Stay hydrated + healthy this Spring with a Tea Infuser

Spring has arrived and we're loving the change in weather that comes with it. We've been getting ready for the warmer days by experimenting with lots of new refreshing iced drinks for the menu (like our Lavender Lemonade!) and we are loving the possibilities that we keep coming up with for our new obsession, the Grosche Montréal Water & Tea Infuser ($21).

Lime + Mint in a Grosche Tea Infuser

Lime + Mint in a Grosche Tea Infuser

Not only is it chic looking, it's highly functional: with a removable stainless steel infuser, just fill with water and toss in a couple of your favourite fruits/herbs/teas and voila! The perfect healthy spring drink. It can also be used for hot drinks such as your favourite hot tea. It has double-walled glass to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot 

We carry Grosche products at Ollia not just because they’re beautiful and practical, but also because they are designed in Canada and the company has set up an organization called the 'Grosche Safe Water Project'. For every product purchased, they will provide five days of safe drinking water for someone in need. A company we're proud to support!

 

We've come up with a few combinations for your infuser that we think you'll enjoy as much as we do:

Cucumber + Mint 

Raspberry + our organic Summer in Paris herbal tea on ice 

Strawberry + Lemon + Basil 

Blackberry + Mint 

Watermelon + Lime + Mint 

Rosemary + Grapefruit  

Strawberries or Raspberries + our organic Marrakesh Mint green tea on ice

Mention this post for the month of April and receive 10% of your purchase of Grosche Montréal Water & Tea Infuser in store - 810C 16th Ave SW.

Happy infusing!

How to Make Perfect French Macaron Shells

Here is the fool proof step by step instructions to succeed at making macarons shells:

Ingredients for about 30/35 macarons – 5cm diameter:

Prepare your ingredients and lay them out on your working area:

Almond flour – 150g

Icing sugar – 150g

Aged Eggwhite (preferably fresh egg white, cracked 2 to 3 days prior) – 110g divided into two bowls of 55g each

Granulated sugar – 150g

Water – 37g

 

Tips about ingredients:

Almond flour or Almond meal

Almond meal is coarser than almond flour. Try to find the finest almond flour, if not, use a food processor to refine it.

Icing sugar

Cornstarch or no cornstarch, it doesn’t really matter.

Aged Eggwhites

The ageing process will allow you to increase your chance of success at making a nice peaky meringue by increasing the egg whites elasticity.

Boxed egg white work too but there is a risk they won’t rise as nicely as “real” egg whites.

Ageing means cracking your eggs up to 3-4 days in advance, keep in the fridge, take them out and let them rest at room temperature 24 hours before baking.

If one day, you wake up and have a sudden craving for macarons, crack eggs and place the egg whites in a microwave for 10 seconds, this is almost as good as the ageing process.

Granulated sugar

Nothing special here, just the usual granulated sugar.

 

Steps

1-Line your baking sheet with your macarons baking mat. A silicone baking mat or parchement will work well.

2-Blend the almond flour and icing sugar in a food processor.  Do not overblend as you will release the oils in the almonds and your macarons will not turn out. Sift the mixture to obtain the finest mixture. This will increase your chance of getting a smooth shell. Skip this step and save 20 minutes  if you have bought our 300g pouch of mix.

3- Add the first 55g bowl of egg whites to the sifted almond flour and icing sugar and mix well until the batter has absorbed all the egg whites.

4-In this recipe, we are using an Italian Meringue. The following steps should happen simultaneously:

a/ Add the granulated sugar and water in a pot on medium heat, when the sugar and water reach 118 Celsius, take it off. You must use a candy thermometer  to get this exact temperature. 

b/ But first, when the temperature of the sugar and water reach 100 Celsius, using your electric mixer, start beating your second portion egg whites that you have placed in a dry and clean bowl at full speed.

By the time your sugar reaches 118 degrees the egg whites should be frothy slowly add the sugar/water to the bowl, aiming at the space between the bowl and the turning whisk.

Wait for about 2 minutes – add 5-8 drops of colorant if needed- until the temperature of the bowl is lukewarm to the touch (50-55 degrees Celsius).

You have made an Italian Meringue, the peak should look like a beak, or a bent peak.

5-Add ½ of the meringue to the almond flour icing sugar and eggwhite batter. Mix well, this is called “Macaronner”.

6- The “macaronage” step now is crucial and will get you perfect shells if done correctly or will trigger numerous issues if not.

Gently fold the rest of the meringue into the batter using a rubber spatula. Move your spatula from the bottom of the bowl to the edges with one hand, using your other hand to rotate the bowl. Make sure no dry patches are left and keep on mixing until the mixture is shiny and flowing, but still thick in consistency.

Hold your spatula up, the batter should fall creating a large ribbon of a lava like consistency.

7- Fit your pastry bag with a number 8 tip. Pipe out circles of batter on the parchment paper or baking mat.

Once all the batter has been used, tap the baking sheet gently to smooth the batter out and get rid of the air trapped in it.

