Tag Archives: tea

Tea in New York, Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser

The last few years has seen a spate of French bakeries in our little Pacific Northwest city, and it’s been fun exploring them.
A few have successfully gone on to open second locations, and I recently saw a sign for a third and possibly fourth location for one of my favourites, this made me think of Eric Kayser, and had me digging around for these photos.

One of the lovely things we did this past spring was pop into the new New York Maison Kayser boulangerie on the Upper East Side for tea.

We were super excited to see this Parisian chain finally make its way across the Atlantic.

Maison Kayser

When it comes to breads and pastries, Eric Kayser is a genius; some call him a ‘superstar baker’, his bakeries are renowned and worldwide, the website lists far-flung locations such as Kiev, Dakar, Seoul, Lisbon, Beirut and of course, Paris.

Plus, he invented his own liquid sourdough-starter leavening process, they do not use commercial yeast at the bakeries… genius!

Maison Kayser Maison Kayser, New York

It’s the boulangeries on Rue Montorgueil and Place Vendome that made me a fan – I had breakfasts there… some rushed, some unhurried, of tangy crusty chewy baguettes slathered in butter and jam, and for spontaneous picnics in the park, were those colourful tempting pastries and sweets.

I’ve been so enamoured with their pain aux céréales it inspired this version.

Maison Kayser, New York

Three more Maison Kaysers have opened in New York since our visit.

The UES location is pretty much identical to the others – open and bright with large glass display cases with rows of luscious and dreamy looking desserts, and beautiful striking breads, croissant, brioches and mini cakes.

The seating area for dining is plain and classic, and towards the back is a glassed-in working bakery, where we watched the breads bake on site.

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It was a nice break from running around the city; we had tea with our pistachio financiers, St. Honore cake, flakey buttery croissants and pain aux raisins and relaxed and caught up, and agreed that tea in the New York Maison Kayser is as delightful as its Paris location.

Our delicious tea from Palais des Thés perfectly rounded up our ‘little Paris in New York’ experience nicely.

My friend L. calls Maison Kayser a bread empire… “From Kiev to Kinshasa, this is classic empire building” he says.


Tea and Chickpea Cakes

Tea and Chickpea Cakes Tea and Chickpea Cakes

I think it was my dad who helped nurture my love for tea, and although it took me years to become a ‘real tea drinker’, I always had a revering fascination with tea.

My dad spoke wistfully of tea back when we couldn’t afford it, and when we could, he ordered it from the special duty-free catalogue we received each year.

He called it the tea of the Czars; it may have been Kusmi tea, not that I remember. For all his faults, my dad was never a boastful man; he was humble to a point of self-deprecation, yet he talked about his tea with such pride and passion, I knew it was something special.

We had it on special occasions only, on its own or with nuts or savoury pastries – that’s how he preferred his tea.

I have a deeper appreciation for tea now, its healing and calming properties; most of what I know about tea I learned from François-Xavier Delmas’ blog Discovering Tea, and his excellent tea shops.

Tea and Chickpea Cakes
Tea and Chickpea Cakes Tea and Chickpea Cakes

I’m not a daily tea drinker, just because I like a little ceremony to go with my tea; I do tea and chickpea cakes often, the savoury (chickpea cakes) and soothing (tea) pairing makes me a little nostalgic and comforted.

The cakes are a little spicy, they melt in your mouth and the tea is cooling, it’s a deliciously unique and complimenting combination.

These chickpea cakes are my favourite teatime snack; the thing I love most about them is their versatility; an assortment of vegetables can be baked into them – onions, carrots, peas (pictured), cauliflower, bell pepper, cabbage, potatoes… etc and it always turns out wonderful.

It’s best enjoyed right out of the oven, when it’s still hot and crispy on the outside, and it’s perfect for tea anytime.

