This past Sunday, my legs and my hungry ambition took me for a new kind of workout – the ‘TerroirRun’. The TerroirRun event is one of a kind, an 11 km adventure through the finest wineries in the Prince Edward County, known for its vibrant diversity of gastronomic delights – cheese, coffee, chocolate, you crave it? They have it.

Now I know what you are thinking, what is so exciting about running such a distance, sure the scenery is amazing but what else? Well, in addition to the amazing outdoor clean air, long rows of various grapes and the divine company (shout out to Mike Chalut and Patti Goldberg!) I had the pleasure of tasting various wines from the wineries along the way – The Old Third, Broken Stone, Closson Chase, Hinterland, to name a few.

I must admit that I was pleasantly taken aback by the soft rolling hills and stretching roads, it is such a great change of pace. Each stop was unique, not only because of the wines but the different atmosphere of each winery. You can imagine that after about half way through, running was optional and the chase shifted to find out what was next, so we ran, walked, then ran some more, with out taste buds tingling for more fruity goodness. And boy did they deliver!

Somewhere along the way we forgot that we were running for charity (all the proceeds from the run went to the Food Banks Canada) and just enjoyed the moment of running in the fresh wind, having a break with great people and enjoying the fine taste of what the county had to offer.

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terroir (1)

Another event that took place on the same day was Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium. The event took place at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club, featuring four different chefs, making the event a cook off a success! The Tea Emporium was one of the sponsors of the event and my team was proud to present two amazing teas to sample – Sunburst Raspberry and Fujian White Rose. We are so proud to be a part of something bigger – all the money raised is going to My Food My Way foundation, and we couldn’t be happier!

Bruce Woods’ winning creation – yum!

 

I know that Mother’s Day is officially over but I wanted to mention that the “Everything She Loves” event we took part in at the Bay was a great success! We managed to accommodate over 200 people with tasty cups of Rooibos Provence and Green Tea Sweet Lemon. I am always delighted when I get a chance to be a part of the city’s events, it is always such a refreshing experience! I hope that you got a chance to come out and taste our teas, mingle and shop, if not, I can assure you there are plenty event to come!

There is also a special event that is coming up – “Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium” on May 26th! For more details please visit http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/blog/abbeys-kitchen-stadium-battle-one-coming/, signup and join us! I am so proud to be a part of this great event, and I hope you can make it as well! The event is in support of promoting healthy nutritional choices for youth – My Food My Way and as aproud supporter of the cause, I am honored to be a part of the sponsor team.

I am also patiently awaiting the amazing summer event – the World Tea Expo, happening this June in Las Vegas. You can join me and other tea lovers on this wonderful opportunity to learn about tea, see new amazing products and connect with some amazing individuals attending and exhibiting. Sign up and join in the fun! For more information on the event please visit http://www.worldteaexpo.com/

For more updates and upcoming events, follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/teaemporium!

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Well the summer is here…and the bbq’s will be on…and the drinks will be flowing!   Yay Toronto, we are allowed to officially say that WINTER IS OVER!!  There!  I said it!  If we get a freak snowstorm, you can yell at me 🙂

I will be spending my weekend partially gardening, partially meeting with a client, partially preparing for the Tea Sommelier class I’m teaching next week, partially with friends tonight bbq’ing and partially with my family.  Yes, a lot of partiallys.

A long weekend is not a long weekend though without a fabulous cocktail recipe.  So, the intention here was to create a tea based Kir Royale, hence the name.  You can absolutely smell and taste the black currant.  But for some amazing fluke of cosmic interference, the combination of the Black Currant tea and the Prosecco produces a concoction that tastes like a fruit beer – actually, exactly like Frühli.  So…what better cocktail to make for your Victoria Day BBQ???

kir

I am always amazed by how many opportunities there are to meet new people and form new bonds. These bonds are so important to me because I get to learn, grow and get a chance to rework myself to become a better individual. For me, personal growth has a great affect on my business growth. The way I see it, is that there is a direct connection between what I stand for morally, and what I want my business to represent.  My personal growth is mostly attributed to a constant exchange of thoughts, ideas and inspiration among my friends, colleagues and acquaintances. This process of sharing similar views is the foundation of bonds, friendships and alliances – all very crucial for my personal and professional growth.

One of the reasons I am such an avid lover of forming new connections is because people are in a lot of ways providers of insight and clarity. There is not a day that goes by without me learning, and advancing. Yes, we all have our setbacks, but the way I see it is that if there is a clear goal in mind, then all setbacks are part of the process of getting there. I need to emphasize that people come and go, but the experiences we have, good or bad, will be always in one way or another – insightful, never useless. Whether it is business or our personal lives, people we meet and let into our lives represent steps on a ladder towards our goals and aspirations.

