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Friday, October 18, 2013

Avoiding Earl Grey tea with...Suzi Love

"Is it perfume?'
Is it tea?
Whatever it is it does nothing for me
Should I drink it?
Or dab it on?
Can I swap it for a coffee or has all the water gone?..." 
(lyrics from Earl Grey by Enda Kenny)

My taste (or not) for Earl Grey tea is becoming infamous and here to join me for a cup of tea and a chat this week, is the irrepressible SUZI LOVE, one the of the most generous writers I have come across. Her knowledge of all things Regency which she shares through her blog and her Pinterest boards is astounding... So is she here to discuss muslin and lace? No...she is going to torment me with a post about Earl Grey tea... Enjoy!

Alison, I know you loathe Earl Grey Tea, so instead of trying to convince you how lovely it is (AS:  errrkk...), I'll share some of my favorite Weird and Wonderful facts about Earl Grey Tea. Which will probably convince you even more to never lift a cup of Earl Grey to your lips.
Basic Facts:
Traditionally, the term "Earl Grey" was only used  for black teas that contain oil of bergamot, which gives it a citrus aroma and taste.

Disputed Facts: 

·         Earl Grey's Mixture is assumed  to be named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister  in the 1830s, who reputedly received a diplomatic gift of tea  flavoured with bergamot oil by an envoy returning from China. 

·       Jacksons of Piccadilly claim they originated Earl Grey's Tea after Lord Grey gave  the recipe to a Robert Jackson & Co. partner  in 1830 and the recipe, based on China tea, has been produced by them ever since.

·         However,  the Grey family states that  the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey to suit the water at the family seat,  Howick Hall, in Northumberland, and the bergamot was added to offset  lime in the local water. Lady Grey used it when entertaining in London as a political hostess and it became so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it as a brand.

Weird and wonderful?

Would you like to try some foods flavoured with Earl Grey tea? 
(AS...No I would not!)

·         How about Breakfast Banana Bread with Earl Grey?
·         Or perhaps a Kit Kat Earl Grey from Japan?
·         Have you tried any cakes, confectionery, or chocolates flavoured with the tea?  For sweet recipes, loose tea is added to melted butter or hot cream and strained after the flavour is infused.
·         What about savoury sauces?  Tea bags are added to the basic stock, boiled for a few minutes, and the bags discarded.

The tea itself?
Earl Grey drinkers are revolting...????
·         Bergamot is a source of bergamottin which causes the grapefruit juice effect, where juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs. An Austrian man, in a study, drank four litres of Earl Grey a day, equivalent to at least 16 cups of tea, and the overdose of essence of bergamot caused muscle cramps. Moral of the story? If you only drink one litre of Early Grey a day, you’ll stay healthy. (AS A litre of the stuff???)
·         When Jackson's sold the recipe to Fitch Lovell food manufacturing in 1985, it caused world turmoil because the recipe had been traditionally processed for 155 years at Jackon's.
·         When Twinings changed the flavour of its Earl Grey, tea drinkers rose up in revolt. The ultimate storm in a teacup. And Twinings had to make the original recipe again, though they kept their new version as well. (London Telegraph)

'Tea with cake' takes on a new meaning!

Earl Grey tea cream and Eccles cakes by Marcus Wareing from Great British Menu

·         Earl Grey tea creams are mixed like a  crème caramel while the pastry is chilling.
·         But don't leave the bags to steep or the creams will taste like stewed tea. Ewww!
·          Milk, cream, tea bags, and sugar are boiled, egg yolks sieved into the mixture, and left to set overnight.

I get excited about different genres and eras and write in a few.  A mix of historical romance  - Early Victorian, Regency Noir, Erotica… plus….an outback medical.
Though always romance, the language of love…  Ah …. L’amour!
Find out more about Suzi at her WEBSITE.

SUZI's latest book:  THE VISCOUNT'S PLEASURE HOUSE will be released on 3 December
Historical erotic romance

Lady Chrissie Wellsby and her two country friends research dozens of rogues before selecting the notorious Viscount Hawkesbury, owner of London’s most exclusive and expensive brothel, to educate them in erotic seduction. The ladies coerce Justin Tremayne into letting them visit The Pleasure House and to teaching them the sensual tricks mistresses and prostitutes use to entertain men. Justin concedes to Chrissie’s demands simply to gain information about his long-lost mother and sisters, yet he falls head over heels in love with his pupil. But can he convince Chrissie to take a chance and marry again?


PS... I have been asked WHY I so dislike Earl Grey tea. The answer is that it was the "drink de jour" when I was in Year 12 at school and we felt we were all grown up with our own little kitchen. EVERYONE drank Earl Grey (probably because we felt it was a classy, grown up sort of thing to do) and Moccona instant coffee. We drank gallons of the even the smell takes me back to the Year 12 centre!