Saturday, September 11, 2010

NAMOURA & PALAIS DES THÉS TEAS

Teapot Picnik collage 1 bis
A few weeks ago I was contacted by the famous "Le Palais Des Thés" (read more about them) who asked me if I was interested in reviewing a few of their teas. Since I love tea and had heard a lot about them and I had a peek at their wonderful showcase at my favorite local store (Manor) there was no way I was going to refuse that offer. It is a great opportunity for me to discover new products...

When I was still living at home my parents bought many expensive Chinese teas from a Vietnamese of Chinese origin who travelled a lot around China in order to find rare blends (Pu Erh, Wu Long, White Cloud, etc...) and buy beautiful teapots that he sold in his little boutique/tearoom. In that way, I was brought up to appreciate good quality teas and not get fooled by the commercial brands that make you believe they sell the best teas on the market when in fact they only offer low-grade teas.

logopalaisdesthes_208x355
Well, for me tea is made to be savoured and not drunken like any other vulgar drink. One needs to take his/her time, sit comfortably, be in a positive mood, freehimself/herself from the grip of the stressful modern world and open his/her senses. Drinking tea can be compared to meditation. As a matter of fact tea gives you a sense of enlightenment - an almost "light" sensation where you feel open to the world. It enhances the feeling of well being, makes you feel more relaxed and more receptive to your inner self (keeps you open and clear) and clearly enhances your meditation experience. No wonder that in Asia (China and Japan mainly - tea ceremonies) it has always been used in close relationship to meditation.

Tea pot Picnik collage 2 bis
So, in order to fully appreciate the teas I was given to sample, I tried to find the best moments possible in order to reverently to get my pretty Chinese clay Yi Xing teapot and mini cups out. I did not want to rush the testing session and decided to spread it over a few days.

I must say that I was really not deceived by the teas I tested. All were divine, unique and I had a great time experimenting with them. The "Le Palais Des Thés" blends are extraordinary, refined, out of this world and are processed from first-class teas. A real experience!

An insight on the teas I tested:

Thé Des Sherpas Picnik collage bis
Thé Des Sherpas
Unfermented whole leaf green tea from Darjeeling (Northern India/Himalaya).
Fresh and scented. It's taste brings reminds of roasted chestnuts.

Théophile Picnik collage bis
Théophile
Whole leaf green tea mixed with flower petals.
Inspired by oriental traditions, wonderfully exotic, with intense fruity accents of lychee and mango and delicate floral notes of lotus and roses.

Thé Bao Zhong Picnik collage bis
Bao Zhong Impérial
Semi-fermented whole leaf tea from Taiwan.
Flowery, verdant, mild and almost peppery taste that evokes narcissus and jasmine flowers.

Thé des Concubines Picnik collage bis
Thés Des Concubines
Whole leaf green and black teas from China with rose petals and pieces of fruit.
Refined, delicate with rich, fruity notes of cherry, mango and vanilla.

Thé Genmaicha Picnik collage bis
Genmaicha
Whole leaf green tea from Japan.
Very refreshing, thirst quenching and delicious. Has a delightful flavor of roasted rice and Bancha tea.

Thé Aux Fruits d'Eté Picnik collage bis
Thé Aux Fruits d'Eté
Whole leaf black tea from Yunnan with the natural extract of Na-she (a fruit from the South of China which's flavour is similar to that of the pear while it has the appearance of a small apple) and marigold petals.
Fresh, slightly smoky and subtly perfumed.


Thé Des Amants Picnik collage bis
Thés Des Amants
Whole leaf red tea with Rooibos bush, apple, almond, cinnamon and vanilla with a hint of ginger. Sensual, sweet, voluptuous, fruity and lighty spicy.

Read the interesting blog "Discovering Tea".

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As I wanted to take the sampling even further, I thought that it would be a wonderful idea to bake a treat that would be flavored with one of the "Le Palais Des Thés" teas...

