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Discover the last posts in English of the team of Les Jardins de Gaïa!

How to make Matcha!

Matcha is a precious green tea made from a shade-grown tea called Tencha. Only the tender part of the leaf is used and is ground to a powder with a millstone.

Because the leaves have been protected from the sun, this tea powder is distinctive for its beautiful deep green colour and its high levels of amino acids which give it a very sweet and tasty flavour. Traditionally used in the tea ceremony (Chanoyu), the creamy liquor of this green tea is a real concentration of benefits for body and mind.

Crisp and invigorating, matcha can also be used as a very original ingredient for making delicious cocktails, savoury dishes and unusual cakes.

To preserve the flavour, it is best to keep it in the refrigerator once opened.

To prepare matcha:

➥ Moisten the chasen to soften it. Pour hot water into a matcha bowl and discard the water.

➥ With a cha-shaku, put in two measures of matcha (about 2 g), or the equivalent of 1 teaspoon.

➥ Pour in the water, heated to 80 °C, and start beating very slowly, loosening the powder from the bottom. Then beat vigorously in an « M » shape without touching the bottom to make the infusion foam.

➥ When you have a thick foam, finish by beating gently to make it as fine and smooth as possible. Be sure to keep the elbow and the wrist very flexible: the movement should come from the shoulder.

 

New land for the Heiveld rooibos cooperative

Ever since our first rooibos came on to the market in 1996, we have been paying regular visits to our South African partners in Heiveld and Wupperthal. We have always taken a keen interest in the land and the conditions the rooibos is grown in. We also love meeting our growers and catching up with our producer friends.

In September this year, Arlette Rohmer was invited to Heiveld to mark the 15th anniversary of the cooperative. She was able to see the involvement of all its members, especially in relation to a new project to acquire more land. This is a vital project for the future of the cooperative, which we are supporting.

The difficulty of finding land…

The Heiveld rooibos cooperative celebrated its 15th birthday this year.

The Heiveld rooibos cooperative celebrated its 15th birthday this year.

Only two percent of land in the Bokkeveld region, where most rooibos is produced, is owned by local small producers. The rest is divided between large landowners and the government.

At a time when arable land is becoming more scarce because of drought caused by climate change that seems to be here to stay, it is becoming increasingly difficult for small producers to gain access to land.

This problem is aggravated by the fact that the South African government also buys land which it only leases to a small group of farmers, automatically excluding small producers of organic rooibos.

 

An opportunity not to be missed

It takes 18 months before a rooibos plant can be harvested for the first time. Once mature it can be harvested between three and five times before being cut down to allow the earth to rest for two years. This fallow period means you need to have large areas of arable land available to grow the plant without depleting the soil.

It takes 18 months before a rooibos plant can be harvested for the first time. Once mature it can be harvested between three and five times before being cut down to allow the earth to rest for two years. This fallow period means you need to have large areas of arable land available to grow the plant without depleting the soil.

Therefore when an opportunity to acquire new farming land presents itself, it is important to seize it. This is what happened recently with the 74 members of the Heiveld rooibos cooperative which knows its future directly depends on the extent and quality of its land.

In 2001, Laurence Dworkin, who owns the Bloemfontein Farm nature reserve in Bokkeveld, agreed to give four hectares to the newly-created Heiveld cooperative on a 99-year lease. This ideally situated plot was used to establish a tea garden.

Recently Mr Dworkin decided he no longer wished to continue managing the approximately 2,750 hectares of Bloemfontein Farm on his own and suggested the cooperative might acquire it via a trust of which he is a member. Of this extensive area, 130 hectares are arable and 70 have been planted to produce wild and organically grown rooibos. The land is classified as a « nature reserve » because of its extraordinary biodiversity (there are 9,500 different plant species, 70% of which grow nowhere else in the world), which reduces the risk of pollution in the future.

It was a real gift!

 With 130 hectares to farm, acquiring the Bloemfontein Farm nature reserve will be a breath of fresh air for the Heiveld cooperative.

With 130 hectares to farm, acquiring the Bloemfontein Farm nature reserve will be a breath of fresh air for the Heiveld cooperative.

To make the acquisition, the cooperative launched a crowdfunding campaign in January 2016. The campaign, which we supported and which is now up and running, has been promoted by fundraising on the group’s website (http://heiveld3fountains.org/about/).

