Tea Time

While having dinner at a charming little outdoor bistro during our recent vacation in France, we began talking with Jerry and Mary, a very nice (English speaking!) couple sitting at the next table.  They lived in Ireland but had a vacation home there in Cannes, and were full of fantastic information about the city.  They told us about an open-air farmers market we couldn’t miss (more on that next time), their favorite restaurants (including the one we were sitting in), and their favorite place for afternoon tea.  As it turns out, there was an adorable little pedestrian street lined on both sides with tea shops, and was apparently, the place to be around 4 or 5 o’clock . 

“Go down the Rue d’Antibes and turn left at the Furla store,” Mary told me (we women are always giving landmarks…men say things like “go north”).  “Take another quick left and it is right there on Rue Hoche.”  Well, that afternoon we followed her directions, and sure enough, we bumped right into our Irish friends, sitting at one of the outdoor tables enjoying their tea. 

I definitely love my java, but I like a good cup of tea as much as the next person.  And I was certainly in for a treat!  Inside each shop, the walls are lined with dozens and dozens of canisters holding all sorts of gourmet tea leaves.  Once seated, we were presented with a six page menu of tea selections.  It was a little overwhelming, and my husband decided he would just have espresso.  I, on the other hand, am a firm believer of “when in Rome” (or in this case, Cannes), so I poured over the tiny print and decided upon an oolong tea called “Etoile des Neiges” (“snowflakes”). The “garcon” scurried away with our order, then returned with a whole pot of tea, a little cup, and some very interesting looking sugar on a little ceramic tray.  It turned out to be a great choice; it was citrusy but smooth, and had a nice sweetness to it  Since there was so much, I asked for an empty cup to share some with my husband.  Although he made it very clear he was “not a tea kinda guy”–  even he admitted it was excellent.   

When I got home, I was eager to recreate this tea for a little “Etoile des Neiges” of my own.  Since I consult as a recipe developer to a tea company, I had plenty of tea at my disposal to start experimenting.  After a few different combinations, I was able to closely approximate what I drank that afternoon in Cannes.  Now if I could only find some of that cool sugar….

Etoile des Neiges Tea

Makes 2 cups

1 tea bag orange spice herbal tea

1 tea bag vanilla chai tea

2 cups hot water

Place the tea bags into 2 cups of hot (but not boiling) water and allow to steep for 5-7 minutes.

If desired, add sugar to sweeten and enjoy hot.

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