There’s a Japanese proverb that says “If a man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.” Now there’s a saying I can connect with.
Tea and afternoon tea time, and of course the teapots, cups and saucers, have been in my life since my earliest memories. My first memory of tea time was when I was about five years old. It was a hot summer day and my mother spread ice cold butter on saltine crackers with strawberry jam. She would serve tea with a bit of sugar in it with her fancy dishes, a beautiful table setting, and the silver teapot. The best part was her company and being together. In time, it became our family tradition to have afternoon tea time on vacations at various hotels, tea shops and on cruise ships.
How fortunate for me that my husband also loves tea and the whole experience of tea time. On our honeymoon in Paris, we visited a grand “Maison de The” of one the world’s greatest tea merchants – Mariage Freres. What an experience! The selection of teas and their wonderful scents, the beautiful cups and teapots, the elegant tea experts, it was all simply stunning. I fell in love with a particular cup and saucer they sell…yes I do get happy over a simple teacup….that is in the style of what was used on cruise ships. The white porcelain cup is enhanced with delicate silver edging; and the cup nestles into the center hollow of the saucer, so as not to move around, giving sea voyaging tea drinkers a steadier setting.
In the Chicago area, one of our favorite local tea shops is Todd & Holland in Forest Park, Illinois. Try their Mauritius blend, a strong brew of finely chopped black tea leaves and vanilla.
Over the years, I have had many tea parties (as seen in the accompanying photos) and have helped in the planning of tea-themed events such as Christmas teas, bridal teas, baby teas and birthday teas. I have collected so many kinds of teapots – silver-plated, antique, ceramic, hand-painted and Japanese styles to name a few. To me, it is a time to share thoughts, relax and simply enjoy living beautifully. Whether you’re having tea for two or sipping tea in solitude…there is something so settling and civilized about having tea. So go start the water boiling, and make yourself a cup of tea!