This is a story about a tea.
Last Spring, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy at the Università degli Studi di Firenze. While Florence is ideal for a coffee addict such as myself, my friend Caroline and I found ourselves missing a good cup of tea. While we both had access to some good Twinings for breakfast through our respective host families, we craved a good teashop or café where we could get an amazing (and affordable) pot of tea after a stressful day.
Caroline was desperate enough to turn to Google, and I am so glad that she did. We became customers of La Via del Tè, a cute shop near the Mercato di San’Ambrogio – one of my favorite neighborhoods in Florence. The shop specialized in teas from around the world – importing leaves from China and India, while making their own blends in the shop itself.
Perhaps it was the name or my mood on that early Spring day, but I was immediately attracted to a tea called, “Romeo e Giulietta.” R&G featured a light blend of white tealeaves, interwoven with the flavors of peaches and strawberries and polished off with rose petals. Can you tell that I was smitten? It didn’t hurt that each tea was served in an exquisite teapot that yielded a perfect 3 cups.
Needless to say, one of my greatest regrets since leaving that beautiful city (other than failing to bring my host family to the USA with me) was forgetting to bring home a good kilo of Romeo e Giulietta. Ever since I got home, I have been on the hunt for a replacement tea, and, fortunately, I think I have found one: Ambrosio Plum Tea by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea.
I admit that it was the adorable packaging that first attracted me to this product while perusing the organic food aisle at Safeway, and the tea itself is a bit pricey (about $8 at the Georgetown store, though cheaper online), but it is definitely an item on which I am willing to splurge ever few months in order to relive my memories of my time in Italy. The tea features many of the flavors that I loved about R&G: strawberry leaves, rose petals, a healthy blend of white and green tea leaves, and a hint of stone fruit found in plum extract. Conveniently enough, it comes packaged in canisters of 22 sachets – the perfect amount to help you survive rainy days in DC or stressful days during application season.
So, whether you are in the mood for a soothing cup of antioxidant-rich goodness or just hoping for an afternoon recounting memories of things past, grab a couple of madeleines, head to your tea cabinet, and snuggle up with your favorite kitty. Lord knows you deserve it.
A small addendum: My friend Lucy pointed out that Zhena’s lets you buy refills instead of buying entirely new canisters. While you can’t send back your tins, you can buy 100 of their environmentally-friendly sachets for less than $30! Not bad at all! Don’t you just love Earth-friendly companies?