Once completed this will allow the cooperative to increase the 512 hectares of land currently in cultivation to a total of 642 hectares.

Faced with the rural exodus affecting young South Africans in particular and which produces genuine socioeconomic deserts in the countryside, an operation like this will continue to preserve the magic of Heiveld and produce new generations of farmers. If this tale has touched your heart, get on board and support this project which we believe is so important to the future of the production of organic and fair trade rooibos!

 

The water at the heart of the flavours

A cup of tea is made up of over 99% water, so water quality is the first thing to consider if you want to bring out the full potential of a tea. Here are a few tips to help you perfect your brew…

L-eau-au-centre-des-aromes-2016
The effect of minerals on the infusion

Water which is too chalky or with too many minerals can tend to mask the intricacies of brewed tea, giving a soulless liquor. The chlorine in some tap waters spoils the taste of the infusion, while a poor quality spring water will tend to give a flat and characterless infusion. You need to find a happy medium. If you are using tap water, it is better to filter it first. With bottled water, the ideal is to choose a spring water with little or no taste and just a little mineral content to “carry” the flavours.

Should you boil the water?

It is not recommended to boil the water for too long, because in losing its temporary hardness and oxygen, the water can tend to highlight the bitterness of the tea. Finally, you must ensure it is allowed to cool to the recommended temperature or alternatively bring down the temperature with cold water.

 

Haruki_Nanmei_A_portrait_of_Lu_Yu(part)“When the water boils, it forms bubbles on the surface like fish eyes and makes a sound which is barely audible. When it sings around the edges like a babbling stream and looks like a necklace of countless pearls, it has reached the second stage of boiling. When it leaps like a majestic breaker and resounds like a swelling wave, it has boiled enough.”
Extract from Cha Jing or The Classic of Tea – Lu Yu

 

Drawing opposite: Haruki Nanmei : A portrait of Lu Yu

 

 

 

 

These considerations broadly apply to all teas, rooibos and herbal teas. We give you the recommended temperature and infusion time on our packaging and on the product information sheet in our online shop in tasting tips so that you can follow the specific instructions for each type of leaf.

Dare to be cool, with tea!

We are used to brewing tea in hot water adapted to all types of tea. Infusing in cold water however, although not nearly as common, can also bring out delicious flavours and enhance certain tastes. This is because no bitterness develops when you use this method. It is very easy to do, it works with any type of tea or tisane – the classics or the rare and precious – and it is perfectly suited to our busy lifestyles …

Precious essential oils

The flavours of a tea, particularly the essential oils, are naturally present in the leaves. These are soluble and even in cold water you can easily get a very tasty brew. In addition, cold tea leaves do not develop a bitter taste, because below 80° C, the polyphenols, which cause bitterness, are released in very small quantities. The amino acids and other vitamins, on the other hand, remain.

How to make a cold infusion: trust your intuition

  • Use the quantity of tea or tisane recommended on the bag, tube or packet.
  • Add a teaspoon to the amount above “for the pot”
  • Place it in a teapot, a jug or a glass bottle filled with filtered water.
  • Infuse in a fridge or at room temperature. Strain, taste and enjoy!

The infusion time may vary according to individual taste, the palate and your mood.

A few suggestions

TF1322 Délice des fruitiersDélice des fruitiers

Put three tablespoons of this dried fruits mixture into 1 litre of cold water and leave overnight in the refrigerator. Savour this intense, sun-drenched drink …

TV6582_Sencha PremiumSencha Premium

This harvest of the first leaves of spring, shaped into small dark green needles, releases a golden-yellow liquor with green glints when infused for half an hour. This exceedingly high-quality Sencha is perfect for a cold brew.

TN4682_Yin-Ya-ChaYin Ya Cha

Leave these delicate golden black tea buds to infuse for between half an hour and an hour. The result is a perfect balance between delicate flavours and velvety notes.

The advantage of spring teas

The most precious teas usually come from the spring harvest. When the tea plants wake from their winter sleep they are bursting with essential oils, the source of most of the complex flavours that can be detected when tasting tea. The buds and young leaves, delicately hand-picked at this time, contain a very high concentration of essential oils. Making a cold infusion using a high-quality tea is really exciting; it will develop nuanced flavours which would be imperceptible when hot.

