Everyday Can Be Ice Cream Day

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If it were doable I’d have every post be an homage to a holiday, birthday, or some other occasion/event.    I’m gonna change it up again, while still keeping the integrity of the tea discussion intact.

This leads me to the belated celebration of National Ice Cream Day, which was on the 17th. Yes I’m a week or so late.  But as the title says, any day is the perfect day for ice cream. And the title says so, so you must believe it.  That’s a bit of sarcasm for you.

As an added bonus, it’s National Ice Cream Month.  I could go on rambling about how every month can be ice cream… well you get the idea.

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You may have heard of this company, Häagen-Dazs, and they produce said ice cream. Several weeks ago I went searching for their Green Tea flavor at a multitude of grocery stores, to no avail.  What I did find, you can read about here and it was fantastic.  This time I wasn’t even looking and while lumbering along the frozen food aisle, it magically appeared.  Yes I find it magical.

So with all that pedestal raising out of the way, I had high expectations.   I haven’t tried any of their flavors of anything in a couple of years.  It could be more, but it’s never on my radar.  Not for any particular reason, other than I like to support my local ice cream parlors and independent brands, where I can.

And more reviews of some local flavor may be forthcoming.  But I’ll say this, if I did a blind test, I would not guess this is green tea.  It tasted like vanilla with an added dimension of something unknown.   It would take a while to get to Matcha.    So I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy.  Even with this scorching heat and a refreshing treat (hey, that rhymed!) I was dissatisfied.

HaagenGreenTeaIceCreamUpCloseIt’s not terrible, it’s just not as advertised.  The nutrition facts tell a story of high fat, sugars, and green tea listed at the end.  I may be reading way too much into this, but I find that hilarious and ironic.   This is why you shouldn’t always expect the best, even if their reputation speaks for itself.

However, my hope for you is that you enjoy your favorite flavor of ice cream, not just during this month-long event, but all year round.  It pains me to say that while summer accelerates, we still have time to relax outside with our favorite drinks, food, and company to go along with it.

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Even if what you might be noshing or sipping on may not be the best, the place you’re in may be able to compensate for that, as was the case for me.

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It’s been feeling and nearing triple digits for the past few days, that may be unbearable for some.  I have found myself wanting to remain inside as well but I will never complain about this heat because before you know it, it’ll be gone.  And I want to enjoy every moment of this season I can.

I’m wishing everyone a happy and healthy next couple of days as we remain near record highs.  Stay safe, stay hydrated, and hope you enjoy some comforting teas and ice cream.

Back to my regularly scheduled posts next week. Maybe 🙂

Stay cool,

Ideen

 

National Iced…

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As some of you might have known, National Iced Tea Day was on June 10th.  Yes this is an actual event and why the workplace and classroom remained open for this momentous of holidays is baffling to me.   This is as important as it gets ladies and gentlemen.

In all seriousness, I had a cold beverage or two in mind to write about, but all bets are off.  I wanted to do it all little different this time.

Once again this idea came to me just hours ago.   The weather is flourishing.   The sun is out, the temperature is up, and the heat is on.    It’s too obvious to write about iced and cold teas during this time of year.  I did it a lot last Summer and I will get back to that.  But for the first time since beginning this blog, we’re talking ice cream.  And ice cream makes everyone happy.   But does that include green tea ice cream?

What makes this blog fun is discovering brands and items one has never heard of.  At least I haven’t.   The famous brands in all areas are great to elaborate on but just when I thought I was going to go with a world famous brand, I go with maeda-en.  Yeah it’s new to me too.

The ingredients and nutrition facts are on display for your viewing enjoyment.  And I needed it as a reference point.  I’ve had green tea ice cream or matcha ice before as a dessert at Japanese or sushi based restaurants and was amazed by how much sugar was added.  I understand that just green tea in ice cream form is going to taste real coarse and bitter, that the aftertaste may leave a lot to to be desired.  I understand that but also find the concept to be counterproductive in terms of health.