Middle East pastries are mostly enjoyed with a good cup of black tea (or coffee) I thought that instead I could make a Lebanese treat aromatized with tea. After a little research on Cherine's gorgeous blog "Chicho's Kitchen" I came upon the speciality that I was going to bake: "Namoura" (see my 2006 post about that speciality also called"Basboussa" in Egypt or "Revani" in Greece or Turkey), a heavenly dessert made with semolina and imbibed with a luscious syrup. Just the right dessert to celebrate both the Eid or Rosh Hashanah (Eid Said Mubarak & Shanah Tova!!!)...

Cherine's recipe uses a syrup that is flavored with orange blossom water. I chose to perfume mine with one of the "Le Palais Des Thés" fruity teas. I wanted a flavor that would be very Middle Eastern in flavor, so I thought that the "Théophile" tea would be the perfect choice as it's got strong and intoxicating floral accents that remind me of ancient Syrian rose gardens.

"Namoura" is a tantalizingly exquisite cake. It is fluffy and divinely moist in texture, wickidly sweet like honey, is subtly perfumed and has a delicate buttery aroma.

NAMOURA Picnik collage 1 bis
~ Namoura With Tea Syrup ~
Recipe adapted from "Chicho's Kitchen".

Ingredients For The "Cake":
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup All-purpose flour
A pinch sea salt
1 Cup Fine semolina
1 Cup Ground almonds
1 Cup Unsalted butter, melted
1 Cup Whole milk
1 1/3 Tbs Baking powder
2 Tbs Tahini
Blanched almonds for decorating
Ingredients For The "Syrup":
2 Cups Castor sugar
2 Cups Water

4 Tsp "Théophile" tea (Le Palais Des Thés)

Method
For The "Cake":
1. In a big bowl, mix together the flour, the salt, the s
emolina, the ground almonds and the baking powder.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk,
the melted butter and the eggs.
3. Add the milk/butter/egg mixture to the flour/semolina mixture and mix well.
4. Grease a 25cm (10 inches) round baking pan with 2 tbsp of tahini and pour the batter in.
5.
Using a knife, score the top of the batter into equal squares and place a blanched almond in the middle of each square.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C (350º C) for 30 to 45 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

NAMOURA Picnik collage 2 bis
Method For The "Syrup":
7.
Meanwhile bring the water to a boil and infuse the tea for about 5 minutes. Sieve well.
8. In a saucepan, mix the sugar and flavored water together and bring to a boil. Let simmer until it forms a sticky syrup.
9. Let the syrup cool completely.
10. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the cold syrup over.
11. Cool the cake on a rack and then cut the squares.

12. Serve.

Remarks:
If you don't want to use tea, then add 2 Tbs orange blossom water to the water/sugar mixture (mix the water & sugar & orange blossom, then bring to the boil and simmer).
This cake is very breakable when fresh. I recommend that you leave it a few hours in the fridge before serving. In that way you'll have clean slices.

Serving suggestions:
Eat this cake at any time of the day and accompany it with some good tea.

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NAMOURA Picnik collage 5 bis
~ Namoura Et Son Sirop Au Thé ~
Recette adaptée du blog "Chicho's Kitchen".

Ingrédients Pour Le "Gâteau":

2 Oeufs légèrement battus
1 Tasse de farine blanche
1 Pincée de sel marin
1 Tasse de Semoule moyenne
1 Tasse de Poudre d'amande 1 Tasse de Beurre non-salé, fondu
1 Tasse de Lait entier
1 1/3 CS de Poudre à lever (levure chimique)
2 CS de Tahini
Amandes blanchies pour la décoration
Ingrédients Pour Le "Sirop":
2 Tasses de Sucre
2 Tasses d'Eau
4 CC de Thé Théophile" (Le Palais Des Thés)

Méthode Pour Le "Gâteau":
1. Dans un grand bol, mélangez la farine, le sel, la semoule, la poudre d'amande et la poudre à lever.
2. Dans un autre bol, mélangez le lait, le beurre fondu et les œufs.
3. Ajouter le mélange aux oeufs au mélange farine/semoule et bien mélangez.
4. Graissez un moule rond de 25cm avec le tahini et versez la préparation dedans.
5. Avec un couteau, entaillez des carrés et déposez une amande au centre de chaque carré.
6. Faites cuire dans un four préchauffé
à 180º C pendant 30 à 45 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que le gâteau soit légèrement doré.

