England to me has always conjured up afternoon teas and scones. I still do not know why. While recently in Shropshire I spent a week of being totally disappointed by the quality of scones. Invariably they were heavy, doughy, totally lacking in flavour and in most cases the scone could have been substituted for a cricket ball in a cricket match.
On our return journey to the ferry we decide to spend some time in the Jackfield Tile Museum one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. As we finished we noticed signs for Maws Craft Centre which turned out to be only a short amble down the road. What a find! A courtyard surrounded by craft shops and a café. Each and every shop is different but each worth a visit.
Lastly we visited “The Tile Press” a beautiful café. It is located in the building where the tiles used to be made hence the name. It is bright and airy with plenty of space between tables. In one corner are sofas so, if it is a “sink in and get comfy” cuppa you are looking for they are ideal. In another corner is a large table which would easily seat 10 people comfortably. Then there are tables for two or four people interspersed around the floor.
As we approached the counter I spied a tiered display of scones! Real scones; none of those mass-produced cricket balls. We quickly ordered scones with tea and coffee. I found myself with a silly grin on my face after eating these scones.
They were light as a feather and incredibly moreish. I found out that Claire is the baker and it was the first day to have scones on the menu. Weren’t we lucky to find this goldmine?
The glass fronted cup boards were home to delicious cakes, cup cakes and larger cakes which were equally as tempting. Each display was more enticing than the previous one.
Now for those who prefer savoury there was the smell of carrot and coriander soup wafting its way which was equally as tempting. Together with beautiful breads and seasonal salads The Tile Press was catering for everyone.
From the bright airy feel of the café, to the perfect cup of tea, to the enticing aromas, to those tempting cakes, and light as a feather scones this is a café not to be missed. The icing on the cake ~( if you will forgive the pun) was the welcome.
I have to agree with C.S.Lewis. I have been trying to find a cup or a mug large enough to last a chapter of a book never mind a complete book. However, the shape was wrong, or the pattern was wrong, or it wasn’t china which for me is a prerequisite for any cup of tea. Fussy? Yes totally.
Then I got a present from another tea loving friend. Yes, a mug which I can wrap my hand around: the tea stays warm in it and it is CHINA. How lucky can one get? Then there is the little extra. When I get to the bottom of a wonderful mug of tea there at the bottom of the mug is the question “Another cup?” Now that is what I call a thoughtful present.
Do you find there are people who have this uncanny knack of choosing just the correct present? They seem to know what would stir the heart. They have this uncanny knack of picking up something which you didn’t even know you would like.
Now I could spend months thinking about the gift, but I don’t really think I get it right or if I do it really is a fluke. I do however like the process of trying to figure out a good present for someone. I have concluded, that having put the time and thought into the gift, irrespective of how it is received, is more important to me. This way it is not a chore but a delight.
So are you the perfect present chooser?
Tea is a universal beverage which warms the body, heart and mind. It is strange how in the winter a cup of tea can warm a person and during a hot day it seems to cool a person.
Then there are the different methods of making tea. The strength of the tea is very personal. The variety of tea perhaps depends on the time of day. Now one can have an infusions of fruit teas. In Ireland, some people have their preferred brand of tea.
Tea is such a personal taste. In the morning my preferred tea is an Irish Breakfast Tea. It has a strong definite taste and I have a preferred brand – “Lyons Breakfast Tea”. Much of the tea would be grown in plantations in Kenya and Indonesia for this particular brand.
There are many ways, to make tea but it all starts with boiling hot water. It is so essential that the water is boiled and the tea infused immediately to allow the flavour to develop.
But how to keep the tea warm for that second or third cup? At home I have a tea cosy which surrounds the teapot leaving the handle and spout free for pouring. It was one of my earliest quilting projects long before tea became part of my every day.
My sister prefers a tea cosy which covers the entire pot and is lifted off to pour the tea. A friend prefers a knitted tea cosy as she firmly believes that it is the only way of keeping the tea at the correct temperature.
Now my friend Christl, who lives in Wurzburg, Franconia in Germany uses a totally different method. Once the tea has been made in the tea kettle, it is placed on a trivet containing a tea light. This keeps the tea at the perfect temperature. It is an amazing utensil and so very practical.
It is called “Stovchen” in German.
Perhaps this will be my new method for keeping tea at just the correct temperature? Thank you Christl.