Tag Archives: floral

Pukka love tea

Before I get started with posts about the food and treats I tried in Iceland, I thought I’d post about Pukka tea.  Pukka tea comes from Pukka  organic herbs in the United Kingdom.

Pukka "Love" tea

Pukka “Love” tea

Some of Pukka’s organic herb teas have won “Great Taste Awards” in competitions in London, and they have also received several industry awards and commendations.

They describe Love Tea as:

“Love tea is a unique blend of fragrant herbs with fantastic soothing properties. Drink Love tea to help you feel cherished and well nourished, night and day.

• Rose and lavender warm the heart
• Elderflower and chamomile relax and soothe
• Marigold petals are beautifully balancing”
They say that their tea ingredients are organically grown and fairly traded.

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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Tea & Beverages


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Violet candies

An assortment of violet candies

An assortment of violet candies

In an earlier post about the Kusmi Violette tea, I mentioned violet candies… well I’ve had the chance to try out a few different varieties, and I thought I’d do a brief post in case anyone else out there is as in love with the flavour of ‘violets’ like I am…

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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Treats


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Tea: Kusmi Violette

Kusmi tea

Kusmi tea

One of the teas I picked up at the Banff Tea Company ages ago was the Kusmi brand Violette tea.  I had heard and seen a bit of Kusmi tea, but didn’t know much about it until reading a bit about it in the shop.  You might remember I tried some of the Kusmi Almond Green tea last May as well.

Kusmi teas were first established in 1867 in St. Petersburg, and in 1917 the company moved to Paris where it continues using “high-quality teas with natural essences to create subtle aromas and flavours“.  Teas come from India, China, and Ceylon, while the essences come from around the world.

The little mints – I’ll get them next time!

I had seen some violet candies in the candy store only a little while earlier, (but not picked them up, as I was only getting things for someone else.. and no sweets for myself) and so the chance to try violet tea was too enticing to pick up (even if the cost was quite dear! eep!) According to the Kusmi website (the Canadian site is all in French, so I am referring you to the English USA site instead) the tea is from Chinese black tea leaves and violet petals.


Dry, the tea is distinctly a black tea, with a light floral violet scent.  It doesn’t look particularly pretty – though the tin itself is especially pretty!  Although the Banff Tea Co. website doesn’t list the Violette in-stock, they did have a few tins, though only the large size – they did have some smaller tins of different flavours and variety packs of smaller tins, so it’s worth calling ahead and seeing what they might have in stock before making the trip.  I’m sure I’ve seen the tins on the shelves of other specialty tea/coffee shops as well, so you can likely find it locally as well… (though next time you’re in Banff, you know where to go!)

The scent while steeping is similar to any other black tea, with a slight floral scent – though the violet isn’t especially distinct.

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages


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Village Ice Cream

Last summer at Voices in the Village I first heard of Village Ice Cream but I didn’t get around to visiting until this year – this is the problem with not being downtown nearly as much as I used to!

Finding Village Ice Cream is not especially easy, because it’s at the end of a dead-end road, and then tucked into the side of a building rather than having a street-front entrance.  There is a decent sized parking lot, though I bet when they get busy, it gets full fast. When I went there was a short line that the staff had moving fairly efficiently, and their very small ‘patio’ was full with families sitting on the available benches.

Village Ice Cream

Village Ice Cream

There really isn’t a super-close place to go to enjoy your ice cream unfortunately – Olympic Plaza is probably the closest park, and you’ll probably be half-done by the time you get there.

There are a number of traditional flavours like vanilla, chocolate, maple pecan, coconut, and strawberry, a few ‘branded’ flavours like coffee – which they’ve branded after Phil & Sebastian (a coffee shop), chocolate mint – which is branded as “Guide’s Mint” – alluding to girl guides I presume (which is odd, because girl guide cookies are chocolate and vanilla…)  They also have a few more unique flavours such as cardamom, huckleberry, and salted caramel.