Tea and Chickpea Cakes

Tea and Chickpea Cakes Tea and Chickpea Cakes

Sunday Breakfast: Tea and Speculoos Cake

Bonne Maman Speculoos Cake

I love Sundays; it’s my favourite day of the week, my pace slows down considerably and life suddenly becomes unhurried.
It’s the only day that is truly mine, to do with as I wish…. no obligations, work or errands to run.

Sundays are about leisurely languid activities – like sleep-ins and breakfasts in bed, and taking the time to read a book so enthralling, you reread chapters just to relive the emotions.

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One of my favourite things about Sundays is breakfast, or brunch or whenever I eat my first meal.

It isn’t always fancy or elaborate, and sometimes, not much thought goes into what I’m eating but there’s always a certain salience to it.

Like these little Bonne Maman L’étoile spéculos pépites de sucre (speculoos cakes/stars), I got them months ago in Paris to have for snacks while running around the city but with all those amazing boulangeries and patisseries in Paris… I just packed them and brought them home with me.

They make idle Sundays at home complete; they’re like spiced muffins with sugar crystals, utterly delicious and not cloyingly sweet.

It goes well with a nice cup of almond milk tea, and some fruit, for a light but indulgent breakfast.

It’s a thing of Sundays!


Tea and Macarons



For my birthday this year, I had a little tea party.
I’ve always wanted one of those ever since I was a little girl reading about tea parties in fairy tales, although I’m not very big on tea, but that has never deterred me before.

I love really low-key birthdays, my best birthdays have always been the quiet ones; it probably has something to do to with my disastrous tenth birthday ‘party’… but that’s a story for another day.

Mine was a small tea party; tea and macarons for one or two or three…

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Tea and Macarons

For a great tea party for one or for fifteen people, you’d need good tea; we had mango tea; black tea with mango pieces and tart fruity spices. Lovely and luscious, it smelled divine … If I wrote tea descriptions for the tea company I’d say it’s fragrant and heady, like being in love on a tropical island.

The fine tea set was brought out, and a platter filled with macarons with delicate flavours like rose, pistachio, lavender and vanilla, and ginger spiced cookies for balance.

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Tea Pouring Afternoon Tea

Everything tastes better when fancied up, and birthdays are best when spent with loved ones.
I hope this is the beginning of many beautiful themed birthday ‘parties’


Rooibos Tea Espresso

Tea Espresso & Biscuits

Although I like to pretend that I am, I’m not really a tea drinker.
It took me a while to accept this about myself; it’s not that I hate tea – I don’t, I just can’t seem to incorporate the ritual of tea-drinking into my daily routine.
I like the idea of tea; it conjures up images of fanciful afternoon teas and super healthy people; most of the passionate tea drinkers I know are also seemingly healthy people.
For a while I thought I could learn to love drinking tea, since I already love everything else about it.

Tea Break

I read tea blogs (I bet you didn’t know there was such a thing), enjoy spending time at stylish tea stores and I actually do buy tea – I’m just not as passionate when it comes to the actual brewing and drinking.

Rooibos Tea Rooibos Espresso

I started ‘drinking’ rooibos tea several months back, it’s a naturally sweet caffeine-free tea from southern Africa – it’s warm, has bold flavours and reminds me of caramel.
I decided I liked it enough to buy a large bag, only to have it sit for months on end with my other teas, every once in a while I’d remember how good it is and make myself a cup.

And then I discovered red espresso, rooibos tea brewed like coffee; it can be prepared using a stovetop espresso maker.
It’s my new favourite way of making tea, and maybe it’s the novelty but I’m drinking more tea now coffee-style!

Stovetop Espresso Tea

The rooisbos tea espresso tastes richer and smoother than regular tea.
I sometimes make mine with a splash of lemon and a teaspoon of golden syrup, to finish off dinner.
Or for a simple afternoon tea, sweetened with maple syrup and coconut milk, goes very well with cookies.

163/365 Tea Espresso #mostly365 Sweet Break

Tea Break