Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There He Sits....

There he sits, still slightly damp and grungy from a backyard gardening adventure involving a chainsaw and several large implements and bags of soil and compost. He is semi-reclined on his porch swing; the Saturday paper tossed on the floor; the dog hanging out underneath; and in his hand a man-sized cup of tea. He takes his with milk and honey.  Venturing into his kitchen we find a pile of spent teabags on a plate, and a spoon with a small bit of milky tea remaining. Honey close by. He’s a sight to behold: well over six feet tall, fit in body, kind in the face, and decorated from neck to foot with the artwork of a retired sailor. My friend, Stuart, is not the kind you would automatically picture when you think of taking tea. But there he is….taking tea.

When I first began my tea adventure about fourteen years ago, I thought of pretty tables, dainty sandwiches, sweets, and guests in their finery. It was a beautiful picture and a tasty occasion. The thought of creating this scene day after day intrigued and intimidated me. Then I got to know some regular tea drinkers, and studied tea and tea customs from around the world. There are many to learn. But if you look at any culture that drinks tea, you will find a full spectrum of   formality as well as a full spectrum of tea drinking types.  I began to relax. From remote huts in Asian countries where tea is prepared over an open fire on a dirt floor, to the minimalist opulence of the tea room and tea ceremony, tea is enjoyed by all, in all types of settings. The important and meaningful take-away is that the beverage refreshes and so has become a regular part of the daily routine.  If at four o’clock in the afternoon you are tired, then the tea will wake you up a bit and lend that extra energy to get you to the end of the day. If, on the other hand, you are stressed and worked up, the tea will calm and soothe you. Now you can see why it is so popular the world over. 

So the dilemma becomes how to introduce and serve tea to our guests. Our philosophy is one of full inclusion. We work to prepare fine high tea parties. We include several sandwiches, sweets, scones, doilies, 3-tiered racks, fresh flowers, and live “tea music”. I love these events. The ladies (and some gentlemen) come in their finery, all smiles and happiness. They sit a bit straighter than you think they otherwise would. We all use our best manners, and everyone goes home with a story to tell. On a regular day in the shop, we serve a simpler tea. On these days we get to meet people where they are. We make no demands where etiquette is concerned; not a single comment about your pinkies or your posture. If you’re tired and need to be refreshed, we’re happy to let you slouch in your chair a bit and wait for the tea to do its work.

If you are new to tea and need a little hand holding, we can walk you through the tea list and suggest something new to try. If you are British, we will make sure that the water is boiling when it is poured over your leaves. The English tea blends are especially strong and most people enjoy them with milk and sugar. Other types of tea can be enjoyed without sweeteners. Their subtle flavors are fun to start collecting. My favorite tea at the moment is an Oolong called Ti Kuan Yin, or Iron Goddess of Mercy. It is simple and earthy and requires no additions. Add to your tea visit a scone or two, a cheese plate, or a slice of homemade cake. If you are trying to introduce your man to tea, a good place to start might be with a Gun Powder tea. Just knowing it has that name might take some of the fussiness out of it for him. Then you can move straight into the Smokey Russian Caravan, which smells like a campfire. We are here for him too. If need be we will remove the white table cloth to reveal the masculine brown cloth beneath.  Before long he won’t think twice about pouring up a cup of Monkey Picked or even Earl Grey. Then he may be only a few pots of tea away from a tattoo. Just ask my friend, Stuart.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We have finally gotten our downstairs freezer fixed.  And as such we are getting it filled with Bangers (Sausage: English and Irish), Irish Back Bacon, Meat Pies, Pasties, Shepherd's Pies, Steak & Kidney Pies, Irish Black and White Pudding and many other products.
It has been a long day here at The CURIOSITY Shop.  We received a shipment of Scandinavian goodies: Pearl Sugar, Zotz Fizz Stings, Ritter Sport Bars (thirteen different kinds), Kolner Zuchen Hut (a sugar cone from Denmark), and Anna's Almond, Orange and Ginger Thins.
Oh, and Marabou Daim candy bars from Sweden.
Thankfully, David Hallman has been in town and volunteered to help out around the store!
If you have not been in lately - you should drop by - our shelves are getting pretty full.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Irish  Since  1905

Robert Roberts Luxury Kenyan Tea.
80 Tea Bags per Carton.
Robert Roberts Luxury Kenyan Fairtrade Tea is blended from the finest of teas east of the Rift Valley in Kenya. The teas grown in this area are famous for their flavour, strength and bright colour. This is a full flavoured tea ideal for those who like their tea strong. This product is certified to international Fairtrade standards, providing a better deal for producers in developing countries.
Full flavoured single origin tea.

Product of Ireland     Net Wt  250gm     $ 9.98

Goodall's has been at the heart of Irish kitchens since 1933.

Mixed Spice is native to various different countries. It is precisely what it sounds like – a ready blended mixture of favourite spices for cooks who like to play safe.

Mixed Spice has a sweet flavour and is a blend of all of your favourite spices!!
It’s aroma is a bouquet of nutmeg, paprika and ginger.

Mixed Spice can be used with virtually anything. Ideal with cakes, biscuits, meat, poultry and fish.
Mixed Spice should be stored in a cool dark cupboard to maintain the best flavour.
Mixed Spice is an excellent ingredient to add to gingerbread and gingercakes.

