little dickens

I stopped to see my friend, Heidi Johannsen Stewart, and one of her three partners, Michael Shannon, tea proprietors of the wildly gorgeous and successful line of artisan teas Bellocq at the New Amsterdam Market last Sunday. I picked up three of their irresistable teas. No. 18, Afghani Chai, a black assam tea with organic red poppy flowers, green cardamon, star anise, ginger, clove and black pepper. It had been on my mind since a cold winter day at the market when they were handing out samples. I had become somewhat obsessed with it. I also picked up what they were calling their "summertime chai", a little lighter than the Afghani Chaiand caffeine free. It is called Hindu Holiday. It is a rooibos based chai, caffeine free with cardamom, fragrant cassia, spicy ginger rose, jasmine and marigold petals.

I was, however, most intrigued by the tea called Little DickensLittle Dickens, was  lovingly created by Heidi and her son. It is full of all kinds of things that kids love. Like Hindu Holiday, it too is rooibos based and caffeine free.  A few of the ingredients in Little Dickens are ginger, cinnamon, mint, chocolate, marigold and a little rose. Steep it, then add a little milk and honey. 

Hiedi feels that scent and flavor not only bring back forgotten memories, but that they also enrich the present. "Great teas can be powerful conduit to unite life's precious moments." I couldn't agree more. Many of my strongest memories are attached to taste and smell. So I decided to pick up some tea to share with my sweet little friend Odette, who just became a big sister this past week. Odette is no stranger to tea drinking, but part of me just wants to hear her tell me all about Little Dickens and what is in it. She is at the amazing, curious and talkative age of three. Having her own tea, like her mom does, will make her feel very grown up. It will be a nice way to make her feel special in these new and sometimes confusing post baby days.

I am upstate and all is quiet except for the crazy morning birds. I think it is the perfect moment to sit on the porch and have a cup of tea. 

Look for Belloq's new atelier at 37 Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, coming very soon!

You can order Bellocq's teas online at: http://www.bellocq.com/ 

Bellocq's founders, Heidi Johannsen Stewart, Michael Shannon, Young Yoon and Scott Stewart joined creative forces with a desire to collaborate on a shared aesthetic vision, an appreciation of traditional artisan production and a passion for tea.

the organic market of san antonio, mira flores, lima, peru

ORGANIC PERU 

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In the tiny neighborhood of San Antonio, located in Miraflores, in Lima Peru, there is a small organic market on Saturday mornings. The market rotates around Lima so if you don't catch it in Miraflores, look for it in other locations.

The market is an organic local Peruvian food market. A market of this kind is still something of a rare thing in a country totally obsessed with food. I imagine as the Slow Food movement takes hold and people start to see the value of local and organic, these kinds of markets will become easier to find. Our Peruvian chef, friend and Slow Food member, Gonzalo Angosto took us to the market in his neighborhood of San Antonio. The market is only 3/4 of a block long but is jam packed with fruits and vegetables, organic eggs, Peruvian coffee, local honey and Peruvian street food. Oh, and I can't forget the most delicious little sweet caramels individually wrapped by nuns! I think Peruvians are obsessed with these salty, nutty little caramel treats as I saw them in many incarnations across Peru.

I bought some brilliant yellow canary beans (frijol canario) and a mixed bag of organic beans ( (frijol pusacc punuy) as well as some red (quinua roja) and black (quinua negra) quinoa and a couple dried peppers (aji and aji amarillo) and some pink sea salt.

The dried goods are beautiful, easy to pack, make great gifts and travel well.

We had to buy some pecans with caramel covered in chocolate, and wrapped in individual little blue and white papers. These had to be consumed immediately as it was too hot for them to travel... but there were no complaints. Go to the market early, if you can, and have a local peruvian coffe and some street food. There are many kinds of Peruvian pork breakfast sandwiches and they are absolutely not to be missed! (more on this later)

Wander a bit and pick up some things to take home, once you are back you will be happy to have them and I guarantee it will make the trip that much sweeter.

 

A note.

I always bring honey and sea salt back for my own pantry and for friends because it is a unique gift and you can virtually find it anywhere. The Peruvian sea salt is a soft pink and very strong in flavor, so if you get it use just a tiny amount at a time!

link to Gonzalo's hostel