But that’s on me.   I don’t see how it can be prepared and served any other way.  Ice cream is meant to be sweet.  It’s one of many joys of these glorious months where everything feels happier.

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So how was this ice cream?  I liked it but since I have little to compare it by, my opinion may not be entirely accurate.  That could change with time one way or another.  I may love it more or grow to realize there’s better out there.  I adore green tea so any taste of that makes me happy.  It’s an interesting dichotomy with the artificial sweeteners.  I almost feel guilty having it.   Something doesn’t feel right.  I’m betraying the purity of green tea by having this.

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The website doesn’t have any more than a broad list of items, but as you can see they have multiple flavors.  Will I get to any more?  If you look close at the photograph above, there is a teaser for something in the very near future.

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For now, I will enjoy the rest of this bowl, as it’s very rich and will take some time to complete.   If you’re interested in this company, contact info, and most importantly where to buy, links have been provided.

Ah I love Summer.  More is coming.

Stay warm and stay cool.

Best,

Ideen

 

Been Too Long

So what does this title mean?  There are teas and brands of teas that crossed my path years ago that I want to get around to talking about.

Some of these teas are a bit more higher end than usual so it’s not always accessible. Fortunately for me, the teas don’t always need to be purchased, but can be found at hotels and places of employment.  For me both were one in the same at a moment in time.

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But that’s ancient history.  However, I’ve been way overdue in talking up Harney & Sons.

Their packages and collections are so hard to keep up with (as with many companies), that this will need multiple posts.  And this is exactly what’s going to occur.

Maybe it’s not so much that it’s arduous but it’s a lot of information. There is very valuable nuggets to any tea aficionado or newbie.  This link sheds light on what I’m referring to.

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I’ve enjoyed many of their teas but for now I’ll elaborate on one I’ve enjoyed for a number of years, the Tropical Green Tea.

I purchase mine in regular bag form but as you can see, it comes in so many shapes and sizes.  That’s an understatement.    And how they recap and review may seem intimidating at first.  It’s very user friendly and explained in a relatable way that I greatly appreciate.

I love the tropical green.  It’s been challenging finding a tea from them that I don’t like or at worst even tolerate.

My cup paired wonderfully with a lemon poppy seed cake.   It was a great duo and a perfect counterbalance or sweets and a pineapple flavored green tea that’s nowhere near as tart as you might think.

The aroma is more pungent than the actual taste.  But don’t let that fool you. This is a fantastic tea and company worthy of higher prices.  I sincerely mean that. If I have to pay a few dollars more for some quality products, it’s worth the shot.

It’s going to be hard finding flaws with this group.  It won’t be my intend to do so. Yet, all I’ve found so far are positives on top of positives.

Want to know more?  Here is a link to their Fine Teas Guidebook along with contact information on the bottom of their main page.

A lot more deliciousness, warm weather, and joy to come.

 

Best,

Ideen

One Love

I’ve wanted to find any reason to incorporate the things I love into my posts.   And fortunately, the iconic and legendary Bob Marley is near the top of that list.

I found out about Marley’s Beverage Company only a few months ago and was looking for the perfect time to write about it. Well the Summer is the right time to talk about anything cool.   I didn’t want to wait all the way to February on his birthday to write about it.

I could only hope that a grocery store or the like would carry a product with such a monumental and historic name attached to it.

I am grateful to say that was the case.   Even though there were only two flavors available, luckily they were both the bottled teas. And did they taste fun and yes, I’m feeling mellow.

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Of course there would be a bias and I was hoping they would taste at least satisfying.  It was all that and so much more.  I felt great after sampling both.  It became more than sampling.  I decimated both.   Thankfully they were decaffeinated or I’d be bouncing off the walls.

As I’m writing this and feeling so calm, I realize that on the products site, they list the 100% Natural Calming Botanicals and this feels more than a placebo.  I feel so at peace.

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First up is the Black Tea with Peach, Raspberry, and Passion Fruit.  That is quite the trio of fruit.   And the trio comes together for a masterpiece of flavors.  I felt so good drinking this.

