Winter and Tea | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

As the cold weather approaches my relaxation drinks change from very chilled white wines to warm teas in the afternoon and red wines at night with dinners. Prosecco remains my most favorite bubbles throughout the year. Although tea is my winter drink, tea is the most popular drink in the world and every country has its own way to prepare it.

tea time treats
Tea room at Teatime, Palo Alto, CA

In England, King Charles II popularized tea in the 17th century. It was in England where I learned about “the agony of the tea leaves”. I didn’t know much about making tea, I didn’t know tasty, natural tea doesn’t come into those little bags sold by the box in the supermarket. I had never been to a high tea accompanied with a display of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, There is a certain quality in loose tea leaves, they are agonized (the proper words) with care or steeped, if you will, at 100º for 3 minutes, then poured in individual cups. The aroma of tea leaves swirling in hot water is inebriating, all the flavors of tea leaves are released for pure enjoyment. Most British drink tea with a small shot of milk or sugar, rarely they take it with a lemon slice. Milk goes in the cup before tea only when the vessel is a cheaply made brand, otherwise, with expensive teacups, the milk goes after the tea. Teatime is always an occasion in England, all the bite-size morsels sure make a pleasant moment of the day. Once I tried loose tea leaves, I didn’t go back to tea bags and the bite size treats are always there.

Teatime, Palo Alto, CA

In the souks of Tunisia and Morocco, I learned that tea is a traditional drink handed down from generations of men from grandfathers to sons and their sons. The male of the house prepares tea and serves it. I was there in the Summer, their delicious tea was made of mint and loose black tea leaves served with sugar and always warm, no matter what the temperature was outside. There is nothing more refreshing than a warm drink in warm weather! The water and the tea leaves boiled together in a vessel over the charcoals, then the golden color drink was served in glasses decorated with golden designs.

Souk in Hammamet, Tunisia

In Japan, my experience with tea was totally different. I was fortunate one of my friends took me to a tea ceremony and experienced something I had heard about it for so long. The tea room is considered a sacred place. To enter the area for the tea ceremony, I had to bend down and pass through a small door opening.
I was told the opening is made so low to make the guests feel humble and respectful towards the master. Sitting on my knees as the local Japanese do was impossible, westerners’ legs don’t bend backward. The tea ceremony happens in silence, it is a moment of body/mind relaxation and concentration on enjoying tea only. The tea master is always a graceful woman dressed in a kimono, who, with slow movements of the hands, prepares matcha tea for her clients in silence, other than saying the very few courtesy words, she speaks nothing else. Matcha tea is definitely an acquired taste. It’s very earthy, salty, and foamy on top. Many people rever this tea, I must be sincere, didn’t have enough time to appreciate it. The tea ceremony was exceptional, the master made me feel very special.

Arima, Japan – Tea ceremony room
Arima, Japan – Tea ceremony Zen garden

The tea ceremony room in Arima, Japan, was surrounded by a calming Zen garden, well maintained and very beautiful. My long time friend Chieko was so happy I wanted to experience her culture, I did the same when she went Italy to visit the country.

My friend Chieko and I after the tea ceremony

Tea is a social drink, it brings hearts and people together, everyone feels freer to talk about even intimate businesses when in front of a cup of tea, but that’s true about food in general. People become convivial and loosen up around food. It’s easy to forget hard moments in front of a carefully made cup of tea. Ciao,
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble


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