This April, I got a chance to be a part of the small business owner’s panel at the CEB (Marketing to Small Business Leadership Council) summit in Miami. It was such a great opportunity to not only represent my brand along with many other small businesses, but to meet new and exciting individuals who share a passion for innovation and creative thinking – a big shout out to Christine Russell, co-founder of 889 Yoga, with whom I share not only the passion for making new bonds but strengthening your own bond with yourself. I think part of what makes our new alliance so great is that our business models are examples of a family based business that cares and treats customers as individuals, rather than consumers. The bond we establish with our companies is that of understanding, support and knowledgeability. We, as owners of small businesses, want to bring back the spiritual essence of bonding with the product. For me personally, that implies that the tea I sell is a representation of purity, health and tranquility – a brand I stand behind a hundred percent.

For some, bonds are simple, for others, they are complex. The beauty is in those who share them and what message they are conveying. Next time you make an alliance, ask yourself what it represents, and hopefully the answer will comfort you, make you discover something new about yourself or those around you. And even if it doesn’t, there are many more opportunities out there, you just have to seize them.

 miami

Mother’s Day is a special day for my family and me. We celebrate it every year, with everyone around a dinner table, laughing, talking, eating, drinking – needless to say, we have a lot of fun. The best part of this wonderful tradition is that it involves people that truly make it special. My mom and I extend the invitation to our closest family members and their children. It is always a full house, filled with love and happiness.

This year we will be celebrating at Patria, a beautiful restaurant on King West, which will be a great treat for all. It’s nice to mix it up sometimes. In the past, we have done a few gatherings at my house, mostly for brunch. Last time I made Baked eggs and Black Forest ham cups, yum! And of course, no occasion goes by without my specialty iced tea – Jasmine with freshly squeezed lemon juice – refreshing and delicious!

Mother’s day has always been a little bit different for me because unlike most daughters out there, I have two moms, so to speak (my mom has a twin). So for our family, this day has become a celebration of two great mothers that did so much to make their children and family happy. We are so proud to have them in our lives. I am so grateful to be able to share this day with people whom I care so much about and most importantly with people who have helped me to become who I am today. I love them with all my heart.

Mother’s Day is about saying thank you to women who played a major role in helping you discover who you truly are, women who sacrificed so much and dedicated their lives insuring that you have the ability to grow, persevere and succeed. Tell your mothers you love them, because it means absolutely the world to them.

I love you Mom.

Mom and I

I am trying something different this spring and I want to share my excitement about a new favourite dish of mine. The concept is simple – fermented tea. The taste however, is everything but. The name of this wonderful dish is Lahpet thohk [green tea+salad] – a Burmese national delicacy made from fermented or pickled tea.

Many of you know that tea is a native to Myanmar, so it is of no wonder why this dish has become so popular. The tea is picked in April and May, and only the best tea leaves are selected for fermentation (leaves are steamed for five minutes before the fermentation process itself). Lahpet thohk is a dish that you will expect to find in many tea shops and Burmese restaurants, but rarely outside of Myanmar.

The dish is served on a special platter called laphet ohk, and surrounded by other traditional condiments such as peanuts, peas, garlic shrimp and toasted sesame. The taste is very unusual, but is something one simply can’t resist. It is mostly described as bittersweet and praised for its medicinal quality of maintaining or improving the digestive system. Even though this dish has been fermented, it remains a stimulant and aids those who need a jump start to their morning.

Lahpet is a symbol of peace, consumed after settling a dispute in the ancient times. Today, it is offered to family, friends and guests. Traditionally, this dish is served at the end of the meal, much like tea or coffee in the end of a Western meal.

For this dish, you will need to purchase lightly fermented tea leaves (Sencha or Pi Lo Chun) and start by soaking them in water overnight in order to remove any bitterness.

Without further ado, here is a wonderful recipe I found on blogs.kcrw.com, featuring a recipe by Naomi Duguid, from her book Burma: Rivers of Flavour

You will need:

“About 3/4 cup fermented tea leaves, rinsed and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seeds, lightly ground

2 to 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, whole or coarsely chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons fried split roasted soybeans

1/2 cup thin tomato wedges

2 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained

1 cup shredded green cabbage

Salt

At least 6 hours before you wish to serve the salad, place the tea leaves in lukewarm water and mash with your hands a little. Drain and squeeze out. Repeat, then add cold water and let stand for 1 hour (or as long as overnight). Drain, squeeze thoroughly to remove excess water, and discard any tough bits. Chop finely by hand or in a food processor; set aside. If serving the salad unmixed, omit the tomato and cabbage. Place small piles of all the ingredients on a platter, or put each ingredient in a small bowl and place the bowls on a platter. Serve the dressing, if using, in a separate small bowl. Put out spoons with each ingredient, or invite guests to use their hands. If serving as a mixed salad, combine all the ingredients (except salt) in a bowl. Mix with your hands, separating any clumped tea leaves and the shreds of cabbage to blend everything thoroughly. Add the dressing ingredients and blend thoroughly with your hands. Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings if you wish.”

For more details and to learn more about the wonderful culture of Myanmar as well as its national dish, visit http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/2012/12/recipe-burmese-tea-leaf-salad/

I hope that all of you will try this, and when you do, let me know how it turns out!