NAMOURA Picnik collage 3 bis
Méthode Pour Le "Sirop":
7. Pendant ce temps, portez l'eau à ébullition et ajouter le thé. Laisser infuser pendant 5 minutes et tamiser.
8. Mélanger le sucre et le thé, puis portez à ébullition. Faire mijoter jusqu'à ce que le sirop soit épais.
9. Stopper le feu et laissez le sirop refroidir.
10. Sortir le gâteau du four et recouvrez-le de sirop froid. Le laisser s'imbiber.
11. Le couper en carrés. Faire refroidir le gâteau sur une grille.

Remarques:
Si vous ne voulez pas parfumer votre Namoura avec du thé, alors ajoutez 2 CS d'eau de fleur d'oranger au mélange eau/sucre (mélanger le sucre, l'eau et l'eau de fleur d'oranger ensemble, porter à ébulltion et faire mijoter).
Ce cake est très friable quand il est frais. De ce fait je vous recommande de le conserver au frigo pendant quelques heures avant de la servir. Il sera plus présentable.

Idées de présentation
:
Servir ce gâteau à toute heure de la journée, avec une bonne tasses de thé.

NAMOURA Picnik collage 4 bis

84 comments:

  1. It's an eye opening! Some of those tea, I don't even heard of it. Thanks for sharing and the Namoura treat sounds marvellous. Thank you & have a wonderful weekend.
    Cheers, Kristy

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  2. I was used of this brand back in Paris. A good range of tea.
    And what a moorish cake !

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  3. Le monde du thé est infini! Que de belles découvertes encore en perspective!

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  4. What a creative idea to flavor the syrup with this fruity tea. I love it! The photos are amazing and your namoura turned out FANTASTIC!!

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  5. J'aime beaucoup les thés du Palais des Thés... Ces namouras ont l'air tout à fait déllicieux!

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  6. The photographs of the teapot are all so sublime. Beautifully done. back home we would have the darjeeling leaf tree.. that is where the tea gardens are in India and it is only a short while from where we live. I so miss the original tea here. The ones you have with the flower petals sound so exotic and elegant.

    I love the cake Rosa! So beautifully done.

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  7. There is a tiny tea shop close to the condo we have in Vancouver that has real, authentic tea from the varied far east countries. So different that what one buys elsewhere. I have a whole selection.

    This cake looks wonderful. I'm copying the recipe to give it a try!

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  8. Oh Rosa, this is a wonderful post. I've actually never heard of Le Palais des Thes, but I will keep my eye open in case they are sold here. They look so freshly dried, and I love rooibos. That Genmaicha looks powerful too!
    Hey, I make namoura and basboosa all the time. Less lately due to my diet, but yours is making me want some. Delicious, Rosa!

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  9. Un grand classique de la cuisine Libanaise ! Malheureusement, ça fait TROP de temps que je n'en n'ai pas mangé ! Aaaahh...

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  10. I was thinking about this delicious pastry earlier this week. It is absolutely delicious Rosa!

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  11. What a fantastic idea, Rosa! Your revani looks awesome and I love, love the tea incorporation. I think I'd like your version over the standard revani.

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  12. Cara Rosa, I would not know wich one to chose but certainly would attack your namoura which is one of my preferred desserts !!

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  13. j'adore le palais des thes et surtout leurs rooibos

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  14. I often miss tea infused with jasmine that I used to have in Indonesia. Last year, I finally got it from organic tea seller here and can't stop smelling it whenever I sip the tea.

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  15. Nice to know abt different types of tea and using tea in syrup is quiet interesting and the cake looks so perfect and so yummy....

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  16. The tea do sound amazing, and this cake is just devine :)

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  17. Very innovative ...never heard of tea syrup used in a cake...Looks lovely !

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  18. le thé est un instant privilégié chez moi !!Pierre

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  19. Magnifiques photos comme d'habitude :)

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  20. J'adore cette cuisine Rosa. Je retiens ce sirop au thé. C'est la caserne d'ali baba le palais des thés.
    Bon dimanche

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  21. J'aime particulièrement le sirop. On n'a jamais assez de petites recettes comme celle-ci. Comme le temps se rafraîchit...

