Tag Archives: tea

Heroes and a Bottle

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A melange of things that remind me of my heroes

I’ve been MIA for a week now (so much for that target of hammering out an article at least 2x a week, eheh), but as people close to me know, my calendar has just erupted like one of those Dr. Pimple Popper videos… Out of control and messy (I’m sorry for the graphic analogy!).

Think four wine events right before I fly off to Europe for work/research, followed by travel plans once a month until the end of the year.

Professional wino problems.

That being said, I’ve mostly used my laptop for research, RSVPs, email, homework, and admittedly, entertainment.

One of the entertaining things I came across involved people talking about what they’d like to eat and discuss with their heroes (living or dead)… Then, I thought to myself:

What would I drink with my heroes?

So, my imagination on overdrive, I decided to compile a list and share it here.

 

Ernest Hemingway

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”Ernest Hemingway

Why: He had one of the wildest lives I’ve ever read about, and I admire his writing style. His time in Paris was so epic; I did an “homage to Hemingway” walk and hung out in his Parisian haunts when I last visited the city. One of my all-time favourite books is “A Moveable Feast”, which chronicles some of his adventures.
What to Drink: Bourbon. The man loved his alcohol… The stronger, the better. While he was known to drown himself in some of the best French wines during his time, I feel like Bourbon is a little more like him: Masculine, rough, and earthy.

Edith Piaf

“Quand il me prend dans ses bras, il me parle tout bras, je voie la vie en rose (When he takes me in his arms, and speaks to me softly, I see the world in rose-coloured glasses)”Edith Piaf, La Vie En Rose

Why: Môme Piaf’s agitated, powerful, and heartbreaking voice was a reflection of her tragic life. Whenever I get melancholic and miss Paris, I listen to one of her songs and I’m transported to the beautiful but grimy streets of the city.
What to Drink: Champagne. Oh, the woman could down a bottle like it’s nobody’s business. I also loved that she lived during a time when drinking Champagne out of a coupé was considered très chic.

Anthony Bourdain

“When dealing with complex transportation issues, the best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out.” – Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown (Peru)

Why: The man is one of my culinary idols. While I decided not to pursue a career in the kitchen, his irreverent take on haute cuisine (and his colorful vocabulary) has consistently inspired me to be as unconventional and cheekily verbose as I could when dealing with wine. Also, it has to be said that he has fantastic taste in vino.
What to Drink: San Miguel Pale Pilsen (with Sisig!). The man loves the pig, which we Pinoys have perfected in the form of heart-attack inducing dishes, like Bourdain’s Filipino favourite, the sisig. Nothing on earth goes better with sisig than an ice-cold beer. To truly be Pinoy, San Miguel is the ultimate, decent brew to go with our greasy bar chow.

Audrey Hepburn

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn

Why: The woman personified grace, fashion, elegance, and everything a true lady aspires to be. Her iconic films, such as “Roman Holiday” and “Sabrina”, showcase her poise, diction (to this day, I couldn’t believe a chauffer’s daughter or a high-class call girl could speak like that), and Givenchy’s 1960’s creations.
What to Drink: Cognac. A little known fact about Hepburn is that she drank a glass of cognac after dinner every night as a digestif. For me, there’s something incredibly stylish about swirling a shot of cognac in a snifter.

Natalie MacLean

“The question I’m asked most often: ‘What’s your favorite wine?’ My answer: ‘The one someone else pays for.'”Natalie MacLean, Unquenchable

Why: I’ve always loved her wine writing style, which is humorous, light, and approachable. Wine novices and hardcore winos always appreciate her work (I still use them as reference).
What to Drink: Romanée-Conti 1979. I’d love to share one of my favourite Burgundy vintages over stories of her meeting the Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy.

