Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday Update

I can't believe that it is over! It seems as though every year the holidays go by faster than the last. We had a great holiday both personally and professionally. The web site kept us busy right up until the 22nd, wrapping, making bows and shipping lots of holiday cheer. We even fit in the green market on the 23rd, another rainy one, before leaving for a little r & r with family on the eastern shore of Maryland. We visited, enjoyed the cool weather, bowled duck pins, shot skeet and just relaxed, something that we have vowed to do more of in 2007.

Not so different from everyone else we ate and ate and then ate some more! Thank goodness we had plenty of tea to wash it all down. No coincidence we drank mostly oolongs, keeping high metabolism and flushing fats is critical to that kind of over indulgence. Every time we start drinking a lot of one particular tea category I always develop a favorite or two, my new oolong favs are the Shui Xian dark Chinese oolong and the new Fanciest Formosa Bai Hao Dong also a dark oolong but Taiwanese.

O.K. since I am mentioning tea I have to tell you about the incredible Golden Dragon Aged oolong from Taiwan! Not previously familiar with this type of oolong this was an awesome new discovery. The tea has a amber hue in the cup, large leaves and twigs and a finish that I can only describe as golden raisins, wow.

One of the highlights of our trip was an evening in Baltimore for dinner and the theatre. We discovered a wonderful Afghan restaurant "Helmand" where we ate some more. They served a black tea with cardamom which my sister-in-law enjoyed, a little late for me to be drinking caffeine so I had to trust her palate, delicious traditional foods and a scrumptious vanilla ice cream with cardamom, what a treat.

I started reading a great book while away Untangling My Chopsticks by Victoria Abbott Riccardi. It is an insightful, easy to read book about Victoria's culinary experiences during her year long stay in Kyoto studying tea kaiseki, the traditional meal served prior to the tea ceremony. I am really enjoying the way Riccardi gives a glimpse of the history and richness of tea and food cultural in Japan and intertwines details of preparation and tastes.
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I am going to share some of the things I found interesting in the book via the blog and may even do some cooking, because Riccardi shares recipes in the book I may try my hand at some. I am definitely going to need a second copy for myself and am sure that this will be a gift for friends in 2007.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous 2007! Beth

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