Tip:

When you are out for a walk or playing sports, think about putting a few tea leaves in your drinking bottle or bottle of fresh water. As the day goes by the day you’ll have pleasantly scented water with natural vitamins!

Holi Beauty: Silver Medal 2016

Médaille d'argent Les épicuresIt’s new and it’s already a prize winner! HOLI BEAUTY – FTGFOP1 FF, one of our 2016 first flush black teas, has just been awarded the Silver Medal by “Les Épicures de l’Épicerie Fine”. The jury of catering professionals and delicatessens was convened by the magazine Le Monde de l’Épicerie Fine. These discerning gourmets picked out this tea, which comes from a famous garden in Darjeeling (Selimbong), for the way it is manufactured, its appearance and taste, the fact that it is grown using biodynamic agriculture and for its attractive packaging.

Holi Beauty – FTGFOP1 FFTU2196_Holi-Beauty_Epicure-argent, a first flush Darjeeling of great aromatic richness

This natural black spring tea, harvested by hand during the festival of colours (Holi), is noted for its rich aroma. The crystal clear infusion is a perfect balance between the vegetal, the floral and the fruity. It evokes in turn the subtlety of blackcurrant leaf, the delicacy of orchid, the gourmet flavour of red fruits and the exoticism of lychee, all complemented by a pleasant touch of honey.

Logos Holi BeautyLabels which reinforce the quality of origin and production

This grand cru tea has a Darjeeling PGI and Demeter and WFTO labelling. The Darjeeling PGI is the only Protected Geographical Indication recognised by the European Union and India, and certifies its origin to consumers. We are committed to biodynamic farming and have supported the Selimbong garden, which is Demeter certified, in developing this form of agriculture. Since 2016, we have also been members of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization), which ensures a global approach to more just and equitable trade both at the producer level and for organisation members.

In short, Holi Beauty – FTGFOP1 FF has reaped the benefits not only of a rich soil but also of refined agricultural practices that respect both nature and mankind.

Cuilleuse-a-selimbongThe Selimbong garden: a tea estate of great repute

Like great wines, great teas come from renowned terroirs. Selimbong garden has produced fine tea since 1860, and this spring the producers have combined their expertise to develop Holi Beauty.
The Selimbong team holds the prestigious Tea Board of India Award for Quality and every summer they gather the muscat flavour teas awaited by connoisseurs worldwide.

A Fine Prize: Les Épicures de l’Épicerie

Following the same principle as the two previous competitions, the Les Épicures de l’Épicerie Fine awards of 2016 were chosen by a jury of six professionals who met in Paris on June 13. These experts evaluated 125 products in different classes which had been rigorously chosen by the editorial team of “Le Monde de l’Épicerie Fine”, before awarding the best of them Gold, Silver and Bronze Epicure awards.

Check out Holi Beauty – FTGFOP1 FF: http://www.jardinsdegaia.com/organic-black-tea-holi-beauty-ftgfop1-ff.html#main
Les Épicures de l’Épicerie Fine: http://www.monde-epicerie-fine.fr/category/prix-les-epicures/

Our gyokuro, “Shadow of the phoenix” is grown in the heart of one of the treasures of Japan’s heritage!

Gyokuro A l'ombre du phénix - Japan HeritageThe Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs has just given a Japan Heritage* certification to the garden where our precious gyokuro is produced.

This certification is given to cultural sites (archaeological sites, castles, temples and artistic displays …) which the agency judges to be part of the great cultural heritage of Japanese history, culture and savoir-faire.

It was our Japanese friend and partner Masahiro Takada who told us the good news:

Gyoruro A l'ombre du phénix“This garden is located in a historic area that was very important during the Tokugawa Shogunate, which began after the great battle of Sekigahara. Also the man who invented the process of steaming green tea, the tea « God » Souen Nagatani, worked in one of the houses in the village where I live. So this is a historic place and one where the green tea steaming process began. Today the garden produces organic Gyokuro (A l’ombre du phénix / Shadow of the phoenix).”