Jane Austen

“There is not the hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be. Our foggy climate wants to help.”Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Why: I think girls who dream of getting swept off their feet (by a man with “10,000 a year”) read an Austen novel at one point in their lives. Her famous works are light, fast-paced, and a guide on marrying well in Regency-era England.
What to Drink: English Breakfast Tea. Honestly, it’s because all three words make me think of Austen… Having tea during a bright, sunny morning in a cottage overlooking fields of wild flowers, gossiping about suitors and marriages. Of course, proper frou-frou teacups are a must!

Adele

The focus on my appearance has really surprised me. I’ve always been a size 14 to 16, I don’t care about clothes, I’d rather spend my money on cigarettes and booze.” – Adele

Why: Plus-sized women need an enormous amount of confidence and talent to be successful… Both of which Adele has. Add to that her unique brand of sass, and we’ve got a heroine everybody could relate to (from heartaches, to moving on, to having her H&M card declined), all packaged with a set of pipes that could make the undead quiver.
What to Drink: Right Bank Bordeaux. I found out from some of her interviews that she likes a glass of wine… Red wines from the right bank of Bordeaux are both powerful and silky, just like Adele’s voice.

Iris Apfel

“You have to try it. You only have one trip. You’ve got to remember that.”Iris Apfel

Why: Talk about longevity. This woman is 94 years old and can accessorise outfits like it’s nobody’s business. I’m amazed at the fact that she’s still relevant in the world of fashion and lifestyle after so many decades. She had one of the longest marriages in the public eye, spending 67 years with her husband, Carl Apfel, until he died in 2015.
What to Drink: Manhattan. A proper Manhattan involves Canadian whisky, Angosturra bitters, sweet vermouth, and a maraschino, served in an incredibly chic cocktail glass. Added bonus, the name is a nice way to honour her New York roots.

Oz Clarke

“The ritual observed by professionals is not just showing off: there is a purpose to every stage, and it can help you to get maximum pleasure from a bottle of wine. Wine can be complex stuff, and if you just knock it back you could be missing out on a wonderful sensory experience. Instead, take a few moments to discover a little about a wine’s background, appreciate its colour, and savour its scents and range of flavours.”Oz Clarke

Why: He’s irreverent, entertaining, knowledgeable, and has an enviably no-nonsense palate when it comes to wine. I’ve always admired and respected him for his approach on wines and writing… He manages to inject his dry humour while beautifully utilising the English language, without losing essential information that allows winos to truly learn something. One of my favourite wine shows is “Oz and James’ Big Wine Adventure”, and I use his book “Grapes and Wines” often… Confession: One of my life goals is to meet him one day.
What to Drink: Anarchy from Cypher Winery, Paso Robles. I loved learning about how Anarchy truly captured the rebellious nature of these Paso Robles winemakers during an episode with James May… What can I say, I like people (and my wine) out of the box (no pun intended). I especially loved Clarke’s apprehension as he rode on the back of a hog to get to the winery.

General Antonio Luna

“Mas madali pang pagkasunduin ang langit at lupa kaysa dalawang Pilipino tungkol
sa kahit na anong bagay. (It’s easier to get heaven and earth to agree versus two Filipinos on anything.)” – Antonio Luna (the character), Heneral Luna

Why: Admittedly, my mind wandered off during history class when I was a kid (I honestly blame the deep Tagalog our teachers used to teach the subject), so I never really looked into General Luna’s life story until the film “Heneral Luna” came out. Through the movie, I learned about his passion for the country, disdain for dissension, and stubbornness to inculcate a national pride amongst the Filipinos of the time.
What to Drink: Ribera del Duero Tempranillo. Honestly, because p*ny*t@ it’s good s**t from Spain. 

I realise that my eclectic list of “heroes” includes famous people, but anyone can be a hero, including us everyday folk… As long as we’re courageous and noble in our own way.

What would you drink and talk about with your hero? Cheers!

Sobering Up: The Morning After Chronicles

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Watching the tally with tea and polvoron for a bit of a patriotic twist

This has been one emotional election.

I think there’s no better way to start this entry than with this simple, admittedly “safe” (or impartial) statement, because it is what it is: Poignant, unfiltered, unadulterated, and true.