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  22. I have a cupboard full of many different types of teas I have tried over the years....and that cake!!!!!

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  23. Rosa, you have out done yourself! Not only do those sweet tea cakes look and sound amazing---your tea review is just gorgeous. Thank you for inviting us to all sit down, slow down and enjoy some lovely teas.

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  24. What a great post. I have seen different varieties of tea but sadly, tasted very few. I stick to regular Indian tea making :)
    Loved the 'cake'.

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  25. your post is great,rosa!i love tea and namoura is heavenly!

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  26. I love tea too and these flavours sound magnificent! The cake looks absolutely heavenly, too!

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  27. I learned a lot reading your review of the different teas, very interesting Rosa! The cake is gorgeous and I bet is absolutely perfect enjoyed with a cup of tea.

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  28. All these teas sound fantastic and the cakes look absolutely wonderful! Love the idea of tea syrup!

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  29. This is stunning....everything about it, from the pictures, your post, the cake...love it! I enjoy tea, but don't know why I don't indulge more. Need to get better at that, especially with all the amazing teas available.

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  30. You are so sweet post a treat to go along with the tea :)

    I usually drink pu-er tea after a hearty meal at home, it helps me to digest better :D

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  31. Buongiorno Rosy!
    Io adoro il tè di tutti tipi! Bellissimi quelli tè, mi piacerebbe assagiarli tutti:) Le foto sono sempre molto belle, brava!
    Un bacione

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  32. CHRIS: Thanks so much for the kind words!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  33. Wonderful review Rosa. I love genmaicha :) And that baked treat looks luscious, perfect for celebrating!

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  34. What an amazing tea review, Rosa! I loved your photos and detailed flavor descriptions.
    And your namoura recipe looks delicious. Interesting that tahini is one of the ingredients; the sesame flavor would be marvelous and the tea syrup would have made these so moist!

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  35. Rosa...your post today has been quite impressive. Le Palais could not have selected a better candidate suited for such a review.
    I fully agree on your views in the appreciation of a great cup of tea. As colder temps approach I look forward to my cup of tea and great reading.
    BTW...if ever you think of coming to Montreal you'd be most welcome to come have a tea and more with me ;o))

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

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  36. Rosa, apres un billet pareil, le Palais des thes devrait te fournir en thes jusqu'a la fin de tes jours :)

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  37. wonderful tea review. very interesting recipe.

    paz oxox

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  38. Dégusté avec une belle tasse de thé, quel délice ce gâteau fondant!!

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  39. Wow!! Merci pour ces magnifiques partages ma belle Rosa:)

    Bonne semaine xx

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  40. magnifiques photos,le thé j'adore, belle mise en scène

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  41. Rosa, lovely post. Tea is such a wonderful ritual and indeed not to be rushed. Coincidence in my tea post!

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  42. Du thé et des gâaaaaaaateaux, que demander de plus !!!! Bises Rosa et belle semaine !

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  43. J'aime beaucoup les thés Palais des thés, parfumés, variés.. je les consomme tous les jours. merci pour la redécouverte de certains :-) Bises

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  44. Love the look of the tea... need to get some when I go to Paris next... don't think I can get in London..

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  45. Great use of the tea! That's a nice selection of teas you have there!

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  46. Magnifique tes photos et cette invitation au voyage dans le monde enchan-thé! Tu nous épates encore et toujours et on ne se lasse pas d'un pouce :) Je viens justement de réaliser une recette à base de Rooibos. Des bises

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  47. cette boutique pratique aussi la VPC ce qui est fort pratique pour celle qui habite au fond de la campagne..et on a une remise quand on en achète beaucoup...ce qui est mon cas...
    le thé du hammam est mon préféré...avec d'autressss
    et ton gâteau, avec ses petites portions si tentantes est très réussi.

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  48. Rosa, Outstanding and informative post. I'm glad you put this out there for everyone to see. You reminded me of the two Japanese Tea Ceremonies I attended in Japan a few years back.
    If anyone has the opportunity to attend one just stop whatever you are doing and go..its not to be missed.

    Cheers

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  49. Merci pour toutes ces précisions sur les thés. Il y a certains que je ne connaissais pas.
    Accompagné d'un morceau de Namoura, le bonheur.
    Bonne semaine et à bientôt.

