Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Breakfast

This morning when I woke up, in addition to my daily cup of coffee I decided it was tea time. I had recently been fortunate enough to find my absolute favorite tea, Lapsang Souchong, by chance and of course snatched it up. I have a deep reverent love for anything that smells smokey, like a wonderful fire without actually having a fire, and this tea is the epitome of that.
 My favorite candle scent is firewood, specifically Henri Bendels' and will seek them out in any season. Next to peonies and lavender it may be my favorite smell ever. Lapsang Souchong is just that scent too, the smokey firewood-y smell in a cup of tea. The story behind the tea is that in the Qing Dynasty, the last dynasty in China, the passage of armies would delay the drying of the tea leaves. In order to dry the leaves faster to satisfy demand, tea producers would dry the leaves over fires made from pine, resulting in a lovely, woody smell to the black tea.

My South American Grandmother would have tea time every afternoon and it was such a special part of my childhood, lazy afternoons spent with my Grandparents. Tea time was generations coming together, reflecting on what has been accomplished in the day, chitchatting over silly topics that are so important to 8 year old's but with complete seriousness on my Mamam's part. And I'm not sure why, but I was just floored when I visited my family in Santiago when I was in high school, and was invited to tea time by my Grandmother's sister, Tia Ana Maria. All of a sudden it wasn't just a quirky little tradition of my Grandmothers' but something that was part of my family history, a daily ritual that generations of women in my family had partaken in going back to who knows when.

So this morning I take down my beautiful little teapot and one cup and saucer. I set in the Lapsang Souchong in the pot, and heat the water to a simmer on my kettle. Then I take out from the freezer one of my little biscotti and let it defrost as the tea steeps. And when the whole ritual is complete and ready to enjoy I place it all on a tray, on the little table by my couch, open the window and watch the beautiful morning while slowly sipping my tea.

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