Today I want to talk about one of my passions: TEA!
First of all, a brief historical background: the story of tea begins in China. According to a legend, in 2737 BC, Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, was sitting under a tree while his servant boiled water. Some leaves from the tree fell into the water and the emperor, who was a herbalist, decided to try the infusion. We don’t know whether the story is true or not.
But drinking tea started in China many centuries before than in the west and during the 8th century a writer wrote the first book about tea, the Ch’a Ching, or Tea Classic. Soon after this, tea was introduced to Japan, by some Japanese Buddhist monks who had travelled to China to study. Tea drinking has become a vital part of Japanese culture, and we can see it in the Tea Ceremony, which is one of the most important traditions in Japan.
After this, tea was probably brought to Europe by some of these individuals, who may have brought back samples of tea to their native country after travelling to China and Japan. Since 1600, the British East India Company had a monopoly on importing goods from outside Europe, and it is likely that sailors on these ships brought some tea home as gifts.
The first reference to tea in the UK was an advert written in a London newspaper in September 1658. Catherine of Braganza
announced that ‘China Drink, called by the Chinese Tcha, by other Nations Tay alias Tee’ was on sale at a coffee house in Sweeting’s Rents in the City. Nowadays, tea is considered a quintessentially British drink, and some other countries are following its example.
As you now know, tea is one of my favourite drinks. I usually drink black tea, especially in the morning or in the afternoon. However, I started drinking green tea after being to Japan. I used to put a lot of sugar in my tea, but recently, also for health reasons, I prefer using honey, milk or brown sugar. One of my favourite tea brands is Twinings.
It is very famous everywhere in the world, and in London there is a shop of the brand with many different flavours I didn’t know of. I particularly love the vanilla chai latte! Have you ever tried it? It’s lovely!
Sometimes I like to eat cake, muffins or cookies with tea. However, because of the dangers of PALM OIL
and other preservatives, I try to bake them at home instead of buying them. As you can see from the photo, last week I made raspberries and chocolate chip muffins! 😀
Lately, together with my friends, I have tried different places in my city (Torino, in the north of Italy) where you can drink tea. In Italian they are called “torterie” (from the word “torta” which means “cake”) because they usually serve cake and cookies together with tea.
Some of them are such wonderful places that I would like to move in! My favourites are:
- Berlicabarbis (check it out: http://www.berlicabarbis.com/)
- Convitto Cafè (http://www.convittocafe.it/). They make wonderful cakes and cookies, and they have a wide variety of teas from all over the world.
Another place that I REALLY REALLY love is a herbalist’s shop called Melissa Erboristeria (http://www.melissatorino.com/). You can buy any kind of teas and infusions (and the cup you see in my cover photo!). The place is wonderful, the girls working there are really nice, and you can also buy organic make-up and cosmetics products. What more do you want?!?
What about you? Do you drink tea? What are your favourite ones?