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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Pimm's Iced Tea and a bit of fiction (about tea) set in China, Java and your cocktail cabinet

We are on a tea themed odyssey. We have chosen a couple of novels that just ooze tea-liciousness.  Just sit back, put your feet up and enjoy a good read whilst enjoying a glass of Pimm's Iced Tea. Please don't forget to add any tea-related recipes or details of tea-related novels in our Comments Box.

Pimm's Iced Tea

90ml Pimm's No 1
180ml brewed Orange Pekoe Tea, chilled
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Plus lemon wedges, mint sprigs, strawberries, peach slices, and thin slivers of cucumber

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the Pimm's No 1, tea, honey and lemon juice. Garnish lavishly, pick up a book and enjoy!

For all the Tea in China is about the trials and tribulations experienced by Robert Fortune and his team and their efforts to send and keep alive samples, cuttings and seeds of quality tea shrubs and send them to India; how Fortune discovered how the Chinese grew, processed and made tea (black and green teas are a result of the processing, not from different plants). Fabulous!

The story of two people, Scottish planthunter Robert Fortune and his socially disgraced sister-in-law Mary. The detail is well researched, and the reader is drawn into China of the mid 19th century. As well as romance and intrigue, there are glimpses into the history of the tea trade, with all its well kept secrets...

This Java-set saga of Dutch colonists in the late 1800s is a compelling piece of innovative historical fiction. At its heart is Rudolf Kerkhoven, who finds himself master of a plantation in Java's Preanger region. Haasse effortlessly combines an evocation of the plantation's lush vegetation with her articulation of the growing distance between Kerkhoven and his wife. This is a novel about men and their love for their land. It is also a powerful portrait of one man carving out his autocratic rule as the "King of the Preanger"

As an aside about tea, in the words of Little Bee, from the book The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (set in England and Nigeria and a very good read, by the way) :

"Tea is the taste of my land: it is bitter and warm, strong, and sharp with memory. It tastes of longing. It tastes of the distance between where you are and where you come from. Also, it vanishes - the tast of it vanishes from your tongue while your lips are still hot from the cup. It disappears, like plantations stretching up into the mist.....".

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