Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tealuxe: The "Real" Boston Tea Party

I aspire to nothing more than a little tea shop populated with old, floor-to-ceiling tea drawers, shelves filled with tea pots, and tables covered with hammered copper. Walk into Tealuxe and inhale, deeply. This is the aroma that tells your brain directly: all is well. Yes, Tealuxe is my happy place. In past incarnations, I would bring homework here and bolster myself against Boston winters and cranky professors with a pot of tea, complete with timer and all the bells and whistles.

Tiger Hill Nilgiri from the Blue Mountains of South India. Victorian Rose Tea, Darjeeling Silvertips, China White really could become lost in one treasure after another being scooped out of little black drawers and packed away in blue tins that will shortly stock your cabinets. That's the beauty of Tealuxe: you can drink a pot on the premises or take home a few tins of tea, a new pot, specialty teabags, and every other piece of tea hardware you could dream of. If you're looking for the real Boston Tea Party, may I suggest starting with a cup of chamomile at Tealuxe?

If you haven't guessed, Tealuxe is part of my "tea and cake" week in Harvard Square. Their Brattle Street location near Anthropologie is the perfect place to pop in, snuffle about in a wondrous world of teas, and then watch people stroll by (if you can snag a spot at the window bar). My favorite tea is actually their blended, frozen Hanna Berry tea with bubbles at the bottom. A light frosty rose petal moving down into a robust raspberry and then to the blackberry depths of tapicoca pearls. Truly one of the prettiest drinks I've ever had, and not at all too sweet.

But woman cannot survive on tea alone, and the Babe oggled the few plates of goodies in the dessert case with a speculative eye. Memories of stomache impactions simmered in my brain...why did I have a little index card in my brain with the note "Don't buy the scone, Bakery Babe!"? But the lovely counter girl saw me waffling and was quick to point out that their scones were made by the Danish Pastry House, a Somerville bakery that I've been wanting to try but have yet to catch a ride to. I was sucked into a blackberry scone that looked to be the size of a sourdough loaf. Bafflingly, Tealuxe does not offer butter and jam with their scones, and you must ask to find out that they do have little pots of devonshire cream. In theory, a blackberry scone and a spoonful of devonshire might be heaven.

Alas, friends, alas. The devonshire cream had clearly been in the fridge for the better part of winter. And the scone, oh my heart weeps to think of it, was a tasteless gargantuan of glutinous blight that could single-handedly funk up my digestion for the rest of April. So let me digress here and opine on the topic of the scone. You have two options. You can go for massive flavor, plump lovely berries, and sugar crunch crust that is so tasty that no other embellishments are needed. Or you can make a plainish little cake and serve it with pots of jam, waxy spoonfuls of clotted cream, lemon curd, whipped cream...oh, the options are endless. Either of those routes will do you proud on the scone front. But woe betide the baker who makes a mega wad of flavorless flour and then FAILS to accessorize with the necessary accoutrement. How Tealuxe, a shop made for tea time, could miss this point is beyond me. Tealuxe, I beg of you, upgrade your goodies! Serve real teatime nibblies! Put some jam and butter on the plate! Give us scones and muffins that are as good as your tea!

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