Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tea Travels North of the Border: weddings, chocolate, shopping and lots of tea in Canada

While still sorting out photos and mementos from tea travels in London this past July, we set out on another international tea-filled trip, although this time, not quite so far away. Heading north of the border, my husband, Chris, and I drove from Detroit to Kingston, Ontario two weeks ago for our cousin's wedding. This mini-vacation combined all my favorite things: family, friends, weddings, vineyards, shopping, tea rooms, and, of course, lots and lots of tea.

Saturday morning - the day of the wedding - we went to the Farmer's Market in downtown Kingston. Lucky for us, Cha Cha Tea was in attendance and we were treated to a sample some of their delicious green tea. The good folks from this Kingston tea store prepared matcha tea in the traditional fashion,whipping it into a frothy lime green concoction with a bamboo whisk.

From the open air market, we walked down Brock Street to Cooke's Fine Foods. In business since 1865, this store offers a great selection of gourmet foods, coffees and teas in charming vintage Victorian decor. We were so transfixed on their shelves of tea, we totally ignored another cousin who had, unbeknownst to us, entered Cooke's around the same time we did. After apologies erupted and, as quickly, graciously accepted, we moved next to the candy area. Here we found another tea treasure: Roger's "High Tea" chocolate bar.
Another Canadian treasure, Roger's Chocolate began in the back of Charles "Candy" Rogers' grocery store in 1885 in Victoria, British Columbia. Today, with their own master chocolatier, they continue to create new and tastey chocolate treats. I'm not sure who to credit the High Tea chocolate bar to, but it successfully combines the very sweet taste of chocolate with the bold flavor of black tea. It also proved to be a great emergency snack on the way home as we experienced the familiar traffic slowdowns through Toronto on the Canadian autobahn, the 401.

Our cousin's wedding on Saturday night was what you hope for all weddings: it was beautiful and filled with joy. And, this union joined not only bride and groom, but a blended family of five daughters. The genuine affection of the family was so touching, I found I was, once again, outfitted with an inadequate amount of tissues.
The next day, the newly married couple invited us all to their home for a lunch buffet. Our hostess served us tea in generous-sized mugs, which inspired a "tea-scape", an abbreviated tablescape (top right). The tea was as warm and inviting as our hosts and we are so happy for them - and for the chance to have been a part of this big event.

Fortified with tea and munchies, we started back home, but with a slight detour to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Well known for its Shaw-themed theaters and abundance of wineries, we'd been interested in checking this place out for some time. I can tell you, we weren't disappointed. Our next blog will feature an amazing tea room we found on the main street of NOTL. Keeping with our international theme, we were back across the pond while still at our neighbor-to-the-north. And, still drinking lots and lots of tea!


parTea lady said...

Looks like you had a wonderful trip. Matcha tea at the farmer's market must have been a treat and Cooke's Fine Foods a great place to shop. Roger's High Tea chocolate bars sound yummy.

It's probably been over thirty years since I was in Kingston, but I did visit Niagara-on-the-Lake a few years ago.

Thanks for the links.

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