famine struck and emigrated to the US and found their way to Canada
and settled on the west coast.

I love potatoes and can eat them every day served any way.
If I could eat nothing else for the rest of my days I would be blissfully happy 
passionate even if potatoes were on my plate 3 times a day.

One of my favourite Hostess gifts are a pair of beeswax candles wrapped in an Irish linen tea towel.

Dani Mop Philosopher has been sewing tea towels to give as gifts this Christmas
she's been busy making Scotch marmalade too.

I love to receive home made gifts
they mean so much more.

What are your most coveted Hostess gifts?
To give or to receive?

~ ~ ~


  1. Do you ever go to Murchies? I love that place.

    Since I live in the wine country, I usually bring a nice bottle of wine as a hostess gift. Kind of unoriginal, I know. Your tea towels are much more interesting and long lasting and candles are always a good idea.

    I have an award for you on my blog, if you're interested.
    xo, A

    1. I have gone to Murchies serious TEA LOVE!
      I just read your blog post...
      thank you for the award, I'll work on it !

    2. Oh good...love to learn more about you.
      We went to Murchies last time we were in Victoria. I love the wide selection of teas and tea cups and all things tea!
      I think I ended up buying the same tea they serve at The Empress. Bill and I had a lovely afternoon tea there - a favorite memory from the island.

  2. I've brought flavored olive oil to a dinner or wine. I've also given scented French milled soaps. Wrapping in a lovely tea towel is a wonderful idea.

    Do you ever use a tea ball in making tea? Does leaving the tea loose give a more intense flavor? I've never made it the way you describe.

    1. I have used a tea ball and also unbleached tea bags for loose tea.
      I like loose tea as you can make it to your own taste, and yes you have the ability to brew a strong pot.
      Try making tea this way and see if you like the taste.

  3. Does the caffeine in the tea bother you if you drink it in the afternoon? If it's a more intimate party, I usually bring a very good olive oil, or balsamic vinegar as a hostess gift. And it is one of those gifts that I also like to receive, as it's always useful and wanted (if you're a cook at all.) To something large and catered, like a Holiday party, I usually bring a scented candle. I'm still a Rigaud (original green) around the holidays.
    I also never saw a potato I didn't like.

    1. I limit my tea to 2 cups and no later than 4 o'clock or it's a night of staring at the ceiling and tossing and turning in bed!

  4. Hostess thank so much for mentioning me!
    Your towels are excellent, so cheerful.
    Tea towel + beeswax candle, so perfect. I love the smell of those candles. Thanks so much for the idea!
    I also love potatoes, we have them almost every night for dinner. It's the Irish in us, so true!

  5. I love tea and brew a pot every morning. I have never tried this brand though, it sounds lovely.

  6. I have never forgotten a very sad (and true) story about the making of a pot of tea.
    An old lady was being assessed by a social worker, to see whether she was capable of staying in her own home. The social worker judged not, saying that the old lady's mind was failing. The reason for this judgement? The social worker had watched the old lady make a pot of tea, and had seen her pour some water into the teapot and then pour it away before putting in the tea and some more hot water!

  7. We make our tea every morning and afternoon using that time-tested technique. But our actual tea is far less lovely. Our everyday tea is PG Tips. We need that English/Irish Breakfast kick in the pants in the morning!

    I bought my husband a Fortnum and Mason gift basket one year for his birthday and they've sent me a catalog. Such yummy-looking things! I should get him some fancy tea for his Christmas stocking. (^^)

    1. I like Typhoo tea if I am using tea bags, but I have tried and do like PG Tips.

  8. Ah,I enjoy my Dong ding Oolong (a brand of tea from Taiwan)when after a day's retail therapy I have afternoon tea at F&M delicious,always seems to be lots of Americans enjoying their teas.

    A great gift is one of their tea caddies filled with tea that your hostess favours.

    At home I use Yorkshire Gold tea bags.

    Interesting post Hostess. Ida

  9. I am not handy enough to make gifts, but I love your idea of tea towels and candles. I have recently discovered dandelion leaf tea for the afternoons. It might be too bitter for some tastes, but I love it and the list of health benefits is phenomenal.

  10. I love gifting friends with Sloane Tea Company teas. Leslie I would gift you with, Persian Palace, as it has divine rose notes, as does your garden.
    All of Sloane Teas are wonderful, and I so prefer them over Mariage Freres. I'm enjoying a cup of Heavenly Cream, as I write this.
    All Sloane teas are exquisite, and they are a Canadian company too!