Tea-infused syrups are a great complement to a fresh fruit dessert and flavors can be adjusted seasonally to the different fruits available. The tea-infused port recipe, caught my eye when flipping through the pages of Cynthia Gold’s book “Culinary Tea”.
1 bottle (750ml) sweet white port
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh or 1/4 cup dried rose petals
1/4 cup loose leaf black tea
1tbsp dried lavender.
Place the port in a large pitcher with rose petals. Steep covered for 30 minutes. Add the lavender and tea leaves. Steep covered for an additional 30 minutes – then taste. When the flavor is at a concentration you like, strain the mixture through double layers of cheesecloth, or through a coffee filter. Store in an airtight glass bottle and chill.
Prepare 6 cups of fresh fruit, such as peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and blueberries, pour the port of the fruit and garnish with 1/4 tsp. grated lime.
There are about 3000 tea varietals, yet some teas rise to the top and gain status as well as popularity among tea aficionados worldwide. Dragonwell, also known as Lung Ching or Long Jing, is one of the top ten teas of China – and not undeservedly!
Legend and History
Dragonwell comes from the Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in China’s southern region. The stories behind Dragonwell are as colorful as its name implies. The most intriguing one involves a dragon inhabiting a spring near the heart of Hangzhou. Emperors and locals alike used the spring water to brew tea from the nearby tea bushes and named the tea Dragonwell.
Dragonwell has a unique leaf style that is easy to recognize. The leaves are pine-needle like and flat with a smooth feel. Tea makers create this leaf style by pan firing the leaves in a hot wok and flipping the leaves hundreds of times until the desired leaf shape is achieved.
Dragonwell holds a unique place in U.S. history since it was the tea Chairman Mao served to President Nixon during his groundbreaking trip to China in 1972!
Dragonwell’s distinctive vibrant jade-green leaves are broad and flat, producing a pale emerald color with a slightly sweet, chestnut-like and vegetal flavor. Steep at 175F for 203 minutes to enjoy the perfect cup!
In two month, during my trip through China and Japan, Bret and I will have the pleasure of visiting Hangzhou and look forward to sipping a nice cup of 2013 Lung Ching – as fresh as can be!