Don't you think this is just the best way to start a lazy day? Long weekends - how I love them. And again, this little picture marks something of my journey towards a handmade life - the bread is homemade, the tea is loose-leaf organic in a handmade, hand-painted mug. And what is it about the tray that brings it all together somehow?
There are two amazing tea shops in Brussels. My absolute favourite has to be L'Heure Bleue (metro Madou). I love the smell when you walk in the door. It's got a whole wall dedicated to tins of poetically named teas which are mixed there in the shop (and are almost all organic). To the normal range of teas you might expect, they add things like (names in translation): Little Red Riding Hood tea (woodland berries); Chinese night (assam green with jasmine); and a Christmas tea! My all-time favourite is probably their Winter tea - black tea with cinnamon, cloves, apples and a few other spicy/fruity things. Yum. AND they also sell teapot paraphernalia and handmade jewellery. They even have Sunday tea tastings (including tea ceremonies) and workshops showing you how to recycle old jewellery into something new - so much more than just a tea shop.
For the French-speaker, you are probably more likely to have heard of the Palais des Thes. It's a French company specialising in locating fairtrade, organic and otherwise unusual or unique tea plantations around the world. There are two branches in Brussels - one near the Grand Place and one near Place Stephanie. They sell some great little taster sets - small samples of a range of different teas - as well as teapots etc and books about tea. They also have a 'smelling' wall where you can smell some of the most unusual teas. And believe me, some are VERY unusual.
There is a wider choice of variety here, and the organic certification is the French one, which is even more rigorous than the UK one as it includes all sorts of additional extras concerning working conditions, but it also lacks the atmosphere of a small independent boutique. Both tea shops are fantastic - and to think I suffered from lack of good tea during my first year! Now the corner of my kitchen is bursting with really lovely teas.