 

As well as having this distinction, this gyokuro is in itself an exceptional shaded tea which we invite you to discover or rediscover: http://www.jardinsdegaia.com/green-tea-gyokuro-shadow-of-the-phoenix-tin.html#main

*http://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkazai/nihon_isan/pdf/nihon_isan_pamphlet_english.pdf

Tasting notes: Snowview claws

Notes de dégustation Griffes de Snowview Darjeeling primeurs 2016Snowview claws is a very special white tea. The long buds, braided by hand and dried in the sun in Darjeeling at the time of the spring harvest, are a particularly rare and precious creation and we are delighted to be able to bring it to you.
This year at our traditional tasting of newly arrived first flushes, we were particularly impressed by the great aromatic complexity of this 2016 blend.
So much so that we decided to give it its own tasting note to record our highly positive first impressions!

Origin: Snowview Garden, Darjeeling, India

Labels: Organic, Fairtrade, PGI

Colour of tea: White

Water temperature: 85°- 90°C

Infusion time in a teapot: 4-5 minutes

Quantity infused: 7-8 grams in a 500 ml teapot

Dry leaves: long, fragile buds delicately braided by hand. These fluffy, dark brown filaments are illuminated by their beautiful silver tips. The fragrances they release are sweet and evoke milk chocolate.Notes de dégustation Griffes de Snowview Darjeeling primeurs 2016

Infused leaves: The braids remain intact and take on a beautiful shiny, dark brown chestnut appearance. There is no trace of broken leaves in the bottom of the cup. The flavours are so rich that they become almost intoxicating. First comes the flavour of biscuit and brown sugar, then the sequence continues with cocoa and a milky flavour ending with the delicious scent of candied dates.

Liquor: Bright yellow and clear. Quite airy.

The scent: The infusion releases truly delicious aromas that make you want to immediately lift the cup to your lips to taste it. One by one they evoke the scent of apple compote, custard and vanilla with a lovely floral touch of violet. This symphony of scents ends with a particularly pronounced aroma of fudge.

Notes de dégustation Griffes de Snowview Darjeeling primeurs 2016In the mouth: All the promise of the scent comes to fruition in the mouth. The attack is very tasty with a truly amazing aromatic density. The well-balanced, airy liquor develops clear, delicious flavours. One after another you can taste apple sauce, vanilla pod and fudge with a final harmony of sugar syrup and the floral freshness of violet that lingers in the mouth. It is a real festival of flavours that makes you want to come back for more.

And what’s even better is that with such quality it’s possible to make several infusions with the same leaves. It would be a shame not to!

The garden of Snowview:

The Snowview tea estate, located in the prestigious Darjeeling region, shares a border with another famous Indian tea region: the Dooars. The gardens of this tea estate cover an area of approximately 300 hectares and are located inside sizable forest reserves rich in exceptional wildlife. Snowview owes its name to the magnificent panorama of snow-capped summits that can be seen from here. The teas produced by this estate have been certified organic since 2007. The famous, hand-braided buds known as “Snowview claws” are a source of pride for the 905 permanent workers.

 

http://www.jardinsdegaia.com/organic-white-tea-snowview-claws-ff.html#main

2016 First Flushes have arrived!

First Flushes from India have just arrived! We had a little tea-tasting session before unveiling them and here they are, the tender, fresh spring buds which lovers of great Darjeeling look forward to every year… we have some wonderful surprises for you among the 2016 First Flushes, which benefited from good weather before the harvest, including two new ones to tickle your taste buds! Our three absolute favourites highlight the variety of flavours of this rich vintage. Let us guide you through them:

TWO NEW BLENDS

These two great teas, grown according to the principles of biodynamic and organic farming, were created at the time of a full moon during the festival of colours (Holi) … an auspicious day which lived up to its promises.

Holi-BeautyHoli Beauty – Singell

This spring Darjeeling, harvested by hand, stands out for its aromatic richness. It evokes in turn blackcurrant leaf, orchid, red fruits and lychee, all complemented by a pleasant hint of honey. The first flush is itself a veritable festival of flavours!

Mystical Dream – SelimbongMystical-dream

Softness, roundness and balance amplify this great handpicked tea which leaves a flavour of subtle floral aromas on the palate, enhancing the unique vegetal aromas that instantly evoke green asparagus. A Darjeeling first flush that will certainly leave its mark.

2016 FAVOURITES

Snowview FTGFOP1 FF Top Quality

Its golden, mellow liquor releases a bouquet reminiscent of the first flowers of spring. It will win you over with its rich and balanced aromas, leaving behind the sweet flavours of honey and pear compote with a hint of vanilla. A delicious rare tea to try!