The shop has ten flavours that they keep “in the dipping cabinet and in the pint freezer” at all times, and then a rotating variety along with one sorbet for those who want to be dairy-free.  When I was there the seasonal specials included Root Beer (which apparently tastes just like a root beer float), Mango, Oaxacan Chile Chocolate (a Vegan option made with coconut milk) and Hibiscus Juniper Sorbet.

Village Ice Cream

Village Ice Cream menu

I started off with a sample of cardamom.  I didn’t know what to expect, but it was fantastic! The clerk filled me in that cardamom is a spice from India, used heavily in Chai. I loved it, and toyed with the idea of getting a scoop of it to go, but instead I went with my first choice, the Hibiscus Juniper Sorbet.

Sorbet from Village Ice Cream

Sorbet from Village Ice Cream

I think that I probably missed out on something by going with the sorbet instead of the creamy goodness of ice cream, but it was still quite good. It reminded me of a vaguely floral/herbal strawberry sorbet, although not exceptionally strong tasting.  I was also toying with the salted caramel, but have read online in reviews that it can go from good, to tasting ‘burnt’ and I definitely didn’t want that…

Have you tried out Village Ice Cream yet? What is your favourite flavour? Let us know in the comments below!

Village Ice Cream
Located in Victoria Park
431 10 Ave SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 261-7950
Village Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Want a sneak peek of some of their other flavours? Read this post from the Silk Road Spice Merchant – I didn’t know that it was their spices that go into a lot of the flavours!

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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in Downtown Calgary, South-East Calgary, Treats


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Tea: Bingo Blueberry

Even in a closed pouch, the blueberry scent of this tea from the Banff Tea Company seeps out, making your mouth water with the promise of those sun-warmed summer berries…

When I first saw it, and gave the sample tin a little sniff, I was immediately reminded of their Lady Hannah’s Whole Fruit, but with that dark, rich, blueberry scent alongside the fruity goodness.  It visually reminds me of Lady Hannah’s Whole Fruit as well, with big chunks of berry and fruit, this time accented with pink hibiscus petals and blue cornflower petals.

Bingo Blueberry tea from the Banff Tea Company

Bingo Blueberry tea from the Banff Tea Company

The ingredients of this tea include: apple pieces, dried elderberries, dried currents, dried blueberries, cornflower petals, hibiscus petals and natural flavour.  It’s a very heavy tea, so unfortunately a little doesn’t go as far as some other teas. I only picked up a small 50 gram bag of the tea on my last visit, and it’s not nearly enough!

The tea smells delicious, and tastes fantastic too – juicy and flavourful – highly recommended!


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Tea: Mother’s Little Helper

In my ongoing attempt to cut down some of my massive tea collection by drinking up some of these samples (it’s hard work indeed!) I tried out Mother’s Little Helper – an organic herbal tea from David’s Tea. 

Mother's Little Helper

Mother’s Little Helper

Obviously this is an incredibly PRETTY dry tea – with organic peppermint, lemongrass, rosehips, chamomile flowers, cornflowers, and valerian root.  It also has natural peppermint flavouring, though I found the scent of this tea was really much more lemony than minty; perhaps this is another good tea for my lemon-loving aunt! 

Mother's Little Helper

Mother’s Little Helper

Here’s the ‘tea’ steeping away in my Teavana Perfect Tea Maker. 

The tea is billed as a ‘relaxation’ tea – with “…organic valerian (aka “Nature’s Valium”) to take the edge off your 24/7 reality”.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it definitely is a very soothing, relaxing tea – and having no actual ‘tea’ in it means it’s also caffeine free, so it is a good tea before bed (with or without little ones to tuck in!). 

