Our Christmas run to Branson and the Ozarks is steeped in tradition…right down to which booth we occupy at Godfather’s Pizza in Nixa, MO (balcony area, left side in the middle) and precisely which seats we grab at Silver Dollar City’s Courthouse Theater for the “A Christmas Carol” musical (center auditorium, 2/3 of the way back, exactly in front of the sound booth). When Tiny Tim starts to sing, I’m like Pavlov’s dog…it’s the automatic emotional trigger for me to start blubbering. The run was extra misty this year; I’m missing my parents and sister, and when (again, according to tradition) we stopped to smooch in front of the building façade where I met my husband circa 1980, it was GONE. Bulldozed in favor of a water ride. They did not ask my permission.
Sorry, just had to get that out. The tea part’s coming. Day 2 of the tradition involves Christmas shopping at favorite venues, and some of that shopping was embarrassingly self-indulgent at this fun, colorful little tea shop on the strip.
We asked the TeaMaze owner to guide us to her strongest stuff, and this was on her recommended list. It’s a clobber-you-upside-the-jaw Assam CTC. A teaspoon and a four-minute steep was incredibly stout…malty pumpernickel in 10-pound Doc Martens. Second steep at 5:30 was still strong enough for an a.m. tea for most of you, and took milk extremely well. They’re calling for a hard winter in these parts. This will be useful.