Selimbong FTGFOP1 FF Top Quality

An excellent first flush from a renowned garden which is Demeter certified. The herbaceous flavours of the liquor linger in the mouth. Its creamy taste perfectly blends the flavours of biscuit, vanilla, almond, asparagus and pistachio. A slightly astringent tea that has a decidedly masculine character.

Putharjhora FTGFOP1 FF Top Quality

A rare and exceptional first flush. The light, coppery liquor is round and soft. In the foreground is a particularly tasty sweet flavour evoking caramel followed by the sweetness of almond milk. An absolutely delicious first flush!

Why not try them all!

2016 Darjeeling First Flushes: patience please…

Darjeeling first flushes arrive in a few days, the moment tea lovers have been waiting for! Harvested by hand at the very moment they mature, these great teas highlight the excellent work of the producers who make every effort to ensure the quality of the new vintage. This is what we saw for ourselves when we went to Darjeeling last March for the first day of the harvest. We were able to taste some of the batches right in the teas gardens and we’re particularly proud of having left these exceptional teas to mature because that is how they reach their full potential. This willingness to wait, a wise move, is noticeable from the first sip…

What’s special about the 2016 harvest?

The winter this year has been particularly dry in Darjeeling. Producers have had to be patient and wait for the ideal harvest conditions. This patience paid off: the long-awaited rain came in late March when we were there for the first harvests. Taking advantage of the warm temperatures last month, the tea plants had time to blossom and young shoots were full of precious essential oils.

Full of freshness, with typical floral notes and a complex aromatic bouquet, each cup is a gastronomic journey to drink alone or with someone else for a real treat!

jeunes-pousses-de-printemps-dans-la-biodiversite-de-seeyokarrivée-de-la-derniere-cueillette-du-matin-pour-la-pesee-a-selimbong
Young spring shoots in the biodiversity of the Seeyok gardenThe arrival of the last harvest of the morning to weigh the fresh leaves at Selimbong

Two exceptional new teas

When we met the producers, we had the chance to taste and select two new first flushes that particularly impressed us. These two great teas, grown using biodynamic and organic agriculture, were created on the day of a full moon in the middle of the festival of colours (Holi). This auspicious day also marked the beginning of the 2016 harvest.

Unveiled in early May …

We had to wait a little longer… these superb harvests were unveiled in early May. Tasting took place at our Tea Room on May 14 at the fair-trade brunch! Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook to get the news first!

Tasting the new teas with Binod Mohan, Director of Tea Promoters of India.

Tasting the new teas with Binod Mohan, Director of Tea Promoters of India.

 

 

Feminine inspiration in the tea gardens

Traditionally women specialise in the painstaking process of tea plucking, but some are taking on more and more responsibility and giving the cooperatives the benefit of their expertise and particular skills. Here we meet three such women who, thanks to an equal measure of humour, bravery and tenacity are developing ambitious projects in the tea and rooibos gardens…

JessicaJessica
Wupperthal Original Rooibos Cooperative – South Africa

She is the granddaughter of one of the first growers of Wupperthal rooibos and Jessica wanted more than anything to continue the family tradition.
In 2004 this passionate young woman took the brave step of opening a shop selling cosmetics based on rooibos and aloe ferox in the small isolated hamlet of Wupperthal. And it’s a success!
Jessica maintains an almost intimate relationship with these plants: you could listen to this fresh-faced young woman promoting its virtues for hours.
Jessica refuses to compromise on the quality of cosmetics she makes with the help of four other women, and patiently picks rooibos grown in the wild and also cultivated on the three hectares of land which her small business leases. To improve even further, she is currently training in biodynamic agriculture for which she feels a close affinity.
With the profits from the thriving business, she is currently building her own house and she dreams of starting her own family soon.

Karun AwathieMrs DG. Karunawathie
SOFA cooperative – Kandy, Sri Lanka

It was in 1997, while she was farming in her native village of Nawadevita that Mrs. DG. Karunawathie got into organic farming
It was the start of a new life for her, one far removed from debts and creditors. She joined the SOFA cooperative which at that time was already offering to buy tea crops from small producers for guaranteed minimum prices.
Held in great esteem by her peers, it was only natural that in 2014, she was elected Secretary of the Small Organic Farmers Association (SOFA) which brings together and helps more than 2,500 families of small farmers in Sri Lanka.
She is particularly proud of working for the certified organic, biodynamic and fair trade cooperative. Being a member has allowed her and the other farmers to harvest up to ten times more tea leaves, to be given seedlings, agricultural equipment, and training and has also enabled her to give her daughter a good education.
Today, still with the support of the SOFA, Mrs Karunawathie, who has not forgotten her years of struggle, has started a project to grow ornamental flowers. One of its aims is to help the poorest women in her village. A fine example of the sisterhood!

Zhang Jin YueZhang Jin Yew
Xuan’en Yi Sheng cooperative – Hubei, Chine

Zhang Yue Jin lives in the beautiful Autonomous Prefecture of Enshi in Hubei Province. She is a member of the Xuan’en tea production cooperative in her village.
Since 2009, she has helped the manager to train and advise the women of the village in the techniques of cultivating and producing organic tea.
At the same time, she manages a three-hectare garden for one of the most important members of the cooperative.
Zhang Yue Jin is known for her expertise in the technique of rooting organic tea seedlings, plantation management and the selection of leaves during the picking.
Being a member of the cooperative has provided her and her family with many opportunities. She is particularly happy to be able to financially support one of her two daughters who is studying at the University of Nationalities in Enshi, the neighbouring city.
When asked about her dream, she simply replied that she would like the cooperative to continue to grow, as it has improved the living conditions of the inhabitants of the village, which itself has considerably improved.

A flower to taste: Mace

Have you heard of the mace flower? Here’s a clue: this subtle spice comes from the nutmeg tree … just like the nutmeg, which it wraps in a beautiful scarlet red when it is fresh, turning to amber yellow when dried in the sun! Its flavour is similar to nutmeg, but perhaps a little softer and more refined. Its harvest begins right now in Sri Lanka where it comes from so now is just the moment to try it in a simple and delicious recipe: a salmon, broccoli and mace tart.

The spice of choice for gourmets…

The slight bitterness of mace is the perfect match for delicate dishes, making it the spice of choice for gourmets.

VMPC---AR00009-Fleurs-de-macisOf course, it is better to use it whole rather than ground; it will keep longer. But broken into small fragments, these pretty « flowers » bring a small, crunchy and pleasantly scented touch to your dishes.

Excellent with delicate fish, marinades or pickles, mace also will beautifully enhance gingerbread, fruit compote and works wonders with chocolate … A spice to be discovered!

Salmon, broccoli and mace tart – Terra Madre –

tourte-saumon-brocolis-macisIngredients for 6 people:

  • 300 g of chopped, steamed broccoli or cauliflower
  • 400 g of steamed salmon shopped into small pieces
  • 1 carton of soya cream
  • 3 eggs
  • flaky pastry
  • Terra Madre mace flowers
  • A few leaves of fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  • Beat together the eggs, soya cream, chopped coriander with a pinch of mace.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Line the tin with the pastry.
  • Place the salmon and broccoli on the bottom of the tart.
  • Pour the mixture on top.
  • Put it in the oven and leave to bake for about 35 minutes at 200°C .
  • Eat hot or cold, with a seasonal green salad!

White chocolate and green tea cookies

How would you like to try out a new, mouth-watering chocolate recipe? Our colleague Leila has done it for for you and used our new 200g pack of chocolate pieces with green tea to come up with a cookie recipe which manages to be both crunchy and soft at the same time. They are delicious – the vegetal flavours of the green tea mixed with the sweet white chocolate are to die for. No wonder the whole plateful disappeared in minutes!

cookies au matcha

 

Ingredients for 30 cookies:

• 150 g of chocolate with green tea
• 100 g of butter
• 100 g of sugar
• 50 g of brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
• 180 g of flour
• 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
• 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder
• A pinch of salt

 

Method :

• Pre-heat the oven to 180°c
• Roughly chop the matcha chocolate to make large chocolate chips
• Beat together the butter and both types of sugar until pale and creamy.
• Whisk in the egg
chocolat-matcha-webFinally add the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda then fold in the matcha white chocolate chips
• Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper
• Using a teaspoon, place little balls of the mixture on the greaseproof paper
• Space the cookies 2cm apart and continue until the tray is full
• Bake the cookies for about 10 to 11 minutes, they should be lightly browned on the outside
• Leave to cool then taste!

To accompany these delicious treats we recommend (from left to right in the photo):

A Trà To Quy Wu Long, floral, round and oily for those who like Wu Long
A Dian Hong Golden Buds – the golden buds release an amber liquor which is fruity and soft, unique in a black tea,
or a Wild Rooibos with its sweet and powerful scent, for those who prefer drinks without caffeine!

VMPC---TO460-Tra-To-Quy-OolongVMPC---TN407-Dian-Hong-Golden-BudsVMPC---TR240-Rooibos-sauvage

 

 

 

WFTO membership: for a global commitment to Fairtrade!

Adhésion Jardins de Gaïa à WFTOIn 2016, Les Jardins de Gaïa joined the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization – www.wfto-europe.org) to reaffirm loud and clear our commitment to fairer international trade, something which has been part of our DNA since the company was founded in 1994.

By doing so we are moving from a guarantee for our products to a guarantee for our products and our organization. It is a change that will result in more active and comprehensive fair trade participation around the world.

WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization): 25 years serving fair trade

This global organization, based in the Netherlands, which was founded in 1989 under its old name IFAT (International Fair Trade Association), brings together pioneers of fair trade in Europe and the rest of the world.

It is made up of an association of 350 organizations operating in more than 70 countries.

The main aim of the WFTO is to help small producers in the Southern Hemisphere improve their living conditions and those of their communities through sustainable fair trade. The WFTO facilitates, supports and guides the organizations in this approach.

Its members are importers, sellers and producers as well as companies and support networks. They are organizations who are really committed to wanting to trade in a different way. They all have to prove their commitment and must apply the 10 Principles of Fair Trade to their daily work.

Adhésion Jardins de Gaïa à WFTOThe product label: a minimum guarantee for the consumer

With our membership of the WFTO we are moving from a product certification system to a guarantee for our organization. Before setting out this fundamental change in detail, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the principle of the guarantee system.

As the name suggests, this is a system that offers guarantees when a commercial transaction takes place. In fair trade, these guarantees concern the social, economic or environmental aspects of the transaction. They must reflect best practices put in place at this level.

It is therefore first and foremost a way of indicating that practices conform to the values and principles set out in the mission statement. The most common way of showing this guarantee is by using a product label which is a brand created by a trade association or a public organisation whose logo is displayed on the product for sale.

The WFTO organization guarantee goes further because it takes into account not only how the product was manufactured, but also the behaviour of an organization in all its activities with regard to its members and partners.

The 10 principles of fair trade according to the WFTO

(complete and detailed standards are available at www.wfto.com)

  1. Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
  2. Promoting transparency and accountability
  3. Practising fair trade
  4. Paying a fair price
  5. Ensuring no child labour is used
  6. Commitment to non-discrimination, equality between the sexes and freedom of association
  7. Health and safety at work
  8. Training
  9. Promoting fair trade
  10. Respect for the environment

Organization guarantee: our choice for more transparency…

Adhésion Jardins de Gaïa à WFTOOur first fair trade certification with Max Havelaar dates from 2001 and showed our determination to be consistent with our vision of the world: it seems obvious to us that our products should come from a form of agriculture which respects both man and the earth.

Joining the WFTO is a new step in this process. The organization guarantee is more than a product label. It better reflects the reality of our practices with a strong commitment to the producers, but also to our employees! The WFTO’s approach is global, it takes into account the way we work and brings us closer to our vision of fair trade:

Participatory: each member has decision-making power at the AGMs and participates within a democratic framework.

Demanding: Members of the WFTO need to have a detailed knowledge of the living conditions of farmers, to practise real transparency on pricing, to set up regular meetings in the field and on their premises and to be exemplary when it comes to the working conditions of their employees.

Systemic: The consumer has a guarantee that when they buy the product the business has not simply stuck on a label, but actually adheres to the 10 fair trade principles both in the field and on its premises.

Adhésion Jardins de Gaïa à WFTO

What’s changing:

  • The Max Havelaar logo will be gradually replaced by the WFTO logo;
  • Adding the organization guarantee to the existing product guarantee;
  • Membership of a historic network of fair trade craftsmen, producers and traders with whom new collaborations are possible;
  • Wider commitment more consistent with our values and practices;
  • An extra guarantee system.