I really liked the blend of these flavours, though it didn’t seem like a unique enough tea to worm its way onto my ‘must buy’ list – I have other herbal teas that I’ll enjoy first before needing a refill.  (Unlike some of the other teas I’ve reviewed in the past which have been replaced even before I run out!)  I think that if you’re a big herbal-tea fan, this is an easy one to love… but if you are interested in bold or complex flavours, or use your tea as an energy and wake-up shot in the morning, you might want to skip this one – or just save it for those evenings when you are curling up in a window seat, watching the snow fall in the lamplight, reading a really good book while a cat purrs in your lap…

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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Tea & Beverages


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Blends with Benefits

Not long ago I was looking through my mum’s November 2011 issue of Canadian Living magazine because she pointed out to me: Blends with Benefits.

The article discusses the different benefits that different types of tea can have for people with different health concerns, though oddly enough the article doesn’t really say what I would expect to read.  For instance, they recommend ginger tea for people who are having respiratory ailments – where I would normally expect to see ginger recommended for upset stomach.  For digestive problems they instead recommend rooibos tea.

So, here are the recommendations from the article.  Obviously the November issue isn’t on stands anymore, but the library might have a copy if you’re interested in reading more.

For anxiety: Chamomile tea
Calm down without zoning out with sedatives.  Cover the pot or cup while steeping to retain anti-inflammatory oils responsible for the calming effect; then can escape with the tea’s steam.

Buttercream tea from David's Tea

For weight control: White tea
The least processed tea may help prevent the growth of new fat cells while stimulating the break down of existing fat cells.

For those at risk for cardiovascular disease: Green tea
With lots of disease-fighting antioxidants, green tea is linked to heart-health benefits.  The article quotes a study that indicates that one of the antioxidants acts as an anti-inflammatory which protects the interior lining of  blood vessels.

For digestive problems: Rooibos tea
The article suggests 2-3 cups of tea per day of this naturally non-caffeinated tea because of anti-inflammatory properties which can relax stomach muscles and intestinal tissues.

Pomegranate Green tea from Teaopia

For those concerned about cancer: Green tea
The article suggests 2-3 cups per day of green tea, to take advantage of the anti-carcinogenic effects; catechins  that interfere with cell growth related to cancer development.

For hypertension: Hibiscus tea
I rarely see hibiscus tea available in shops by itself; only included in blends, however the article recommends it for those with high blood pressure. The article mentions a study where subjects drank 3 cups of this tea per day  and saw a reduction in blood pressure, perhaps due to an antioxidant responsible for widening blood vessels.

For respiratory ailments: Ginger tea
This is another that I rarely see by itself, but the article suggests that ginger tea dilates the bronchial tree and soothes airways.  This can also help those with asthma, and can suppress coughing.

General comments:

  • Loose leaf teas tend to have more antioxidants, and flavour, than bagged teas.
  • Steeping teas for at least 5 minutes increases the polyphenol content (though I personally wouldn’t agree with this, since a lot of teas get bitter if they are over-steeped). 
  • Dunking teas releases more flavonoids (antioxidants) into the water.
  • Decaffeinated teas may have lower levels of beneficial flavenoids
  • Tea can interfere with iron absorption, but the vitamin C in lemon added to the tea can counteract this.  (I presume that this iron absorption issue is with caffeinated teas?)
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Tea & Beverages


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Tea – Blue Mango

Tea. Photo by Modomatic

Unlike Connie, I’m not a huge fan of green teas.  I generally find them a bit bitter; I usually prefer sweet, spicy, or creamy teas.  One of the exceptions is Blue Mango, which I picked up from the Banff Tea Company.  This tea is made from luxury Sencha green tea leaves, and has pieces of dried pineapple and little blue mallow blossoms.

The scent first of all is absolutely delicious  – it almost smells like a tropical fruity candy when dry, and when steeped the mellow green tea scent mingles really nicely with the overall bouquet to create something that smells fruity and flowery, without smelling overly sweet.  The flavor is similar – there’s a bit of a ‘dry mouth’ green tea taste, but it’s not overwhelming.  The fruit flavor mellows as well, but blends nicely with the tea, and there’s an overall floral flavor, more so than a mango or pineapple/fruit flavor.

