First Food Festival of 2016

Tasty food from Surrey Food Festival in Richmond

Tasty treats from Surrey Food Festival – tea, coffee, cakes, cookies and olive oil

I visited the Surrey Food Festival at Richmond’s Old Deer Park last weekend, and had a lovely time trying out lots of tasty food and drink in my local area and meeting some great people.

I met some fantastic artisan food providers, from the wonderfully meaty cuisine of Meat The Chef (chicken skin skin-on fries, anyone?), to Sussex oil and vinegar makers, Stratta, to the delightful team at tea and sweet treat makers, Brew and Bites, who tempted me with Persian sweet treats and their beautiful tea and coffee blends. I also found plenty of gluten and dairy free fare to taste and take home, thanks to Wholesome Bakes and online marketplace Free From Market. We even bought a few cheeky bottles of wine from The Vineking, which we were able to try out and taste at the festival and then, once we’d got expert advice from the wine experts on the stand, bring our favourites home with us.

So much good food and drink to take home
I returned with an impressive haul: herb flavoured olive oils from Stratta, Rosy Grey tea and Colombian coffee from Brew and Bites, gluten and dairy free cakes and cookies from Wholesome Bakes, and, of course, a cheeky Prosecco and Cabernet Sauvignon from local wine specialists, The Vineking.

Afternoon tea at home with treats from Surrey Food Festival

My own afternoon tea at home with tea and treats from the Surrey Food Festival and my new bespoke coasters from Individually Inspired

Time for tea
The obvious thing to do when I got home was to have my own special afternoon tea with my tasty treats, so I brewed up a refreshing and delicate pot of Rosy Grey, a blend of Ceylon black loose leaf tea, bergamot, rose petals and rose buds.

The tea is so pretty and smells divine – almost too good to drink! But drink it I did, and it was exactly what was needed after wandering around outside for a few hours and feeling a little tired after all the fresh air!

Paired with a gluten and dairy free raspberry cupcake and served on the lovely Tea with Rachael coasters that Individually Inspired made for me, it was the perfect time to take a moment and relax. I also had a good look through the show guide and the Taste Awards brochure for inspiration for other fabulous foodie finds!

Rosy Grey tea from Brew and Bites

Rosy Grey tea from Brew and Bites – looks and smells too pretty, but tastes just as good to drink!

I’ll be heading to Foodies Festival at Syon Park again next Bank Holiday weekend with some fellow foodie friends, so am looking forward to enjoying our VIP tickets and trying even more tasty treats!

Until next time, hope you also get to enjoy some fabulous food this Bank Holiday weekend – a whole extra day to take the time to sit back, relax, and have a good cup of tea! (And maybe a cake or two…!)

Enjoy,

Rachael xx

 

A refreshing Earl Grey in the afternoon

I recently won a lovely selection of teas from JollyBrew. The packaging is stylish and contemporary and the tea leaves look great. They smell absolutely delicious, too, so I have been looking forward to savouring and trying each one, reviewing them individually.

A very elegant Earl Grey

The elegantly packaged JollyBrew Teas

The very elegant JollyBrew Teas

On a Sunday afternoon, you can never go wrong with a nice pot of Earl Grey. The very appropriately titled “Elegant Earl Grey” from JollyBrew is a beautifully scented blend of black tea leaves, bergamot and cornflowers.

 

 

Elegant Earl Grey

The Elegant Earl Grey from JollyBrew

The little blue cornflowers glinted invitingly at me as I opened up the tin and had a good sniff of the revitalising scent. I made up a pot in one of my favourite modern teapots, my medium sized glass teapot from La Cafetière. I thought it was only right to serve this most refined of teas in a suitably elegant china teacup and saucer, rather than my usual cosy mugs, so I pulled out my pretty blue and white striped cup and saucer that was a Christmas gift from The Secret Tea Society in 2013.

A pot of Earl Grey

Elegant Earl Grey in one of my favourite teapots

I was delighted with the tea. It’s refreshing either with or without milk, with a clear, crisp taste. The scent was uplifting and just what I needed to pick me up in the afternoon.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I particularly enjoy a good Earl Grey, and love trying new blends and brands. This delicious tea from JollyBrew is highly recommended and gets a big thumbs up from me!

An elegant cup of Earl Grey

A suitably refined cup and saucer

Next, I will be tasting the Proper Peppermint – the perfect post-dinner pick me up!

Until next time – enjoy your afternoon tea break!

Rachael X

An Afternoon with Earl Grey

When I’m busy and feeling a bit tired and stressed in the afternoon, I like to take a tea break with Earl Grey.  And not just any Earl Grey, oh no!  I have a select list of favourites – and would like to share them with you!

Twinings Earl GreyThe Classic Earl Greys – a strong kick of bergamot to get you through the day…

Twinings Earl Grey – a true classic

I have a friend who swears by this blend and no other – and you can see why.  Always a failsafe cuppa –  a light, floral flavour with a strong kick of bergamot that enlivens the senses!  And it works very well in baking too!  As a novice baker myself, I’ll leave this to the experts – check out this fabulous Twinings Earl Grey Cake recipe, tried and tested by the same ever-faithful friend!  Scrumptious – and best enjoyed with a steaming pot of Earl Grey!

