Sugared & Spiced

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[Paris] Mariage Frères

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Mariage Frères

Add*: 13 Rue des Grands Augustins 75006 Paris
Tel: 01 40 51 82 50
Hours: 10:30am~7:30pm
Website: www.mariagefreres.com
Price: [afternoon tea set] €18~37 [tea] €9~12 [desserts] €11~16
Visited on: Nov 2012

Tea lovers, you have undoubtedly heard of Mariage Frères, the oldest tea importer in France. In each of their colonially decorated boutiques, over 600 varieties of teas are layed out apothecary style, tempting visitors with intriguing names like Thé Sur le Nil, Thé l’Opéra, Marco Polo, or Montagne de Jade. I often find myself opening jars after jars, sniffing each exotic blends to see which fits my mood at the moment, and either purchase them by the gram, or enjoy a pot right away in the tea salon along with some tea-infused desserts. A soothing afternoon, guaranteed.

*3 Salon de Thé locations available in Paris, check website for full listing.

(Picture taken right before the salon closed, hence the empty room.)

A good way to enjoy a pot of tea with some dessert bites is Time for Tea (€22), which includes an assortment of tea-flavoured mini desserts served with a tea of your choice.

Black currant macaron infused with a violet-scented black tea.

Marco Polo crème brûlée.

Bourbon vanilla panna cotta with yuzu cream, green tea mousse, and mango pineapple jelly.

Madeleine and green tea financier.

Fruit salad.

Teas are Mariage Frères are, but of course, prepared with the utmost care. To better preserve the aroma, teas are brewed with only purified water in monitored temperature. Each tea has its particular steeping time, and leaves are removed from the infusion before it is served. I tried Rouge d’Automne (Autumn Red), a blend of South Africa red rooibos, candied chestnuts, and bourbon vanilla, and Montagne de Jade (Jade Mountain), green tea blended with the fragrances of Montagne d’Or. The first is smooth, warm, and festive, while the second is sweet-smelling and very fruity. Both lovely.

Also available in the tea salon is a Chariot Colonial, a selection of scones, tea cakes, macarons etc. (€9.5 for two pieces). Scones are served with butter and two types of tea jellies (Pharaon, green tea flavoured with fruits from the Nile valley, and Noel, black tea flavored with mild Christmas spices, pieces of orange zests and vanilla). Not bad, not stellar.

When presented with Mariage Frères’ long list of tea to choose from, one can easily get confused. In that case, consider consulting “L’Art Français du Thé”, a book listing the origins and other details of more than 500 varieties of tea, including an infusion chart and precise instructions on tea preparation. The caveat – the book is only available in French! C’est dommage. The solution – ask the waiters for recommendations. Happy tea-ing!

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 4th, 2012 at 6:30 am