Any gardener with English leanings knows the satisfaction of a good, strong cup of tea, paired with a poke around the garden to see what’s coming up. [Ed: It belongs in the category of “essential garden tools.”] Sarah and I have the good fortune to live within brewing distance of each other. So this is a pleasure that can be enjoyed whenever it is tea time.
It’s hard to get good tea in Canada. It was different when we were growing up. In those days, the tea genes could be satisfied by a strong cup of Red Rose or even The Tea (“that dares to be known by good taste alone.”) Later, it was Tetleys. Occasionally, Twinings, especially the English Breakfast [Ed: Before Twinings messed it up by catering to weaker tastes. In our opinion.]
For a brief time, when Marks & Sparks operated in the country, you could pick up strong tea from their incomparable food section. Then they ceased to be. More recently, it was Typhoo (our grandmother’s tipple, though never in bags), always snapped up in multiple boxes whenever spotted in the import section of the grocery store.
Sadly, all these teas have dwindled in flavour as dismally as a thrice-used tea bag. (And I’m talking bags here. There is still good tea to be found in the leaf.)
Then we discovered Yorkshire – specifically, Yorkshire Gold and Yorkshire Red. Sipping a cup is like harking back to the tea times of yore.
But where to buy it? You can find it here and there in the city, but for us that usually involves a trek. There’s Mrs. Bridges’ British food shop in Eglinton Square mall; or Pippins tea shop on Queen Street East in the Beach.
Yesterday, I stepped into a veritable tea-reasure trove at The Chocolate Box* on Donlands just south of O’Connor. Yorkshire lives here (though not yet available through their online store) along with all the essential, English-accented carbohydrates to go along with it. They also stock M&S Fairtrade Teas and Barry’s, as well as other Irish teas (Sarah’s an aficionado).
Be assured, we will be beating a garden path to their door.
[UPDATE, July 2016: *Sadly, The Chocolate Box is no more – or wasn’t, the last time we drove by. But we’re glad to see regular groceries like Sobey’s and Loblaws stocking Yorkshire teas. Cheers, Big Ears!]