Posts in #tea
Recipe – Lemon & Earl Grey Shortbread
lemon-earl-grey-shortbread.jpg

With the birds chirping in the morning light, the flowers in full bloom, and the days longer and lighter, its safe to say Spring is finally here.

It may come as no surprise that Spring is universally known as a time for birth, but not only for flowers and animals. It can also be a perfect time for creative pursuits. From our love of interiors to our colourful packaging, it's safe to we feel pretty creative here at Devonshire Tea.

This month we decided to put all our creative juices to use in the kitchen and have created the perfect afternoon treat for this season.

Our very own Lemon & Earl Grey Shortbread is the perfect go-to afternoon treat: an ideal snack for those tea gatherings, or even as an alternative lunch bag snack.

With a cooking and baking time of under an hour, this simple yet delicious recipe can be on your coffee table in no time! (Warning: they won't last long!)

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 175g butter (cubed & chilled)
  • Tea from 3x Devonshire Tea Earl Grey teabags – For the fullest flavour cut open each tea bag, add a dash of hot water to the tea, and leave to infuse the night before.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C
  2. Put the flour, sugar, and tea into a large bowl and mix until the tea is evenly distributed, and the mix is not lumpy.
  3. Add the butter and rub together with your hands; the mixture should start to develop a breadcrumb-like texture.
  4. Add the lemon juice and continue rubbing the butter in. At this point, you should be able to bring the mixture together in your hands to form a crumbly dough. Place the dough in the fridge to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. After the dough has chilled slightly, slice it into discs we suggest around 1cm thick. Place onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-12 mins. If slightly thicker, cook for 16 mins.
  6. Once baked allow to sit for 5 mins to cool completely.

Enjoy!


We love these shortbread biscuits. They are light, full of tea-infused flavour, and are perfectly paired with a cup of Devonshire Tea!

Shop our tea collection, including our Earl Grey, here.

About our Plastic-Free "Stitched" Teabags

The topic of plastic in teabags has come up in the press again recently and, ever since we launched in 2014, we've talked about how our teabags are "stitched" without plastics, glue, or staples like others.

So, let's explain that in some more detail…

Others are Heat-Sealed

The plastic in question relates to is the way the teabag paper is sealed.

Any standard square or round teabags from a big-box supermarket brand are heat-sealed.

The paper teabag is closed with a heat press, so it contains a layer of heat-sealable glue which is made from a thermoplastic such as PVC or polypropylene.

Of course that's perfectly safe for consumption, but we think it feels a little disconcerting once you know it's there.

And, more importantly, the glue causes problems with disposal as the plastic will prevent the teabag from composting.

teabags.jpg

Ours are "Stitched"

The machine we use folds the teabag filter paper (an unbleached abacá-based fibre) and uses the string to “stitch” it closed, where others might use a staple or glue to close the teabag and attach the string.

There are no plastics, no glues, and no staples in our teabags

But… we should point out that our individually-wrapped teabag envelopes require a barrier layer to keep the delicate flavour in (and others out), so there is a thin layer of polyethylene film lining the envelopes which can be biodegradable under certain conditions.

Food packaging in the wider market has a long way to go to reduce its reliance on plastics, primarily because food safety and quality is so reliant upon that barrier.

But there is a great deal of work being done in the sector to develop alternatives, and we'll continue to explore those developments to find the best balance of quality with minimal environmental impact.

Any questions? Get in touch!

—Richard

#teaRichard Heath
Elegant Earl Grey Chocolate — A Collaboration & Competition with Chococo

We’ve always maintained that chocolate and tea is a match made in heaven, so we were delighted when Chococo asked Devonshire Tea to be the very first Devon brand to collaborate with them to create a brand new flavour infusion, and to help celebrate the success of their Exeter Chocolate House.

After lots of planning and development by their chocolatiers, the Elegant Earl Grey chocolate was born. A delightfully fragrant creation, these inspired chocolates are created by infusing real Earl Grey loose leaf tea with fresh Dorset cream and a Venezuelan-origin 43% milk chocolate ganache. This delicate filling is then piped into a Madagascan 67% dark chocolate shell.