8-Let the shells rest for 20 to 40 minutes depending on weather (dry weather, less time, humid, more). Turn your oven on at 150 Celsius or 300 F. Baking time and temperature will vary depending on ovens. Start at 300F for 11 minutes, then adjust accordingly (more time/higher temperature if over baked, less if underbaked).

Take your shells out of the oven and let them cool completely before removing them from the mat. Congratulations!  You've now made French Macaron shells that are ready for a delicious filling.  

We'll be posting some of our favourite filling recipes soon, so stay tuned!

Bonne chance!

 

The History of Tea: Earl Grey

What Makes an Earl Grey?

Earl Grey tea blends are classically known as the black tea (Camellia sinensis) with a hint of bergamot orange.  This special citrus is known as a sour orange and originates from a small citrus tree in Italy. Bergamot oranges are quite sour, so as opposed to being consumed juiced, an oil made from them is used in tea. The black tea base of course being from China, which had been around for centuries. 

Who is Earl Grey?

This tea blend's namesake is to Britain's prime minister in the 1830s, Charles Grey, who received a  gift of tea flavoured with bergamot oil. Lady Grey would serve this tea in London, which became extremely popular and was later sold, which is how Twinings began. 

What is Earl Grey like Today?

Earl grey is extremely popular as a tea itself, but has also rose to stardom in it's latte form, the London Fog. A London Fog is an Earl Grey tea, brewed with vanilla and frothed with milk. Iced London Fogs are also popular, served as a cold brewed tea over ice and milk. There are also many creative blends of Earl Grey to try, with ingredients like lavendar, jasmine blossoms, rose petals, and lemongrass to spice things up! You can also try a Earl Green or Earl White, done with a green or white tea base instead of a black tea base, and flavoured with bergamot oil!

Be sure to try our Madame Grey blend, which remains quite classic to Earl Grey, done with a black tea base infused with bergamot, citrus peel and safflower. All ingredients are organic and natural, producing the best quality cup. Try it also in our Earl Grey Macaron! These rich treats will bring you back to London in the 1830s.

Must-Try Recipes : "Summer in Paris" Tea Cocktail

Can you take an iced tea to the next level? We say yes! We created a refreshing summer cocktail that is perfect for an afternoon garden party or a sunset aperitif. The tea base is our house blended, organic 'Summer in Paris'.  It's an herbal tea with a refreshingly tart hibiscus and lemongrass base that works so well with a touch of bubbly. This tisane is a refreshing on it's own, but by adding fresh squeezed lemons, fresh mint and Prosecco it adds a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.  

‘Summer in Paris’ Sparkling Tea Cocktail

by Ollia

2 Tbsp Summer in Paris Loose Leaf Tea

2 Cups boiling water

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Handful of fresh mint (reserve a few leaves for garnish)

1-2 Tbsp Honey to taste

Prosecco or Sparkling Water

Steep tea in boiling water for 15 minutes and then strain.  Stir the honey & lemon juice into the hot tea and toss in a handful of fresh mint and top with remaining water.  Allow the infusion to cool on the counter for a few hours or speed it up by placing it in the fridge.  Over ice pour equal amounts of iced tea and bubbly.  Garnish with a few mint leaves or lemon slices. 

Make sure you make a large pot of this delicious cocktail, it will run out really fast!

Macaron 101 : What is a Macaron

Macarons are a chic new dessert recently arrived from France to our Calgary markets. They look great, taste even better, and are gluten free. As for any new arrivals to Calgary, a proper introduction is needed.

So, what is a Macaron anyway?  This dessert is the perfect union of two delicious almond meringue shells and a smooth filling; usually a ganache, buttercream, curd, or even cheese.  A single bite of these tiny treats will wake your taste buds faster than you can say ‘oooh la la’.

A perfect macaron should taste great but also have the right texture. As a macaron expert you have to know the 3 rules of a perfect macaron:

  1. The exterior should be crunchy with an eggshell-like crust
  2. The ideal macaron should be round with ruffled interior edges "the feet" 
  3. The interior is soft, moist and sometimes a little chewy

A little history:

Fascinating and elegant, the macaron is a fusion of both fashion and food.  However macarons were not always the macarons we know today.

It all started in the 1500’s in Italy. The word itself, deriving from the Italian word “macaroni”, was used for both egg-based pasta and almond cookies. The original macarons resembled more a marzipan rather than a cookie and was used more as a food product than a dessert.  

It wasn’t only until the 1830’s that the single almond cookie turned into the double macaron that we know today. They were combined two by two and topped with jam or spices.

Finally only in the 1890’s, Pierre Desfontaines, second cousin to Louis Ernest Laduree, introduced the colored macarons. He had the idea to stack them up as a sandwich and add fillings with butter crème, jam, compote or ganache.

Today there are thousands of macaron bakeries worldwide and hundreds of flavours. At Ollia Macarons and Tea we have over 25 delicious flavors, both sweet and savory, and planning to have even more.  With all of these flavors to try, just sit back, relax and macaron!


Merci et à bientôt!