I love tea parlours. I love the modern granny fusion trend of reasonably young (like me!) people hanging out in dark, mysterious corners of these tea parlours. Sometimes harem chic, sometimes Japanese zen, these parlours are a sensory delight. From an array of every possible kind of tea in the world displayed for all to touch, smell and taste to an almost British quirky army of mismatched and utterly delightful teapots and cups; one could get lost for hours.
I am lucky enough to have a great, ever-changing, ever-evolving T2 in my suburb. The girls are always friendly and the tea is always hot or cold depending on your choice of arson. When the weather turns, I cannot go past Black Velvet. It is a generous offering of strong Russian Caravan Hot Chocolate. It is piping hot, it is plenty and it is rich. Sipped at a leisurely pace, it can last you for an hour.
Today I was in the mood to recreate the $7 glass of chocolate chai luxury at home and I wasn't disappointed. I took it slow, as I always do with brewing tea. I brewed a pot of steaming Russian Caravan, I gently stirred and simmered a pan of creamy hot chocolate, I infused spices, I dipped, I tasted, I let go. The world around me slowed down as the aroma of the chocolate and spices took over. I felt calm. Before I shot the pictures, I sat down with a steaming mug and revelled in it languorously. It felt like a ritual, even though it was for the very first time. It felt good. I might be indulging in this slowing-down ritual for the next few weeks and the thought alone is like a warm hug. Do you have a slowing-down-ritual? Do you do it often?
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HOT CHOCOLATE CHAI TEA
for the hot chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat milk
- 1/4 cup thickened cream
- 3 tablespoons hot chocolate powder
for the chai
- 3 teaspoons black tea leaves, (use Russian Caravan tea for best flavour)
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 2 whole pods of star anise
- 3 cups boiling water
- cocoa powder, for serving
- Combine all ingredients for chai in a teapot. Brew for 5 minutes. Strain and set aside. Reserve the star anise and cinnamon.
- In a milk pan (I use a Reiss enamel pan and it is perfect!), heat milk and cream on medium. When the milk starts foaming at the edges, add the star anise, cinnamon and hot chocolate powder. Add a cup of the strained tea. Simmer, stirring gently and constantly for about 5 minutes until hot and steamy.
- Pour in large mugs or glasses, dust with cocoa powder and serve immediately.
- This tea can be made in advance and simply reheated in the microwave.
- Russian Caravan tea can be substituted with Orange Pekoe, Assam or Irish Breakfast.