Most important, the tea does not get lost in the shuffle even though these powerful fruit flavors are included.   I can tell a lot of soul and a lot of passion (pun not intended) is behind this beverage.

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And then we have the Green Tea with Honey. The tea and honey combo is terrific.  There’s an even balance that both complement the other so well.  I’m relaxing and enjoying life sipping on this one as well.

This is also a tea that should be savored and drank naturally. Neither of these feel like the usual chugging iced teas or cold beverages that other may seem designed to do.

In what is now becoming a tradition with my recent recaps, I opened up the bottled and poured them in glasses so you can get the beautiful tints and shades of both.

How gorgeous do they both look?

To see if their beverages are sold near you, click here. And to read more about this great company, click here and here.

I had so much fun trying these teas and talking up how great they were, that I hope I get the opportunity to do so again.

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One love.

Kindest,

Ideen

A Matcha Made In…

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Isn’t it funny how you start reading or hearing about a topic, and then images, visual cues, or stories about that topic seem to become drawn to you?   Well this happened to me this week with Matcha.

I’m always willing to learn more about the different forms of tea, the health benefits, the origins of my favorites, and so much more. But, for whatever reason, I was inspired to read about Matcha, and then I started getting signs everywhere.  It’s as if I was being naturally pulled to write about it this week.

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As I find myself in the massive tea aisle of my local supermarket, of course the first kind of tea that sticks out is from a company I had never heard of.  And this leads us to Matcha Love.  The two cans I purchased look so charming don’t they?  These adorable 5 oz. cans are just what the tea universe ordered! I just want to put them both in my pocket for safekeeping. Actually I can!

How did the Sweetened and Unsweetened compare?  For one, they were both magnificent. These are works of art.  The only difference with them is that the former has cane sugar added. And wow does the sugar taste natural.

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MatchaUnSweetOpened

I poured both into glasses to get a visual comparison. How gorgeous are these?

I chose to drink both at room temperature and I’m glad I did.  I wanted to get more of a sipping experience and opposed to it being chilled.  I think it would taste awesome either way.

With the unsweetened one, I did get more of an authentic green tea tasting experience.  It was like all the great teas I’ve had heated from a traditional kettle.  I got a very smoky flavor on top of that.  I didn’t want to get carried away but I could have had a few more of these.

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The company who came up with this gem is ITO EN, based out of Japan.  And within their website they have a tremendous section dedicated to Green Tea and all the positive benefits of it.

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Speaking of benefits, I felt so good after drinking my Matcha Love cans.  It might have been because it was my first time or maybe there was something so powerful to them, that could be too good for words.

The teas were only $1.59.  That’s a bargain for what I was getting.

I felt energized but also a sense of calm instantaneously.  I felt as if life was so perfect at that moment and everything is going right with the world.  It’s a natural high that I would like to exhibit more often.

The organization is only 15 years old but I wish I had heard of them sooner.   Their website has a lot to navigate and tons of information, and once again I’m glad there is an area for community and social awareness.

There is so much to process and they have so many varieties to choose from that I will need to revisit this great company.  Thankfully everything about them seems user-friendly and genuine, that I will be happy to do so.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Peach Pals

This one is going to be fun.  There’s also going to be a record number of pictures.  We’re looking at around 25.

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Over the weekend I attended the Peach Festival at Weber’s Cider Mill Farm in Parkville, MD.  This was my first time attending the festival but not my first time visiting the farm.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my first exposure to the farm was around the holidays last year.  It was only by virtue of driving nearby and seeing signs for it that I stumbled upon this happy place.  And it’s a happy place.  It feels like Christmas even when it isn’t. And in a way, I’m grateful my first visit around one of the more positive times of the year.

So by default, this was my first Peach Festival.

The event and the farm itself is geared more towards a family friendly vibe.  The store inside acts as a regular market but it’s all farm fresh and local, which is wonderful!  Within the store there is a bakery and ice cream shop as well.   It has all the stuff that makes you feel good.

The festival itself got crowded very early and rather abruptly.  The sights and sounds will try to be conveyed via pictures.

