The Tea Taste Test Project



Following Nabokov’s example (see earlier blog), Book and Kitchen have been a bit heavy handed with the coffee of late. Luckily, a timely arrival in the form of a sampler selection of Adagio’s teas provided us with the perfect reason to switch our beverage.

Tea is a remarkable thing as illustrated by a few anecdotes:

1. It’s old. A 5000 year old rumour has it that a single leaf of tea blew into Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s pot of boiling water. Much to his delight he found that, not only did his frankly bland daily dose of hot water now have some flavour, it also put a spring in his royal step.

2. All teas (white, green, oolong, black and pu’erh) come from the same plant with the fancy name of Camellia Sinensis. In Asia, the tea of choice is white or bai hua (also known as Pekoe and made from the new buds of the tea plant). Our UK national favourite – builder’s tea – is made from the dust left over at the end and, in terms of tea vintage, it’s bottom of the pile.

3. Wars have been fought over it. The Opium Wars of the 19th Century arguably originated from the British not having enough dosh (silver) to fund their tea habit (the tea plant being closely guarded by the Chinese since Emperor Shen Nung’s light bulb moment). The decision by British traders to resort to drug dealing to get what they wanted went some way to souring relations.

If that’s not enough to grab your interest, check out Adagio’s website www.adagio.uk.com for all things tea.

We’ve only just started working our way through their fantastic range (which includes lots of fruity and herbal flavours) but we’ve already fallen in love with White Peach and White Peony…

A touch of tongue in cheek

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A chuckle echoed around Book and Kitchen today as we looked at our new arrivals. A collection of pen and watercolour political cartoons by young local artist, Frances Reed. Themes range from papal indiscretions to political bug bears. Each one is clever, beautifully executed and above all unique.

Frances graduated from The Ruskin School of Fine Art at Oxford and is building her artistic career. She is rapidly gaining recognition and you can spot her beautiful illustration work on the Notting Hill Post website (www.nottinghillpost.com).

Book and Kitchen predict great things and starting at £185 (including frames), these little works of art, signed by Frances, are a great opportunity to get your hands on a ‘one off’ by an up and coming artist.

A useful reminder that Book and Kitchen doesn’t only cater for bodily and literary appetites but also offers a perfect gift shopping opportunity.    Next time you’re in (and looking for a little something), spare some time to rummage along the shelves and look on the walls – there is treasure to be found.  



A recipe for creativity

A warm Terracewelcome to our very first shiny new blog post.

Book and Kitchen, perhaps self-evidently, is about reading and feeding, both vital for physical and spiritual wellbeing. As luck would have it, they are both enjoyable too! Our blog will explore all things related to both.

The link between the stomach and the written word is a strong one. Balzac was famous for drinking more than 50 cups of coffee per day in order to get his creative juices flowing (presumably whilst bouncing off the walls). Vladimir Nabokov was partial to a boiled egg to hatch his next plot, so much so that he “created” his very own recipe for Eggs à la Nabocoque which involves complex techniques such as lowering eggs into boiling water and timing to the 200th second.

With the sun shining here at Book and Kitchen, the current magic formula for creativity is:

1) Find a spot on our sunny terrace
2) Arm yourself with a fresh drink
3) Sit back, smell the roses and let the magic happen