Last month we launched our new Sunday Tea Tasting series. This afternoon tea experience is structured like our Wine Mondays, with all guests arriving at the same time. One Sunday a month we will gather at 3:00 to enjoy a themed afternoon tea with some special surprises, as well as taste our way through five different teas. The menu, teas and discussion on our first session on Nepal was lively and varied!
Along with discussing and tasting the various teas, we had the opportunity to chat about some of the local customs and cuisine of Nepal. We shared a welcoming drink made with Alliya, a Nepalese liquor distilled traditionally from either millet or rice. This is often made at home to serve to special guests (which of course our L’Espalier guests are!) or at festival time.
The last tea that we tasted was a Himalayan salted butter tea. When enjoyed in Tibet and Nepal it is traditionally made from Yak butter, but Yak butter is curiously hard to come by in Boston, so we enjoyed a version made from a recipe shared with me on my recent trip to the Illam tea district in Nepal utilizing cows milk. Rather than the clear glass teapots that we used for our other tasting teas, to best enjoy the color, clarity and hue of the teas, we enjoyed our salted butter tea from authentic Nepalese teapots.
As we finished up our meal, our guests had a chance to taste some lapsi, a popular Nepalese snack. The brown-orange squares shown are lapsi, a sugared dried fruit that tastes like a wonderful combination of mango and passion fruit perhaps with a touch of tamarind thrown in. The darker pieces are a variation that consists of pureed lapsi combined with salt, chilies and spices, then dried and fermented. Quite popular in Nepal, but the general opinion at our tasting is that it is an acquired taste!
At L’Espalier we are looking forward to Sunday, October 21st when we will take a focused look at the teas of Fujian province, China, the birthplace of both white and oolong teas. There are so many exquisite teas from that region, that my biggest challenge was deciding which teas for us to feature. But you’ll need to join us next week to find out.