Election season in this country, after all, has always been tinged with a lot of passion.

That being said, as I crashed on the couch after braving the scorching heat and crowds to wait two hours to exercise my freedom to vote, I thought… Why am I so adamant about my right of suffrage?

Then I looked at my blog and realized: it’s THIS.

Think about it: I am free to be an opinionated (not necessarily always correct) female wino in a country that is beginning to enjoy the freedom to travel and learn about wines. I am not treated less with the work that I do versus a man, because our country has one of the best gender equality records in the workforce. The constitution allows me to pursue a career in alcohol, as long as I stay within legal bounds.

I slept during the night of the elections admittedly with a huge apprehension about its outcome… One of my friends put it well: “I am very thankful that I am still able to exercise suffrage… I can only hope that my children and their children will not have that right taken from them.”

That’s it, really… Once the dust has settled, I hope to keep the rights I’m enjoying right now as a Filipina wine professional.

Additionally, I understand that no change in leadership will change the fact that true progress requires unity, cooperation, and selflessness… Selflessness includes queuing properly, not drinking to excess (which will potentially harm the drinker and the people around him), ceasing the practice of giving importers a hard time if there’s no grease money… It will absolutely need to begin with each one of us.

So as we sober up after all the heated arguments, bickering, passionate (and occasionally crass) political discussions, I hope we move on and up together as one united nation.

 

I promise to be back with a less sober topic in the next entry. 😉 Cheers!

 

Follow Us!

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29 March, Tuesday, 11:30pm, Manila, after a haphazardly prepared dinner with a nice 2005 Saint-Emilion and good company, I’ve finally decided to be a wee bit more public about the blog and create an Instagram account.

There’s not much photos uploaded yet (I’m slowly posting stuff during my free time), but the current content may be familiar to people who have read previous entries of the blog.

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/2shotsandapintofficial/

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It’s OFFICIAL! Instagram: @2shotsandapintofficial

Here’s to hoping it becomes a good source of #drinkspiration. Cheers!

 

What Happens in Baguio…

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…Shouldn’t stay in Baguio.

Before I alarm some of the friends I went to Baguio with (I promise I won’t talk about your seven levels of inebriation in this article), let me explain.

Apart from the fact that it is really and truly the ultimate summer capital of the Philippines (yes, there is a place in our tropical archipelago that goes below 20C!), Baguio is also one of the finest places in the Philippines to go for a major food trip.

I can go on and on about how amazing and fresh the vegetables are (we were lucky to have sampled them straight from the farm!), or how yummy Good Shepherd Ube is (any Pinoy child of the 80s has been dragged to the convent kicking and screaming, only to be sated by a spoonful of their legendary strawberry jam)… But this being a drink blog, I would like to highlight (nay, capitalise) on my ultimate Baguio discovery: Baguio Craft Brewery. It’s the first craft beer brewery in the city, with the brewing equipment in plain sight, a variety of IPAs, dark beers, fruit beers, and great food to pair them with. The brewers (with a reputation of intense attention to detail coupled with an incomparable fun-loving vibe) are always on hand to share this experience (and their amazing passion).

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The sign of good times… 😉

I have heard about these legendary craftsmen ages ago through one of my chef friends, and since then, I made it a mission to take a trip there myself when I had the opportunity.

I finally had my chance over a week ago when a group of my chef and foodie friends decided to go up to Baguio to explore farms, which included a trip to the brewery.

After climbing up to the restaurant, basking in the spectacular view, and enjoying the borderline Rastafarian music (the duo could do a mean acoustic Bob Marley), I was thrilled to meet Chris Ordas, self-proclaimed “Thirst Prevention Officer and Chief Executioner” of Baguio Craft Brewery (his vibe and ultra-unique facial hair, a requirement for the upper echelons of the brewery’s organization, is perfect for his “occupation”).