Subtle and sophisticated — serious chocolate!

Since we had so much fun collaborating on these wonderful chocolates, we popped into Chococo’s Exeter Chocolate House on Gandy Street to meet with founder and chocolate aficionado, Claire Burnet.

We chatted over steaming mugs of Madagascan hot chocolate (well, it can’t always be tea!), and discussed everything from the wonders of cocoa beans and the differences with real chocolate, to the importance of South West businesses supporting each other.

Here’s what Claire had to say...

When did you establish Chococo and what inspired you to do so?

I established Chococo back in 2002 with my husband Andy. We were inspired by the fact that no-one was making truly fresh chocolates using local ingredients or origin chocolate at that time in the UK. The inspiration came from the chocolate experiences I had on the continent back in the late 1980s, when my parents lived in Brussels and Holland where we used to visit artisan chocolatiers making truly fresh chocolates on their premises. I wanted to recreate this connection with fine, fresh chocolate when setting up Chococo.

Why did you choose Exeter as the location for your third shop?

Exeter is a fantastic vibrant city with a buzzing local food culture and a number of thriving independent businesses. It’s also close enough for us to supply our chocolate house on Gandy Street from our chocolate kitchen in Wareham, in Dorset. When we saw the unit on Gandy Street, we knew it would make a perfect location for our third chocolate house; as there is space for both our chocolate shop and for seating. We pictured our customers sitting back and enjoying our origin hot chocolates, locally roasted Crankhouse coffees and Devonshire Tea all in one spot.

How would you describe a Chococo customer?

We appeal to customers of all ages. Chococo is a shop for anyone who appreciates fine chocolate and spending quality time with their friends and family.   

Why is it important for you to work with local businesses such as ourselves?

Working with local suppliers has been part of our DNA since we set up Chococo back in 2002 and we have built strong relationships with other food producers over the years. For example, we have worked with Trevor Craig of Craig’s Farm Dairy based just outside Weymouth (suppliers of all Chococo’s fresh cream since day one).

We love to support local producers because together we can help support the local economy and spread the word about the amazing food and drink that is being produced in Dorset, Hampshire and Devon. Collaboration also allows us to create chocolates with unusual local ingredients - and believe me, we’ve done just that. Blue Vinny cheese, fresh wasabi, watercress & Black Cow vodka are all ingredients that have all made their way into our products in one way or another. We love the challenge of creating new and innovative chocolates.

We also love to champion local food and drink producers in our cafés too. The coffee our customers enjoy in our Exeter chocolate house is slightly different to that served in our Swanage or Winchester houses. In Exeter, we work with Crankhouse Coffee, roasted in Exeter, and in Winchester we work with Moonroast Coffee. This also applies to our tea suppliers, so naturally our Exeter customers enjoy a cup of Devonshire Tea.

Can you give us an example of how you’ve worked with another local producer?

Would you believe we’ve used watercress in one of our chocolates? We ran a competition in our Winchester chocolate house where we asked our customers to suggest a chocolate with local flavours that would capture the essence of Hampshire. The final result was our Totally Twisted Nose chocolate, which is a blend of fresh Dorset cream infused with fresh watercress from the Watercress company (Dorset and Hampshire), origin white chocolate, and Twisted Nose Gin. This unique gin is crafted by Paul Bowler of the Winchester Distillery and one of the botanicals he uses is watercress, so this totally bonkers chocolate is a real taste of Hampshire! It is also quite delicious and won a Gold Academy of Chocolate Award in 2015.

www.chococo.co.uk


Competition Time!

WIN a box of Elegant Earl Grey Chocolates and a selection of Devonshire Tea with Chococo

To celebrate our partnership with Chococo, we have teamed up to offer a delicious prize of a box of their Elegant Earl Grey chocolates and a set of 4 boxes of Devonshire Tea: Earl Grey, Classic Breakfast, Delightful Afternoon and Assam Origin. Visit the competition page over on the Chococo website to enter — good luck!