I want to share with you a new tea, Festivi-Tea, created for the “Lights in Bloom” holiday celebration at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Every year Selby Gardens comes alive with brilliant lights, festive displays and a spectacular Christmas tree made of bromeliads. Guests stroll through a magical garden filled with sparkling lights, live holiday music, and children’s activities.
Festivi-Tea will conjure up all your favorite yummy smells and tastes of this time of year. A blend of sencha and bancha green tea with dried orange, cut almonds and cream of caramel. This tea is perfect for any evening, especially a night at Lights in Bloom.
Sencha (‘Sen’ meaning green and ‘cha’ meaning tea or ‘infused tea’) is a style of tea. Harvested leaves are heated in a wok to prevent oxidation. The leaves have a slightly mellower ‘roasted’ flavor and characteristic thin, cylindrical shape.
Bancha, or ‘common’ green tea is harvested from the second flush of leaves in late summer/autumn. The larger leaf gives a very mellow flavor and contains less caffeine.
Then we have the Holiday factor! Citrus peel, for me is synonymous with Christmas. I remember when I was a little girl how thrilled I was to get a bag of Oranges in my Christmas stocking. Oranges were expensive and hard to come by in the heart of Yorkshire. They were such a special treat! The peel of citrus fruit can be bitter and not very appetizing. However, it adds great flavor and health benefits when dried and added to tea.
Almonds are something I try to eat all year round for their healthy heart benefits. Almonds contain monounsaturated fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol. And for me, almonds conjure more Christmas memories. We always had nuts in the shells and it was difficult to eat many as they were so hard to crack open. My sister and I usually lost interest after a short while, but we had such fun and very rosy cheeks from sitting by a roaring fire!
Cream of Caramel is a very tasty ‘concoction’ of sugars and milk, dried and added to enhance this tea. I try to bring you teas with all natural, healthy ingredients, but sometimes exceptions must be made at this is the time of year.
Festivi-Tea is easy to drink with subtle notes of all the ingredients as well as a smooth finish. Best hot, I think, though we have sampled iced Festivi-Tea at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market with wonderful results.
Please join us at Selby Gardens this year for Lights in Bloom starting December 17th (details at www.selby.org) Visit the Local Tea Company Carriage House to see our complete selection of tea and tea accessories.
I hope you enjoy Festivi-Tea as much I have enjoyed sharing my Christmas past with you.
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