I am a heavy drinker; of tea, that is. My afternoons are consumed by tea breaks, it starts with bringing water to the boil, counting the spoons, deciding whether it’s going to be tea from Assam or Darjeeling, Kusmi or Fortnum & Mason, pure or with some fancy aroma, Earl Grey or Queen Mary, with or without milk, there a thousands of questions to be answered with a every new brew. And then there’s the question of the cup, elegant or convenient, convenient meaning big enough not having to pour a new cup after every sip. My favourite convenient cup is actually a bouillon cup, a bouillon cup that lost one of its handles many a year ago, turning itself into a tea cup (I’m to blame for that—coincidence? I think not), it’s big enough for a bouillon spoon, Carson, the butler at Downton Abbey told us about these somewhat démodé items of cutlery, but more importantly, it’s big enough for a heavy drinker’s mouthfuls. I love that cup. And I think I’m having another pot of that organic grown Assam now. Milk in first.
I’ve been feverish and cranky for days now, I’ve been doing nothing but coughing and sneezing and complaining about it. You see, I am a victim of the worst flu ever. I had to spend New Year’s Eve in bed, and when I finally woke up from the fireworks, which were great as I was later told, the fireworks were over. Then I slept some more. And then, my mother brought me the best tea ever, some strong Assam from Mangalam with milk, accompanied by the best sandwiches ever, basically toast, cream cheese and some herbs. I can’t say that I feel any better, but I’m certainly a lot less cranky.
Red is the most beautiful colour. There are red roses to enjoy in your garden or to give to your sweetheart (yes, I’m a romantic), there are redheads to fall in love with (just like Charlie Brown did, hopefully much more succesful than he, but that’s another story), there’s red wine (the best beverage in the world), and then there is rose hip tea, the reddest (or is it “the most red”?) of teas. Not only is its colour a nice contrast to any blue and white china, much nicer than the depressing brown of a strong Assam for example, it’s also very healthy and you can have it after dinner without risking counting endless series of sheep jumping over a fence for the rest of the night and then having to answer to your colleagues why you look so very tired in the morning. So, in order to stay well rested and healthy, I order rose hip tea for everyone!
Just a short note in between articles:
After the shock of being strangled to death by my Balmain jeans—oh, what a shock that was—I decided to go on a diet. And a very strict diet, too. No more cake. No more gummy bears. No more anything. Not even organic banana bread. With tea, I’ll just have a good book now and that’s it. At least, until I fit into my clothes again. I think, I’ll have to skip Christmas this year…
There’s a photographic error in this photo, the tea box should say Nuit à Versailles, too, not only 277, I mean what kind of information is that anyway, 277, just a stupid number, not even a nice one, but that damn Stelton cork-screw covers that tea’s much more evoking name of a night in Versailles. It’s a very tasty green tea, aromes of peaches, violets, kiwis, orange blossoms, and other yummy stuff that is to transport us to this magical place in France. Actually, just as it happens, I’ve never been to Versailles, however near to Paris, not once, so I’ve no idea whether there are any peach trees and violets in the palace’s gardens or not, kiwis are from New Zealand anyway, so I don’t really trust them, these fancy Dammann brothers. They just tell you n’importe quoi. Versailles, however, has a very culinary sound to me, my parents often visit, but rather the weekly market in the old town of Versailles than the palace itself, my mother always brings home artichokes, organic ones, of course, over the years it has become kind of a family thing to have our artichokes from Versailles, so whenever I see or eat an artichoke, I don’t think of the South of France where they grow but of Versailles, and I’m kind of disappointed that there aren’t any in this blend—but on the other hand, who wants a tea tasting and smelling of artichokes?
We had a guest who considers herself international. In fact, she’s got two passports, did her baccalauréat in Paris and over the years, she’s spent more time in California than some Hollywood actors. Much more. As a consequence, she constantly speaks four languages, sometimes all of them together, language barriers obviously are not hers to ever cope with, and so we happily adapted: over tea and under the walnut tree, we played Scrabble in three languages. Strangely enough, the extension of our vocabulary didn’t make it easier at all. So I layed out “Dieu” to get some help from above…
Some time ago, in 2015 to be precise, when photos on Instagram were all square, I mistook myself for a food stylist and arranged everything I ate and drank in a fancy manner—a manner Marella Agnelli played a big part in, or the book on her I had just bought the same year at a Zurich book shop. I arranged müesli, tea or some cake from Sprüngli’s on some fine china, placed it on dear Marella, took enough shots to choose a best one from, and posted it on Instagram—not very successfully though, the New York Times food section never called, 23 likes just don’t turn you into an influencer, I guess. Anyway, I would have forgotten all about it, if these very pictures hadn’t attracted somebody’s attention again just now, today, after all these years, after all these billions and billions of photos we see on Instagram—it must be a sign. And so I give you the 2015 Marella Agnelli Food Shoot.