Tea is definitely a kind of comfort food for me.
My British parents guzzle Tetley orange pekoe the way other people smoke cigarettes, and have for as long as I can remember. The kettle was never cold in our house while I was growing up. But even though it’s an every day thing, brewing myself a cup of tea still feels like treating myself to something luxurious.
Take one look in my kitchen pantry and you will figure out that I like all kinds of teas. Herbal teas, green teas, floral teas like jasmine and rose, but especially black teas.
I love the kind of teas that you curl up with, like warm spicy Chai teas and fragrant Earl Greys. I am also a total sugar fiend and am easily tempted by sweet stuff like vanilla or toffee flavoured teas.
Whittard’s Christmas Tea is the best. It’s like mulling spice tea, so is heavy on the clove and citrus.
Source: Poppytails & Trails
Actually I have a feeling it’s really their Spice Imperial tea, just repackaged for the holidays. Whatever, I love it. My friend sent me a couple of boxes from England and I was hooked.
When I started to run out of the Whittard’s Christmas Tea I looked around to find something similar. I visited the •teastore• in the Byward Market during a visit to Ottawa back before I lived here.
The staff in the tea store are very helpful and knowledgeable, and the selection is huge. It’s not like some other popular tea stores where everything is behind the counter and you have to ask just to get a whiff of the stuff.
Source: Ottawa Isn’t Dead
Here, the jars of tea are all out in the open for you to smell and sample. There’s also seating so you can enjoy tea by the cup with a friend if you need a break from the coffee shop scene.
With some help from the tea store staff, I found a blend that was very similar to the Christmas tea I loved. It’s called Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Teas and it’s basically a citrus-y twist on Earl Grey balanced with warm vanilla. I left with a small sample and, back home in Toronto, wished I had bought more.
So then one beautiful day, during my amazing trip the UK, I was wandering the streets of Paris with my Brit Bestie – the same friend who sent me the Whittard tea. We were actually on a mission to visit the only gluten-free bakery in town (that’s a whole other story), and it was quite a trek from our hotel, but we were loving every minute. Paris is just gorgeous.
Completely by accident, we walked right up to a Kusmi Tea store.
I’m not sure if this is the actual location we found, but wouldn’t you go in?
It’s so pretty!
Kusmi tea stores are all over Paris of course but it was still an exciting find and totally unexpected. We oohed and ahhed our way through the shop sticking our noses in all the samples like kids in a candy store. I bought myself a nice big tin of Prince Vladimir to bring back home with me, and I am still enjoying it two years later.
Now I’m all nostalgic for Paris. Was that really two whole years ago?