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Brewskies with Friends (L-R): Chef Jonas Ng (Le Jardin Manila), Chris Ordas, Ed “Steady Eddie” Bustos (Food Creator and “Director of Awesome”), Genghis Khan Enrique (Fun Foodie Friend)… We were told that the fancy facial hair was to further distinguish themselves and their beer. 😉

It seems like I’m writing so much about the people behind the BCB, but it’s impossible to separate them from their beer… Their restaurant/tasting room/brewery alone just resonated with their vibe and friendship. That’s how they got started in the first place: a group of self-proclaimed “raging alcoholics” decided to brew perfect beer in Chris’ garage in Canada (which included Arnold Miguel, Head Brewer and “Ex Moonshiner”; and Alex Basa, “Head Receiver”… Best occupations ever IMHO). In 2013, armed with fervour, mad brewing skills, and the belief that there was a lack of beer choices in the Philippines, Chris, Arnold, and Alex quit their jobs and put up The Tasting Room at Baguio Craft Brewery.

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A multitude of choices for their beers on tap

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Six-pack beers in native packaging (with funky tags!) for easy transport back to Manila, and witty shirts

Some of my favourites (according to classification):

  1. Dark Beers
    • Kraken – A Baltic Porter with sweet, malty notes and hints of roasted coffee and toffee (which, after a couple pints, made me want to cry, “Unleash the Kraken!”… No? #nerdhumor)
    • Stout Crusader – A beautiful, rich, heavenly, creamy Russian Stout that I ended up treating as a dessert and a bartender/chef friend used to make a fun beer cocktail
  2. IPAs (India Pale Ale)
    • Pugaw – A wordplay on Ifugao (a mountainous landlocked area in our Nothern Cordilleras and home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Rice Terraces), this is a “beginner’s trek” into IPAs (and an excellent showcase on what the Ifugao people are all about: earthy and richly complex).
    • Message in a Bottle – An intense black IPA with an excellent roast
    • Hop Attack – A beautiful Double IPA with an elegant bitterness that definitely begs for food
  3. Fruit Beers (note: unlike some brewers who make fruit beers by injecting fruit syrup to their beer, BCB uses the actual fruits during the secondary fermentation, hence they end up with the essence of the fruit infused in the beer instead of a crude, slap-in-the-face fruit flavored beer)
    • Lagud (Strawberry) – Because Baguio is famous for their strawberries. Think strawberry cream in beer form (yum!)
    • Ripe (Passion Fruit) – A sharp, tangy fruit beer excellent with greasy bar chow
    • Keywheat (Kiwi) – I’ve never had Kiwi beer before but I am a big fan of the fruit… So, kiwi? Check. Beer? Check. Happy.
  4. Other Beers:
    • Rolling Fog – I admit to having a predilection for German wheat beer, but the subtlety and elegance of Rolling Fog just blew me away.
    • Englishman in New York – An American Pale Ale with caramel notes seamlessly blended with herbal undertones (a favorite of a friend of mine, he kept insisting I try it… “This will change your life”, he said. It did)

Don’t take my word for it. Baguio Craft Brewery is located in the RKC Building, 120 Marcos Highway, KM 4 Baguio City.

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Saccharine sweet strawberry “wine”

After partying it up with these perfect craft beers, I highly recommend indulging in some of Baguio’s renowned strawberries in their spirit form. It’s sweet and packs a mean punch.

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Camp John Hay Coffee Plantation

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#hoarding healthy stuff after all that alcohol

The following day, it is imperative to sober up with some coffee. Baguio has a wide selection of affordable coffee… I had to take home bags of Irish Cream, Arabica, and Civet Cat coffee beans. It’s also worth noting that John Hay (the best place to get a cottage for the ultimate Baguio trip) actually grows their coffee beans. I also had to get the turmeric tea I found on the way up to Good Shepherd (after all that beer, I needed a healthy ANYTHING).