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Of course I got a few peaches.  I’m not overstating this when I say they were incredible.  We are in the heart of the peach season.  And this is one of the best fruit indulging experiences I’ve had in a long while. Which leads us to the all-important question. What tea goes with a peach?

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Fortunately, after doing a bit of research, I recall the Maryland Tea Sampler from Eastern Shore Tea.

My previous post on the sampler can be found here.

If you check out this list, there’s some obvious choices of tea with peach as the focal ingredient, but my feeling wasn’t to do a peach with the same flavored tea.  I’m glad I went with my gut.

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Included in the sampler is the Baltimore Clipper Tea, which is simply a mix of Black and Green Tea.  How can you go wrong with that?   It was something to behold.  This was truly a tea sipping experience.   I could honestly say I was having cup of two amazing flavors.  And I could taste both.

The joy of brewing this tea was just as exciting as when I drank it.

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I hope that you can see the evolution of the brewing process here. Can you see the steam in the last picture from the right? Breathtaking.  I can literally see the color go from green to a more greenish to black combination.  I was mesmerized.   I hadn’t seen anything quite like it.

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My peach tasted even more amazing because the tea opened up some new flavors, via eating and the sipping itself.  And the tea had some new flavors shine through. What those flavors were I cannot begin to describe. Maybe it’s one of those things that needs to be kept mysterious and leave me intrigued.

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And speaking of intrigue, I will leave you with some photos from this charming event.  The ones with the animals are always my favorite.

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I will be making frequent visits to Weber’s, so hopefully more posts to come.

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Cider season is later but I’m still enjoying the Summer!

If you live anywhere close to this happy place, I strongly recommend a visit.  I feel good every time I drive up and even more joyous when I leave.  I know I have supported a local establishment that radiates a positive energy to everyone.

For more on Weber’s you can click here.

And for more on the Eastern Shore Tea you can click here via the Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Thankful for this Turkey

TurkeyHillTeas2

I’m thankful for a lot of things.  And I should be thankful for more.   A little early for Thanksgiving I know.  And this is not a play on words or any puns intended.

And I am thankful and grateful for finding things to talk about each week.

I was at my local supermarket headed towards the tea aisle, but before I could make it, I spotted the featured items display by the registers.    They had a few cold teas in the fridge, but the one that stood out the most was from Turkey Hill.

Their ice creams and juices were always a staple in our house growing up but with time and experiences we move onto other food and beverage interests.

Well it’s nice to be reunited!

I had no idea they made Organic Iced Tea, let along so many other awesome looking products.

I picked up two and I’ll get it out-of-the-way, I loved them both very much!  If I drank these blindly I wouldn’t have thought they were organic.  I would just think they tasted great.

TurkeyGreen

First up is the Organic Green Tea with a touch of honey.  And a touch of honey is spot on.  It’s not overpowering that you forget this is a green tea.  They got this just right. This was a pleasure to sip and would be enjoyable on a hot Summer’s day or any time of year.   And with just a few ingredients, you know you’re getting something pure.

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And then we have the Peach Organic Black Tea.  It’s hard to pick a favorite.  I honestly loved them both so much.  There’s a lot more peach here than there’s honey in the aforementioned green, but it’s wonderful.   Peach is one of my favorite fruits and to combine it with one of my favorite beverages is majestic.

Another point of note, I had no idea they were so close to home. Turkey Hill’s main headquarters are an hour or so north of us in the Baltimore area, in Lancaster County, PA.   Anyone up for a road trip?

If you can’t find their products in your nearby store, you can order from them here.

TurkeyHillTeas

And just like wine, they have food pairing suggestions for their iced teas, which are done in a very user-friendly and approachable way.

I am sold!  I can’t wait to try and embrace more of their products.   I feel good perusing their site and supporting a company near me.

In addition to a couple of other organic selections I haven’t had the opportunity to try, they have an extensive iced tea collection.  And I hope to review those as well in the future.

I will be thankful to do so.

Best,

Ideen