The best thing for me about a holiday, any holiday is the drinking of leisurely cups of tea.
And for me, quite frankly, the tea culture in the Middle East, Gulf states and North Africa is unrivaled. Except by the Chinese perhaps but this isn’t a discourse on who does it better – this is about holidays and desires and favourite things.
Almost every morning since our arrival in Dubai, I’ve made a cup of tea and savoured it – not with sunrise though (for we’re still trying to get back into normal sleeping patterns). I sip and drink and read and rest while the children sleep and the day is calm – refreshment for my mind and soul and possibly fortification for the day ahead.
A few days ago, we visited the International Centre for Culinary Arts because some day I fancy myself in chef’s whites and at the helm of a culinary institute. Some day. And so, any chance to see and experience a professional kitchen will not be passed up.
I chose lunch – The Crunchy Bite of fried eggs and Oman crisps in toasted white bread, solely on account of the advertisement on the menu of the Filli Tea Signature Blend, which I swapped for Zafran tea.
I love Saffron, Zafran but quite frankly have never had it in ‘sweet’ applications – only savoury, in the like of pilafs and paella but I know that its essence is best drawn out in liquids and particularly milk. And so, though I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t surprised.
The tea was nice and fragrant when set before me – milky and with floating saffron strands.
At first, it was a bit too sweet, but that was fixed with some more hot water.
I liked the spice – not quite ‘Masala chai’ but definitely full of a blend of warming, welcoming spices.
I downed it in no time, and left with a pack in hand. Thankful that they had bags to send me away with, full of memories of sunny afternoons and chef dreams and sweet, milky teas.
To this blend, I’ll add saffron and brew it lovingly when I’m back home.
And with a reminder of all its benefits, I’ll kick my feet back and enjoy it all.
Thank you, ICCA Dubai.
Saffron tea, Camel Milk Gelato, what next? Puffy pita bread? Camel cheese? Who knows