Ahmad Earl Grey – the discerning choice…

Ahmad Earl GreyThis is a real classic – great flavour and a strong aroma, again with a clear hit of bergamot.  This is very drinkable, as it has a lighter flavour than some other blends.  It works particularly well when you want to make up a nice big pot of tea.  I also find this very refreshing, so it suits all weather!  Note to self – don’t drink up all your stock at once!  I’m planning on stocking up on more of this lovely tea when I head over to America in a couple of weeks’ time.

 

 

Time for something a little bit different…

Twinings Lavender Earl Grey – two of my favourite things: lavender and tea! 

Twinings Lavender Earl GreyThis is great for winding down at the end of the day, or for the morning after the day before (have been known to provide this after parties to soothe those pesky hangovers)!

I come back to this favourite time and time again.  My husband bought me a full Twinigs tea chest last Christmas, where I was delighted to find this little treasure!  I have since stock-piled boxes of twenty teabags and find myself getting through them remarkably quickly!

I do find this tea rather addictive – one cup is just never enough!

Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey – a match made in heaven!

Teapigs Darjeeling Earl GreyI’m a big fan of Darjeeling, so when I first walked past a cafe selling Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey a few years ago, I was intrigued and excited! This blend is really unusual and a very refreshing, malty, comforting taste.  I like this tea first thing in the morning as well as an afternoon refresher – I find it goes well with breakfast, or keeps me going nicely when on the go.  And I have to say, I love the packaging – I’m also a big fan of sausage dogs, so the quirky label always makes me smile!

English Garden Empire Earl Grey – the Empire Strikes Back!

This is smoky, sultry and smells fabulous – either in or out of the pot!

English Garden Empire Earl GreyI made a pot of this after I was feeling sorry for myself and suffering following a wisdom tooth removal.  My friend, another fellow tea enthusiast, came round to the house to cheer me up and we decided to do a mini-tasting of the best Earl Greys and my favourites.

I particularly liked this flavoursome blend, firstly for the smell of the dry leaves, then the aroma once the pot was brewing, then the comforting, light Earl Grey taste. What makes this blend different is the smoky aftertaste, which is really quite different to anything I’ve tried before.  You can strongly smell the bergamot in the dried leaves, but once brewed it’s a very subtle flavour, and I think the smoky, malty taste makes it quite unique.

I’m feeling a bit tired and worn-out again today, so think it’s time for a tea break.  Looking forward to spending another evening with Earl Grey!

Until next time, enjoy your tea break (and why not join the marvellous Earl Grey?!)

Rachael X

Time for a Real Tea Break

Welsh dresser full of tea pots and cupsNot enough time for a tea break?!

Well, things have been so busy so far this year, that I have been neglecting to take regular tea breaks!  I’ve moved house (and now have a big kitchen to experiment in and my own proper garden – bliss!  So expect some new recipes and sunshine-filled garden posts on the horizon!)

I also had a wisdom tooth taken out, which meant I have been taking it easy, was stuck with very soft food and feeling a bit yucky for quite a while, so haven’t been as adventurous as I would usually like to be on the food and drink front!  Although it did mean I consumed copious amounts of comfort food, like mashed potatoes and home-made gravy (And Yorkshire Puddings, once I was able to chew a little bit more!)

So I’ve been neglecting the poor Tea Break blog. 🙁
And like buses, you wait for ages and several come along at once!  There’s so much I want to write about at the moment – the many fun things to do in the beautiful Borough of Richmond, delightful new teas and tea-related activities that I’ve been trying out, and summer interior design – in the house and in the garden!

To try and fit everything in, I’ve been working on a new website for Tea With Rachael – watch this space for a tea time one-stop-shop with a mix of food, drink, fun, fashion, things to see and do and, of course, all things tea-related!

In the meantime, I have been trying some lovely new teas and exploring some fun things to see and do, particularly in and around Richmond and Twickenham.

English Garden's Special Reserve Assam TeaTime for tea

English Garden's Special Reserve Assam Tea - packagingYesterday, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I made a pot of English Garden’s Special Reserve Assam.  I find that a good strong cup of black tea does wonders when you’re feeling a bit below par, and this certainly did the trick!  The comforting, malty smell from the moment I poured the water over the leaves was so comforting.  It brewed beautifully, leaving me with a rich, deep-flavoured cuppa – exactly what I needed!  I savoured every drop and was very impressed – exactly the kind of blend I like, as I’m a big fan of strong black tea blends and always turn to these as my default/favourites!  I am also looking forward to trying their Empire Earl Grey later this afternoon – will let you know what it’s like in my next feature, on my favourite Earl Grey blends.

 

 

Thought I’d give you a little preview of the next few posts, that should be on the new website very soon!

Coming soon…

  • Time for Tea – An afternoon with Earl Grey
  • Time for Tea – Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons, Canary Wharf
  • Out and About – Richmond Spring/Summer Special
  • Fit for Foodies – A gastronomic tour of Twickenham
  • Fit for Foodies – Foodies Festival 2013, Hampton Court
  • Kitchen Corner – Use by dates: recipes to make sure you use it all up!
  • Library Corner – Save the planet while catching up on your reading
  • Party Time! Fun party ideas for this summer

Until then, enjoy YOUR Bank Holiday tea break!

Rachael X