It’s a hot summer’s evening and the ground is baking. I’ve just cooled off with a cold outdoor shower and the heat of the earth is warming me from the feet up. I sit on the swing under the ancient chestnut tree wrapped in a towel and breathe in the scent of the air which is mingled with summer blossom, cut grass, hot dry earth, and that smell of slight coolness that comes once the sun is just out of sight over the horizon.
The sky turns a beautiful lavender streaked with dusky pink as if a giant watercolour is being created above me. The frogs in the pond start to call to each other and I can tell it’s going to be another noisy night. Soon the owl and the bats will be out looking for food in the night sky.
Reluctantly I stand up from the swing and make my way back inside to get some clothes on, pyjamas will do, and a sharp knife from the kitchen. I head around the back of the house to the little terrace which is bordered with herbs and pick out my selection. A couple of sprigs of mint, a few chamomile flowers, a small bunch of lemon balm (melissa) and some lavender.
Back in the kitchen these are all thrown into the good old sturdy teapot which I then fill with hot (just off the boil) water. I place the pot on a tray along with a couple of glasses, find my book, and head off to bed. The end to another lovely long summer’s day……….This is my memory of so many days last summer when we lived in the farmhouse in the middle of France. I so loved being able to go outside and pick my herbs to make tea. It became something of an evening ritual and I would use whatever herbs I felt like, choosing from lavender, chamomile, mint, lemon balm, thyme, sage or rosemary.
I don’t think there’s anything better than using freshly picked herbs to make tea and it’s something I want to try to continue. It is a bit difficult over winter though unless you have dried and stored your herbs from the summer. I wasn’t organised enough so I made a trip to the organic shop instead. Here in France you can pick up bags of dried herbs at a reasonable price and can buy either a ready-made mix or a few different bags and mix your own. I like to make a mixture of lemon verbena, chamomile and lavender for an evening tea. In the day I might use mint or mint and lemon verbena.
If buying dried herbs like that isn’t possible then there are also some good teabag options too. I love Pukka, Yogitea, Heath & Heather, Dr.Stuart’s and Nutrisanté here in France, and I always leave the teabag in the cup for a good while. Although I’m an English tea drinker at heart (in other words strong black tea with milk) I’m finding that these lovely gentle soothing herbal teas are creeping into my daily tea-drinking practice more and more!
What about you? Are you a herbal tea drinker? What’s your favourite tea? Jump in and leave a comment ♥