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  50. Rosa, what a beautiful dessert...and so informative your post about the teas...love it. The photos are awesome as always :-)

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  51. I am a tea lover too! I drink black teas in the morning instead of coffee and white or green teas in the evening. That tea sounds very good.

    Your cake looks wonderful, moist and delicious:)

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  52. I've only had a few things by Les Palais thes...I've never ordered from them though.
    The dessert looks SO delicious!

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  53. beautiful post, rosa all the teas look amazing, my fav is the Thes Des Concubines, oh I love the color..

    sweetlife

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  54. hi dear, well its a very intresting post for users like me who loves tea . You are perfectly right in saying that Drinking Tea needs a refreshing , relaxing and cool mood and atmosphere to enjoy it to the fullest. Its again rightly pointed as a Meditation.well awesome to know that you got an opportunity to audit the different tea flavours.
    Hmmm well i would really love to see you researching and exploring Indian teas ,which is the largest producer of excellent teas to the wordls apart from china.its main brands are assam tea, nilquri tea and darjeeling tea..hope you love its soothing flavours too ..we in India called tea in our language hindi as "CHAI".looking forward to see you agaaaain.take care..

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  55. Ooh I've seen that cake in a Nigella cookbook. It looks great!

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  56. Rosa, your teapot and cups are gorgeous. I learned a lot reading your post, since I'm not much of a tea drinker. Tea is definitely meant to be savored as you said.
    Sam

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  57. une marque de thés que tu m'as donné envie de découvrir, avec tes petits gâteaux ce doit être divin !! Bonne semaine, bises

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  58. This looks so moist. I recently made a tea syrup, and was planning to use it on a poundcake, but this looks divine... now you have me thinking :)

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  59. Great review! And I love Chico's recipes--the cake looks delightful!

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  60. Lovely recap! I'm thinking I like Thés Des Concubines
    the best. I love tea and these sound divine! THanks for sharing a new company! :)

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  61. Thanks for this lovely post...you did these teas justice...they almost "look" flavourful!
    Ronelle

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  62. A wonderful post, congratulations! Despite the many different tea blends you introduced, I still prefer a good quality Oolong tea from Taiwan over all the blends.

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  63. The little cakes look perfect. And it's so nice to see tea used in a new way. Something to try!

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  64. This looks like an amazingly moist and delicious cake. I love a good tea cake-- especially when it's made with actual tea! xo

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  65. you're so lucky to do this amazing review. those teas just look amazing, I'm a tea fanatic myself!
    love the recipe as well!!!

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  66. I love your presentation of all the flavors of tea, just so beautifully photographed and appealing to my eye. The cake looks like a perfect bite to pair with the tea, such a lovely well prepared post, thanks for sharing:)

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  67. That tea pot looks supremely elegant. Infusion of tea in the cake is brilliant... so original!!

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  68. I'm a sucker for roasted rice tea. But the ones with the flower petals look pretty hard to resist, too. ;)

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  69. this just further proves the vast number of foodstuff with which i'm unfamiliar. great post, rosa!

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  70. This looks very nice. Also do you think it is possible to make this without the almonds in the reccipe and just use more semolina as i am allergic to nuts....?

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  71. Me! Me! Tea lover! I love how you captured the quiet elegance of each one in your photos.

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  72. les photos des thés et accessoires sont magnifiques

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  73. You know, I've been a black tea drinker for years, and lately, I've been trying to switch to green tea.
    Not a difficult transition, really.

    As always, your pictures are nothing short of wonderful. And the moist, syrupy cake beckons me. Oh dear.

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  74. lovely pictures we make similar cake
    beautiful

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  75. tes photos sont magnifique rosas.
    merci pour les explication sur le thé.
    a++++

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  76. J'adore la Nammoura, une de mes préférés desserts Libanais. Joli blog et belles photos.

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  77. that looks delicious! Now i have to decide between this and an egg tahini salad recipe that i found for my lunch today...so hard to chooose!!!

    http://www.draxe.com/video/egg-tahini-salad-transform-your-kitchen-ep-23/

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