Roses are red, violets are blue–and they make for sweet tea, which you should try too!
In addition to being a bibliophile, I am also a bit of a tea snob. In fact, I often engage in tea drinking while reading. Which is why I thought it was slightly criminal not to have anything about tea on this blog. So, I’m starting a new initiative. Every two weeks, I’ll post a short aside about a tasty, somewhat out-there beverage which has captured my fancy.
What, you may ask, are violets doing in tea? Normally they only star in cringe-worthy poetry and Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I began my love affair with violet tea in France. I was wandering by a Christmas bazaar set up on Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris when I spied a tea booth. Captivated by the wafting aroma of fresh tea, I sidled over. Run by a small local teashop, the stand had a variety of fanciful flavors, but the violet black tea caught my eye. The dried violets looked at once bizarre and tasty nestled in black tea. So, I bought a bag. And I was hooked.
It was then that I learned about the popularity of candied violets in France. The trend started under Napoleon Bonaparte, whose favorite flower was the violet. Now, violet flavoring is used in France for everything from cough syrup to cuisine–and apparently tea!
Stupidly, I did not buy more before I left. But, thanks to the power of amazon.com, I managed to drum up some–by the manufacturer “Kusmi Tea,” a Franco-Russian company. It doesn’t quite have the same kick as the mystery brand I bought in Paris or the pretty flowers, but it still makes for a heavenly compliment to a good book.