The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why not throw a Tour de France tea party?

French macarons. Image from
The Tour de France: beginning in Monaco last Saturday, international cycling teams will race through France, Spain, the small principality of Andorra, Switzerland and part of the Italian Alps, before they return to France for the final section, ending in Paris on the 26th of July. While San Jose’s bicycling and cycle racing scene is not what it once was – it was a wildly popular sport in the late 1889, when San Jose’s first bicycle club was founded – there are still a good number of cyclists and bicycle clubs in the city.

While I’m not a cyclist I know people who are, whose eyes are glued to the Tour de France reports on the television! In honor of my favorite cyclists, I’ve come up with a tea party menu, featuring foods from all of the countries that the Tour de France participants will ride through, as a way of celebrating their effort and the dedication it’s taken them to get this far! While many of these countries don’t have a long-standing tea tradition, they all have traditional appetizers, desserts, and other dishes that can be added to a tea party menu, and be accompanied by a nice cup of tea. So here it is -- my (American-style) Tour de France Tea menu:

Lapsang Souchong black tea
Green tea with mint and honey (Spain)
Tila tisane (Spain)
Verbena tisane (France)

Earl Grey-scented jelly (France and Italy)
Maria galletas (Spain)
Croissants with Creme Fraiche (France)

Barbagiuans (Monaco -- pan-fried vegetable-filled pastry)
Beignets de Sauge (Swiss sage fritters)
Bread with Mushrooms and Alioli (Spain)
Pa amb tomaquet (Andorra -- toast with tomato)
Petite Crustless Quiches with Fines Herbes and Chevre (France)

Getränker Zitronencake (Switzerland -- lemon cake)
Les zestes d’orange confites (France -- candied orange peel)
Prince Albert Millefeuille Pastry with Strawberries and Pastry Cream (Monaco)
Macarons (France)
Madeleines (France)
Spitzbuben (Switzerland -- jam cookie)
Sorbet au champagne (France)
Tea Cake with Pignoli and Almonds (Italy)

Of course, the cyclists will be working out in hot summer weather and will need lots of cold beverages to keep them going. You can sympathize with them and drink your tea iced! I wonder which team and which cyclist will win?

“Mariage Freres: charming tea in Paris”
Laduree’s “Story of the Macaroon”


Jason Witt said...

The sage fritters are probably good but I think those Barbaguians look like they're just to die for. I guess that means my team was from Monaco.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

The barbaguians do sound good! I may end up making them this summer; my family has a similar recipe for a vegetable-filled pastry dish, which is one of my favorite comfort foods ever. We use broccoli, onions, garlic and potatoes in our dish, but this recipe sounds just as good! I haven't really been watching the Tour de France coverage so I don't know how any of the teams are doing ...

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)