All tagged Italy

Pairing Italian marzipan with tea

Fall is an enchanted season and I was lucky enough to be in Europe for two weeks and got to experience it again after a long time. I was way less thrilled when I got home after my trip and had to edit the 877 pictures I took! As always, I was looking for tea, sometimes actively, sometimes less so and I did find it, in Germany and in Italy. Along the way, I found something I didn’t expect. Enchanted places, straight out of fairytales, so beautiful they were almost surreal.

The Tea Squirrel interviews Italian tea sommelier Gabriella Lombardi

When I was little, before even learning to read, one of my favorite pastimes was to take books from my parents’ bookshelves and look at the photos or illustrations. Some of those books were beautifully illustrated cookbooks, some were travel photography books, some were gardening books. Those books and their photos and illustrations had me under a spell. I would spend hours lost in those books, fantasizing about those photos and illustrations. I own a tea book that holds that same fascination for me. It’s ...

My tasting notes: Jun Shan Yin Zhen yellow tea

Milan is well known for being Italy’s fashion and design capital, for its opera house La Scala and for its saffron risotto. Little did I know that I would find a less widely known Chinese tea there.
Braving the merciless afternoon heat, I made my way to Chà Tea Atelier, a specialty tea shop and tea room, where owner Gabriella Lombardi and I chatted over a cup of tea. Gabriella, who is the author of the book “Tea Sommelier”, travels to Asia every year and directly sources her teas. It was fun to hear her talk about China and the cultural aspects that made a lasting impression. 

Tea-infused Negroni, two ways

If you haven’t already, it’s time to hop on the Negroni bandwagon. Negroni, now ubiquitous, is an iconic Italian cocktail. Legend has it that Count Camillo Negroni invented it in 1919 in Florence. Why is it so popular? For one thing, it’s Italian, need I say more? (just kidding, of course). Well, it’s a simple recipe (just 3 ingredients in equal parts) and it doesn’t require any special bar tools. Nevertheless, it’s a very sophisticated cocktail. Its strong flavor, with bitter and sweet notes, might not be for everyone but palates have evolved to appreciate the bitter flavor in coffee and IPA beers, kale and dark chocolate, to name just a few examples. As it turns out, tea is perfect to create playful variations of Negroni, so without further ado, let me introduce you to the Tea-groni, two ways!

Matcha affogato

Affogato reminds me of Italy. A scoop of ice cream is "drowned" in a shot of espresso. A little guilty pleasure. Here I am deliberately switching espresso for matcha because the craft coffee movement is believed to be the predecessor of today’s high-quality tea industry, at least here in the United States. Thank you, craft coffee! I owe you one!The popularity of affogato lies in the combination of opposite flavors (bitter espresso VS sweet gelato) and different temperatures (hot espresso VS cold gelato). Opposites attract, we know that. Think of the many successful flavor combinations which rely on this principle, like sweet and salty (salted caramel, peanut butter and jelly, maple and bacon). It works.