Thursday, March 5, 2015

Breaking The Ice


There was a lot going on in my mind when I crossed the threshold of the Travelling Samovar on Rathdowne Street in North Carlton.  Not least of which was why I had driven through Richmond to get there.
 But once I found my way into the gorgeous little courtyard out the back calm began to descend.  There, through the dappled light, under the gabel of jasmine I found Annette of I Give You The Verbs and Naomi of Naomi Loves.  Hunched over their cameras like a picture of proper bloggers.  I knew immediately that I was with my people and in safe hands.

Nothing changed when the others started to arrive (see? there was no need to feel nervous!) Sharon from Sharon's Bigg Life, Carly from Tune into Radio Carly, Vivian from Brunch with Viv and Leah from Miss Pippilotta (who I'm sure thinks I'm a weirdo after blurting to her that I feel like a proud Aunt every time I visit her blog).  Suzy was there too, though Suzy doesn't have a blog to link to (yet).

That's a lot of cameras and a lot of photos.


We had a chance for introductions and a chat and then it was time to get down to the serious business of drinking iced tea.  It was perfect day for it - meaning hot.  And the first tea we were offered was as delightful as it was refreshing.

As soon and our gorgeous hosts Bec and Pascale started talking their love of and passion for tea was evident.  It simply squeezes out of them at every opportunity.  Tea is obviously their world.


And so all of a sudden I felt like a bit of a fraud.  I have always and often declared myself a tea lover.  But here I was in the midst of the authentic tea lovers.  These are gals who know exactly where their tea comes from, when it is picked and what notes it's flavour contains.  Without a hint of a doubt, they know their tea like a gun sommelier knows wine.

Suddenly my love of a milky mug of Twinings English breakfast seemed so inadequate and pedestrian.

Fortunately (for me) while the girls were passionate there was not a hint of snobbery about their knowledge and they seemed to take a genuine delight in having the chance to wax lyrical about the wonders of tea while we basked in the dappled light and the jasmine blossoms danced downwards.


We were taught several methods for making a good iced tea and we were treated to many different flavours and blends.  My favourite was the welcome drink of Lebanese Iced Tea which was served with great flourish from a hot Samovar over ice with mint.  This was delicious and refreshing.


I was rather partial to the tea served with strawberry coulis and frozen mango because yum.  I also loved anything involving ginger and lemongrass, all the Asian varieties as well as the strong black and subtler white teas.

I wasn't so keen on anything containing rose, hibiscus, lavender or liquorice root.  No real surprises there.  I'm not into florals, I find their perfume and flavour too overpowering, even in tiny, subtle amounts.  This is true of cosmetics and scent for me as well.  And have never liked liquorice or aniseed flavours.  I don't even like fennel much.  I realise this last one might be my loss, but the rest you can keep.


We then got to make our own blend which was such fun because there really wasn't any way to go wrong.  Taking the lessons learnt about the flavours I favoured I ended up with a base of Black Tea with blends of Chamomile, Cornflower and Calendula.  It smells subtly divine but I have yet to brew it.  I'll let you know how it tastes when I do.  I think I'll try it hot first and then maybe pour it over some ice, just to experiment.

That was a real theme for the session actually, experimentation.  The idea that when it comes to tea there are no rules, only tastes and preferences and fun to be had in exploring the possibilities.


I must say though, that despite the fun of the Iced Tea making session the most marvellous thing of the day, for me was meeting in person some wonderful women whose work I have admired online for many months.  It was first rate to put faces to names and to come together and get to know each other, just a little bit.

So the next time we visit the beautiful surroundings of the Travelling Samovar it will be to talk (more), drink (more) tea and to try some of the amazing looking cakes on offer (I actually can't believe these slipped past me this time!).

Who's in?

With many thanks to the Travelling Samovar for hosting and to Naomi for organising!

(Not a sponsored event or affiliated post.  We each paid for the Iced Tea making session.)


Do you consider yourself a tea drinker?

14 comments:

  1. It sounds sublime! What a gorgeous little oasis! Awesome photos, Kate. Makes me feel like I was there :-)

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    1. I only wish you had gorgeous Rachel! One day. x

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  2. I so LOVED meeting you and all these wonderful ladies. What a beautiful morning it was! I wish I'd been able to stay on and enjoy lunch with the rest of you.

    ps. Don't tell anyone but my fave tea at home is a hot, milky cup of Twinings English Breakfast too. So, soulmates!

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    1. Oh thank god! Tea soul mates. Huzzah!

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  3. Oh my Kate! You have captured this so beautifully. I had such an awesome time meeting you all. Yes! Name the day and I'll go back there with you!!

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    1. Oh Thank-you so much Sharon! It was so great to meet you, yes, let's do it again soon. At the Museum maybe? ;)

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  4. Gosh it looks so beautiful - I wish we all lived closer to each other!

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  5. 'I knew immediately I was with my people' love it!!!! Such a lovely thing to do, I'm well jell :) xxx

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    1. It was really, really lovely. But you can be my people too, even from all the way over there. x

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  6. I saw pictures from this morning on Instagram. It all looks just so lovely. I adore meeting bloggers in real life. I rather regret not having done a Blog with Pip course so I can come along :)

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    1. It was very refined and elegant Nicole, really it was. I'm still hopeful we'll get our chance to meet eventually. This year, I'm sure! x

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  7. Beautiful pictures and beautiful snapshot of the day Kate! :) I'm so glad I got to meet you x

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    1. Thank-you Viv and me too. I look forward to catching up with you again sometime.x

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