Tropical fruit in the Temperate and Polar zones, strawberries and currants in the tropics, wheat in the Americas, tomatoes and potatoes in the Old World: there’s a lot to be said for the modern day supermarket that allows what was once regional and season food to be available year round and worldwide. As a regular drinker of tea, and a curry addict, I would be the last person to criticise, but there has been something lost in contrast to what has been gained. There is a part of me that longs for the time when spices like pepper and cloves, or fruits like pomegranates and bananas, or other consumables like tobacco, could invoke a sense of the exotic, of faraway places like the glittering cities of Arabian Nights or fading lithographs of Cairo and Calcutta.
Which brings me ratherly neatly to this fruit tea by T2. Pomegranates were something I had never tried until recently, but was aware of from Greek mythology and Persian cuisine. The first time I tried it was when I went berserk in a spice store in London and spent about 100 pounds on various spices including dried pomegranate seeds. Unfortunately, the one or two occasions I had bought a pomegranate, it was so tasteless and colourless that I threw it out. An Iranian flatmate a couple of years ago had given me a small bottle of pomegranate molasses which I used in various pilafs and salads not just for its sweet and sour taste but also for its hint of the exotic east.
The description on the box says “The essence of the Turkish grand bazaar . . . a sweet, tangy and mystical flavour” which was enough to sell me. Sitting here nursing a glass, it got me thinking how even two or three generations back, my Scottish or Russian ancestors would never taste or perhaps even heard of foreign flavours like pomegranates, almonds, chillies, etc.
This tea is such a beautiful, deep red. There is the ubiquitous rosehip which I imagine is for the colour as much as the Vitamin C. Does it actually have a taste of its own? There is a full-bodies flavour, a touch of sweetness and a nice little tang of sourness. I wouldn’t mind a little bit more sourness to balance out the sweetness, but I realise a lot of people will refuse to drink anything that is bitter or sour whereas I quite enjoy having a range of strong flavours throughout my day – I can’t think of anything worse than the usual bland sweetness of the modern diet.
I really hope that there is something similar in the US and Europe, but for everyone in Australia this tea is worth trying. It makes a nice counterpart to Hibiscus tea, or lemon tea when you need a change from black or green tea.