This isn’t ever going to be my every-day tea, but if you aren’t a huge green tea fan (and have someone in your life who is) I’d suggest picking up a small amount and giving it a try.  While I don’t think that it would convert a green-tea-hater to the army of green tea lovers, I think it’s worth trying out.

Not in Alberta and want to try out this tea?  T|Nik also carries this same tea (though I haven’t purchased it through them) in their adorable little tins, and I also found it at Culinary Teas  and the Tropical Tea Company online (whom I also have never purchased it through).

With the fruity/floral flavors, I wonder how this would be as an iced tea?   The Culinary Tea website, and the Culinary Teas Blog suggests that it’s really good iced – I might just have to give it a try one of these days! If you’ve tried making iced tea from Blue Mango or a similar fruity green tea, let me know if it was successful or not in the comments below!

Want another reviewer’s opinion?  Vanessa over at said that this tea is much more flowery than mango flavored, and thinks that if you’re looking for a strongly flavored mango tea, this one might not be for you – but that it’s still a good tea.


(Sorry, no photos for this post… I kept forgetting to photograph it – and then finished off the last of the tea!)

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages


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Tea: Rose tea

Lavender jam and rose tea

I mentioned not too long ago a recent trip to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, well the other night I had the chance to try out some of the Rose Congou loose tea I picked up in their gift shop while visiting with a friend.

According to the Culinary Tea website, Congou is a general name for non-broken Chinese black teas. Along with the tea are whole rose petals, infusing the whole tea with a delicate rose flavor and scent.  I had expected this to be a black tea, with a little bit of a floral scent – but instead this tea was BURSTING with rose flavor!  I added a bit of sweetener, but could have only added half as much, as the tea was naturally sweet itself. I normally would add milk to black teas as well, but found that this tea didn’t need milk to mellow out the black tea at all.  I had impressions of sitting in long gowns on the porch of a grand home, overlooking fields of wildflowers, taking afternoon tea as a lady of leisure… (Of course, instead we were in a 10th story condo in downtown Calgary – but at least I was wearing a long dress…)

Rose tea "sitting there and thinking about what it has done" - according to my friend.

I definitely would recommend this tea to anyone who favors sweet blended black teas, and I’m sure that if I see any other rose teas in my travels, I’m bound to pick up another.

If you absolutely must try this tea, and aren’t planning a trip to Victoria any time soon, you can also order it online.  You can also get a similar tea (I haven’t tried it to be sure it’s the same) from Culinary Teas.  You can also read more about taking tea at the Butchart Gardens (an experience we missed unfortunately) at the Foodicious blog. Jill, who blogs at the Dragon’s Lair found a similar (though presumably not the same) Rose Congou tea a bit TOO floral for her liking.

As an aside, my friend added some red berry rooibos to the pot after I left and re-steeped the tea, and found it really pleasant – the two flavors mingled well, and the rose tea still had plenty of “oommph” (her words!)

Do you like floral teas, or do you find them too sweet?  Let me know your favorites in the comments below!

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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Out of town - BC, Tea & Beverages


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Loving all this lavender!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I picked up some lavender jelly at the Butchart Gardens just outside of Victoria on BC’s Vancouver Island on a recent trip.  I finally got around to trying it, and it’s fantastic!  Very sweet (perhaps a bit too much so?) with a light, delicate floral flavor and scent.  Since it’s a jelly (unlike the rose jam I tried earlier) it’s clear – perfect in plain yoghurt with a sprinkling of those gorgeous culinary lavender blossoms I bought on the same trip!


Lavender jam and rose tea

Want to get some of your own, and you don’t have a trip to Victoria planned?  They sell it in their online shop too. Or, Alchemiss has a recipe to make your own on her blog.  (It’s not the same – mine is made with lavender tea apparently) but it should make up something pretty tasty too!

Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Avenue
Victoria, BC V8M 1J8
(250) 652-4422

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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Out of town - BC, Treats


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