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The “Morning After” Traditional Hot Chocolate from Choco-Late de Batirol

When all is said, drunk, and done in Baguio, it is imperative to stop in for a quick brunch in Choco-Late de Batirol garden restaurant. It’s the ultimate “morning after” place. They have interesting items on their menu (tocinong kalabaw was quite adventurous), but they’re legendary for their traditional hot chocolate. It’s thick, rich, and so artisanal that the texture is still grainy, it redefines “hug in a mug”.

Whether it’s a gastronomic, alcoholic, or foodie adventure, Baguio has a lot to offer. Whatever people are after, there are many options that are a far cry from the Baguio of the 80s (with an excellent TPLEX that cut down the once 8-plus hour trek to about 3.5 on a good day). Note to self: Make another trip, stat! Cheers!

The Year That Was (2shots of 2015)

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“To take wine into our mouths is to savor a droplet of the river of human history” – Clifton Fadiman

 

If that is the case, then 2015 was the year I became a true historian. 😉

Here are a few of some of my favourite moments in 2015:

 

Tons of Travel

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Amsterdam, Sancerre, London… Oh My!

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Singapore, Hanoi, and Napa

I thought 2014 was an amazing traveling year (I wound up halfway around the world on the opposite hemisphere!), but 2015 was just as fun. I enjoyed being part of a Vietnamese tea ceremony and partaking in my favorite Singaporean libations. I loved drinking through London, Paris, Sancerre, and Amsterdam. It was also a blast to end the year with a trip to Napa.

 

Healthy Living

Sharing my discoveries on health benefits of different beverages (juicing, chia, tea, etc.) was a rewarding experience. If you meet me in person, I’m far from being an Adriana Lima (I always use her as my ideal body peg because man, she’s healthy and sexy), but I’ve been consistently happy with my yearly checkups… I just have to be more mindful about the stuff I eat with wine (eheh).

 

Friends and Family

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Titas Drinking Spritzers for Lunch (How The Mighty Have Fallen)

Some of my favourite articles included chronicling a wino friend’s pregnancy and looking back on the drinking habits of our youth. Chad, the rest of our family (I’m still eternally grateful for the surprise trip to Napa), and our spectacular friends have been loving and supportive (even drinking with me and sharing their discoveries, all in the name of beverage research of course) throughout 2015.

 

The Great Chilean Adventure

CHILE COLLAGE 1

Gillmore Winery, Valdivieso, Via Wines, Montes, Lapostolle, Caliterra

CHILE COLLAGE 2

Morande, Sta. Rita, Tremonte, Uva Dulce, and Valparaiso

 

CHILE COLLAGE 3

Checked One Thing on my Bucket List: A Visit to Concha Y Toro!

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My First Foray Into Becoming a Legit Non-Writer Writer 😉

Narrating my Chilean wine adventures throughout 2015 was marvelous. To this day, I still can’t get over the beautiful sights, wonderful people, and phenomenal wines of Chile. The icing on this cake was the Lifestyle Asia article about the trip (OMG I’m a legit non-writer writer now!)… It was fabulous to share my experience with so many people.

 

Local Flavours

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The Beginning of a Fantastic Pinoy Adventure!

The epiphany I had in looking in my own backyard for beverage inspiration has led to many adventures (from coffee to craft beer and everything in between). I’m not done writing about them, and I’m excited to talk about even more truly Filipino drinks (and explorations) to the world.

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Ville de la Reine (available in Wine Story branches)

That being said let me do something quintessentially “new year” with you, my dear readers, by toasting with a glass of Champagne. This bottle of Ville de la Reine is a creamy blanc de blancs (translation: made from 100% Chardonnay grapes) perfect for toasting as the clock strikes 12, or with tasty hors d’oeuvres.

Cheers to 2016!

 

Hermès Style

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I know I’ve mentioned it in previous entries, but the holiday rush has really thrown our family for a loop. Our schedules have been insane with back-to-back parties, last minute work related matters, and errands to run before we leave for the holidays.

I finally managed to have a break today, which means I got to actually have some much-needed “me” time.

