Last year when I was in Nice, I wrote a post called A few Nice places for tea, where I mentioned some of the possibilities for drinking tea here in the South of France. Earlier today, I walked by the Café Indien that I wrote about then and it appears business is still thriving. There are actually a few new tea shops as well as a Salon de thé or two that I've seen and I plan to talk about some of them in the coming days. You can hardly wait, right?
Today was the first day that some tea shops finally reopened after the Sylvestre (New Year's) holiday, and Xavier and I were on a mission to find good tea-related things to report on. I'd circled the block looking for a place a year ago, and I was persistent in my desire to locate it this time around. With Xavier's help, we got much closer. But it still eluded us, and I'm hoping it's a more enthralling story than that the place simply went out of business.
Then we scouted out a few more places, but either they weren't open till afternoon or they were obviously inappropriate. Here's the thing: just because a place is called a Salon de thé in France, that doesn't necessarily mean that it has anything to do with decent tea. It might, but it's definitely not guaranteed.
From what I can tell, Salon de thé only means 'an indoor place to sit and have something to drink and possibly eat'. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I wish they wouldn't include tea in the name. It's not only confusing-it's also a bit disconcerting.
A place I avoided the first time I scouted out good locations was Seizième De Soupir, which to my eyes looked like the sort of place a socialite might go to take a break in the midst of her shopping. But we were starting to get desperate as the other places on the list seemed less and less suitable. Or less and less open.
So here we were:
Looks more like a chocolate shop than anything tea-related, doesn't it? Well, there was definitely some other-worldly looking chocolate creations, and when I become a chocolate blogger, I'll definitely be returning to this place.
But I can assure you...this was quite a good find to get a cup of tea, as well. You want to read more on that, don't you? This is a teablog, after all.
The tea on offer was from a company called Mighty Leaf Monte-Carlo, and I have no idea if they're connected to the Mighty Leaf Tea in the United States. Will try to find that out. The choices were: a 'Himalayan Peak' Darjeeling, an Earl Grey, a very good Hojicha, something called 'Green Tea Passion' (something to do with green tea and tropical fruit), another green tea called 'Jasmine Mist', as well as a 'Marrakesh Green Tea' (gunpowder mixed with peppermint), and finally a very radical thing called 'Coco Chai' (Rooibus with coconut, red pepper and other spices).
What would you guess we went for? Well, we both wanted to try the Hojicha. And a good portion of our afternoon was spent talking about this tea in particular and Hojicha in general. To anyone but a tea obsessive, that sounds like a dull afternoon. For us, it was anything but boring.
Again with my translation of the French (aided massively by Xavier):
'This green tea is quite popular in Japan. It's rather tasty due to the manner in which it is roasted. Woody with an aftertaste of hazelnut.'Here's how the leaves looked (I thought they looked more like a highly-oxidised Oolong than a typical green tea):
But the whole experience? The tea, the location, the beautiful sunny day in the South of France. Would we recommend it? We definitely would. Right Xavier?
Here's how it looked under the chandelier: