Thursday Door – Wyndcliffe, Chepstow

First order of business – Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Visit Norm 2.0 for more doors and details.

Second on the docket – My door this week is from our trip to Wales last year. We had a plan to visit the Gardens at Veddw one afternoon, and have tea with the owners, Charles Hawes and Anne Wareham. The Mrs had discovered a nearby Sculpture Garden during her research phase, so we planned to visit there in the morning. We arrived at Wyndcliffe Court Gardens, near Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, Wales late morning. Clouds were building, and it started to rain so we stayed inside for just a bit waiting for the rain to ease up before we began our tour of the gardens. There is a wonderful little summerhouse, and photo one is of the doorway on the upper level…

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On the lower level on the back side of the house is what I surmise to be some sort of Hobbit Door. (The Mrs insists it is a window, but since this is my Thurs DOORS posting, it is a door for today…)

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Following our tour of the gardens, we sat on a very comfy sofa next to the fireplace and enjoyed tea and scones while the rain tapped on the windows…

 

Note #1 – The china pattern of that little teapot is the same pattern as my mother’s china set!!

Note #2 – I just found out today that Wyndcliffe Court Gardens permanently closed their doors on 25 September, 2016…

Note #3 – After enjoying our tea, we went and spent a wonderful afternoon at Veddw!!

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Lapsang Souchong… oh YEAH!!!

It has been described as:

  • A campfire in your cup! This remarkable tea has a crisp character with the heady aroma of pine and oak wood fire.
  • The Tea of Mystery – The entrancing, smoky character of this tea is achieved by an elaborate process. The hand-picked leaves are smoked over pinewood embers, for a distinct and mysterious cup.
  • Lapsang Souchong, also referred to as smoked tea, is one of the worlds’ oldest and most distinctive black teas.
  • Lapsang souchong is the tea of campers who like to position themselves in the direction of the campfire smoke. It’s intensely smoky and also a favorite of bartenders, thanks to the layer of sultry nuance it adds to the glass.
  • The flavor is very assertive and appeals to those looking for a bold cup of tea. In recent years, Lapsang-Souchong has begun to grow in popularity and has become the favorite tea of many who also appreciate single-malt Scotch whisky and fine cigars. It was once known as a man’s tea but more and more women are drinking it as well.

All that … what more can I say? Oh, yeah ~ I introduced The Mrs to Lapsang Souchong way back in 2004 and it has been our collective Favorite Tea ever since. Now for the sad part of the story.  A couple years ago the flavor intensity of the available LS in our area diminished most dishearteningly (dang that would be a good Boggle word!). We tried some from a nice little tea shop in Champaign, IL, home of the University of Illinois. No go. We tried importing it from England. Nope, still too mild. We bought Stateside via Amazon.  Same thing, no smokey flavor to encircle the palate.

And now the Happy Part of the story!  Just yesterday (Nov. 22nd), the blogger sustainabilitea,  published a post, and in it she mentioned that she worked part-time at a tea shop, SereneTeaz, and gave a link to it. I, of course, clicked the link to check it out, and they sell Lapsang Souchong tea!  I emailed the tea shop and inquired about the intensity of their LS. I had a reply within an hour, and based on that reply, I placed an order right away.

Here is what hooked me, “It’s very strong, you can actually use it as a marinade if you wanted to cook with it. If you’re looking for a touch of smoke try Russian Caravan. Our lapsang  is very smokey. It stays with you after drinking it. Hope this helps.”

Happier part ~ The LS tea parcel arrived via FedEx THIS MORNING!! As a disclaimer, I will confess that both SereneTeaz and I are located in Illinois, but STILL!!!!!!

Happiest part ~ I opened that parcel of LS tea and took a good loong whiff, then insisted The Mrs do the same. Joint verdict…. good strong fragrance! I proceeded to make a cup for myself to try out the flavor, but none for The Mrs cuz she is caffeine sensitive and does not drink anything with caffeine after 11 or so in the morning.  (Not an issue for me…Caffeine+ is my blood type…) I took a sip after 4 minutes of brewing and insisted The Mrs try it as well. OH YEAH! This is the Lapsang Souchong we have been missing! Thanks Janet and Serene Teaz!!!

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Only 2 regrets about this picture: First, my camera phone is not that great so pic is a bit fuzzy. Second, I wish I had a SMELL-aphone so you could enjoy the incredible fragrance of this tea!!!