After watching the much anticipated and highly controversial Miss Universe 2015 (Yay, Pilipinas!), I spent the the rest of the day like any normal “woman with a plan” would: I had my nails done in our neighborhood nail spa, followed by a long overdue (9 months!) spa day.

I decided to really treat myself and try out the new-ish spa in our neighborhood: Hua Spa (Tordesillas Street). It was a little more expensive than most of the spas in the neighborhood, but I can vouch for the fact that it was worth it. They had eloquent and splendidly professional staff, amazing therapists, and…

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Amour Thé in an Hermès tea set

Tea.

The tea was not just the standard salabat served in some spa chains (I have nothing against salabat, but I’ve been dying for a change). They let clients choose from four varieties of TWG tea served in pretty Hermès tea sets. It felt like the epitome of luxury and relaxation.

To top it off, I had the best treatment ever: A coffee scrub. Apart from the anti-oxidant benefits (and caffeine jolt) coffee has, it’s awesome in removing cellulite. I don’t think I became a VS Angel with that one treatment, but I smelled fabulous, and my skin felt amazing.

I know this entry isn’t much, but I’m hammering out a very traditional holiday article in time for Christmas Eve (I just really needed the break today).

Let me know what you like to do on your down time. Cheers!

Tea Time in London

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Apart from pubs, the Britain I had in my head prior to our #eurotrip involved proper tea.

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London Tea Souvenirs: New English Teas miniature tins, and Whittard White Peony White Tea

If my blog is a testament to my beverage preferences, anyone can tell I love having a good cup of tea. There’s just something fascinating about the ritual of infusing tea leaves, inhaling a diversity of smells, having a number of ways to serve tea (one lump or two, with milk or lemon?), and personally, pretty teacups (see here for high tea and girly teacups).

With this in mind, Chad and I made it a point to find a good pack of loose-leaf tea (purist!) in London.

One evening, as we made our way from Westminster Abbey (we managed to catch Evensong in a Monday night service to honor Edward the Confessor… Heavenly) to have dinner, we came across a teashop named Whittard

The lady behind the counter was brewing something and looked very thoughtful as Chad and I looked around. After spotting us, she asked, “Would you like to try some? A new batch of these arrived today, and I wanted to taste it… I’d love to know what you think.”

It was divine, like the champagne of tea… A first flush Darjeeling. First flush guarantees a gentle tea, with mild aromas and acidity, and is very lightly colored. So far, I’ve only encountered this term in Darjeeling teas, which makes me think that only Darjeeling can have this classification (I am allowed to be wrong, I promise). Darjeeling is a region in India, and the thing I’ve noticed about Indian tea is that they have a tendency to be richly flavored (a personal preference).

With this in mind, I was momentarily brought up to tea heaven. Unfortunately, given our “tea budget” for that trip, it was quite over our limit (well worth it though, I promise), so we promised ourselves that we would get one in our next London tour.

As we looked around the store, we were pleasantly surprised to find affordable versions of white tea (I cannot find reasonably priced, decent white tea in Manila). I had to take home a bag of a fragrant White Peony. As the package indicates, it is “An exquisitely delicate white tea crafter from silver buds and the youngest spring leaves”. Sold.

Indeed, tea was everywhere in London… In fact, coming out of the Tower of London, we even managed to get an adorable souvenir: Three miniature tins of loose-leaf teas, shaped in typical things people see in London, with the usual teas: English Afternoon Tea, English Breakfast Tea (which, IMHO, needed milk), and an intriguing “London Tea” blend (which smells malty and citrusy).

The only disappointment I had from this tea adventure is the lack of time for proper high tea, but there’s always next time.

What’s your favorite thing about the British tea experience (and no, Paulette, seeing #TomHiddleston/#BenedictCumberbatch/#DavidTennant having a cuppa doesn’t count)?

Speaking of Paulette, I’ll be writing about #fangirling in the next entry. Cheers!