Did you know…?
Long ago a cupboard full of spices was a sign of wealth and spice mixtures were an even more lavish mark of prestige.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our  Fall  Shipments  Are  Coming  In

The CURIOSITY Shop is one of the oldest Tea Shops in the United States!
As such you will be pleased to note that we are in the process of receiving our Fall 2012 Tea Shipments.
Just today we received quite a few Trade Teas:

Alvita Chamomile
Alvita Ginger Root
Alvita Red Raspberry
Alvita Rose Hips
Alvita Valerian
Barry's Gold Label
Choice Green Jasmine
Choice Oolong
Choice Kukicha Twig
Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus
Mighty Leaf Green Spring Jasmine
Numi Black Chinese Breakfast
Numi Black Golden Chai
Numi Black Aged Earl Grey
Numi Green Gunpowder
Numi Green Rooibos
Numi Moroccan Mint
Yogi Green Kombucha

Over the next week we expect to have our shelves bursting at the seems!

Our  Fall  Shipments  Are  Coming  In

The distinct high quality and flavor of this specialty mustard is due to the traditional grinding of the mustard seeds with sliex grindstones. Ingredients include: water, mustard seeds, vinegar, salt and spices.

Faithful companion to choice cuisine, Dijon mustard enjoys a special position in the history of gastronomy. Appreciated since antiquity for its aroma and vigorous taste, fine mustard reached new quality standards with the introduction of official laws governing production in 1634 in Dijon France.
Advancing from handmade means to stone grinding, pressing and sieving the seeds, a production site in the center of nearby Beaune, ancient capital of Burgundy wine, was established in 1840. Here the firm of Edmond Fallot continues the uncompromising production of Dijon mustard by stone grinding the seeds, artfully blending them with the best ingredients and following Fallot's own family recipes. These methods result in an intense flavorful taste not available in commercially produce "Dijon style" mustards.

Fallot Traditional Dijon Mustard   $ 5.75 

Fallot Tarragon Dijon Mustard   $ 5.94

Fallot Honey Balsamic Mustard   $ 5.94

Fallot Walnut Mustard   $ 6.56

Fallot Mustard Mill has been an independent, family-owned Burgundy company since 1840. While it has outstanding production facilities, it has also maintained the expertise of the artisan mustard maker.

Eager to fully satisfy the strictest quality and food safety requirements, Fallot Mustard Mill decided to pursue an accreditation process in this area.

They rose to the challenge: their production unit was awarded IFS (International Food Standard) certification.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

pourable  sunshine

Heinz® Salad Cream was the first brand developed exclusively for the UK market. When first created in Heinz’ Harlesden (London) kitchens in 1925 much of the preparation was done by hand.
This salad cream is a tasty way to liven up salads, sandwiches, baked potatoes, burgers and chips. Its unique taste turns ordinary food into delicious dishes - instantly!
Ingredients: Spirit Vinegar, Canola oil, Water, Sugar, Mustard, Salt, Egg yolks, Modified Corn Starch, xantham gum, guar gum, coloured with riboflavin.

Product of Netherlands Net Wt 425gm (15oz) $ 7.50

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


The perfect filling is ready for you to add fresh eggs and butter and bake in your own pie shell for a Perfect Pecan Pie every time.
And for chocolate lovers we also carry Chocolate Pecan Pie In A Jar.


Wholly Wholesome 9" Pie Shell

Wholly Wholesome 9" Pie Shell     $ 5.00

Monday, August 13, 2012

The CURIOSITY Shop is pleased to announce the arrival of our Fall Shipment of Leaf Teas.


A tropical and sub-tropical evergreen plant whose leaves are harvested and cured in order to produce white, green, oolong, pu-erh, and black teas.  Its two main varieties are Camellia Sinensis varation sinensis, or Chinese Tea, and Camellia sinensis variation assamica, or Assam tea (NOTE: Assam is a state in Northeast India that produces more tea than any other region in the world). The plant also goes by the names tea plant, tea tree, and tea shrub, and is usually trimmed to below six-and-a-half feet when cultivated for its leaves.  If a drink is truly tea (as opposed to an herbal infusion), it must be derived from the leaves of this bush.  - FRESH CUP August 2012

The CURIOSITY Shop has just received a new shipment of organic produce!
Included in the shipment:

Honeydew Melon
Carrots with Tops
Broccoli Heads
Sweet Baby Broccoli
Watermelon (Seedless)
Fuji Apples
Yellow Onions
Tomato (Red and Roma)
Russet Potatoes
Green Seedless Grapes
Red Plums

Italian Parsley
Baby Dill
Bay Leaves
Edible Flowers

All of these are in our coolers and available for purchase.
They are all certified organic!

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Orleans Kettle Style Potato Chips
Cajun Made,  Kettle Cooked

The CURIOSITY Shop has just received a new batch of Zapp's Potato Chips!
They start out with selected potatos, slice them thicker and cook them a batch at a time, in their own designed kettles.  This gives them a louder crunch and a heartier potato taste.  And that's before they season them.

Product of Louisiana

Regular     1.00

Sour Cream & Creole Onion     1.00

Sea Salted Sweet Potato Chips     1.00

Spicy Cajun Crawtators     1.00

Salt & Vinegar     1.00

Voodoo     1.00