What’s not changing:

  • Our FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International) certification, as well as those of all our lines;
  • Our commitment to pay a fair trade premium and fair trade prices to our producers;
  • The implementation of the principles of fair trade as a whole.

 

 

Journey to the heart of Darjeeling in India

In search of organic and fair trade tea

Voyage Darjeeling - Yumanlink & Jardins de Gaïa 2016Discover, explore, share, experience!

Following a meeting between Arlette Rohmer and Pierre Le Roux, Les Jardins de Gaïa and Yumanlink have joined forces to offer you a trip across the world on the tea route:

  • Discover the origin of your organic teas;
  • Explore a world of unique flavours;
  • Share authentic moments;
  • Experience great adventures in the wild and welcoming natural world.

Just like the biodiversity of a blooming garden, let yourself be carried away by this extraordinary voyage of initiation.

Your trip to Darjeeling

Voyage Darjeeling - Yumanlink & Jardins de Gaïa 2016Travel itinerary*:

Your 10 days in India begin in Delhi admiring the masterpieces of Mughal architecture before flying to the Himalayan foothills and the town of Darjeeling.

After a journey through the stunning scenery aboard the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or “Toy Train”, you will be welcomed by producers from the Mineral Spring cooperative. You can enjoy village life in their company, taking part in tea picking and sharing their daily routine.

Next you will visit the Samabeong garden, 2,010 metres above sea level, and the tea gardens of the small producers of Subarna where you will find out the how organic tea is cultivated. You will be able to take part in a tea tasting with experts from this region which sits at the crossroads of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet.

Finally you will take the train to Calcutta to explore this intense city with its unusual history.

* Les Jardins de Gaïa and Yumanlink reserve the right to make changes if necessary

Meeting the small producers

Pleasure and sharing:

Voyage Darjeeling - Yumanlink & Jardins de Gaïa 2016You will be sharing the lives of the producers of Darjeeling, immersed in the local culture and traditions.

You will be able to tread the land they cultivate with such passion, walk around these exceptional terroirs and discover rich flavours.

They are ready to welcome you!

Mineral Spring

The 456 growers of the Mineral Spring cooperative took their destiny in hand 20 years ago by banding together to become the owners of the land they cultivate. The cooperative is development model in Darjeeling and the families of these producers, who are pioneers in agroecology and regularly rewarded for the quality of their tea, are ready to welcome you with simplicity and warmth.

Samabeong

Samabeong – which means « black bear’s den » – was established in 1882 and is the largest Darjeeling garden we work with. At 2,010 metres above sea level at its highest point, its seedlings produce subtle and excellent teas.

Subarna

A cooperative of small producers whose secluded gardens are situated between 1,000 and 1,400 metres above sea level, surrounded by a thick virgin forest conducive to a high level of biodiversity.

Going in search of organic fair trade tea

A wonderful adventure

It’s much more than a trip, we are offering a unique adventure with a chance to experience real life in India. In the foothills of the Himalayas, you will discover the history, work and energy of the men and women who grow Les Jardins de Gaïa tea.

At the heart of Les Jardins de Gaïa :

Guided by passion, respect for mankind and nature, we have developed close and privileged relationships with our producer partners.

Voyage Darjeeling - Yumanlink & Jardins de Gaïa 2016These human relationships are the key to our shared success!

“According to the Touareg proverb, three things are needed for making tea: time, embers and friends. Taking the time to really appreciate them, just like a high-quality Darjeeling which is so dear to me – is that not the perfect way to find the serenity that seems to be lacking in the real world?
“I wish you an excellent trip to India, full of interesting encounters, sharing and discovery, all based around a unique common factor: tea.”

Arlette Rohmer – Les Jardins de Gaïa’s Founder

For a detailed programme and an information pack and booking form, contact:

Pierre, Yumanlink: +33 (0)6 60 62 17 21 / pierre@yumanlink.com

Visit from a Chinese partner

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Wang Geda, one of our longest-serving Chinese partners and who is committed to organic farming. Over tastings of green tea and oolong with our employees, he recalled that during his first visit, fifteen years ago, Jardins de Gaïa was still based in Arlette’s kitchen… Here is how he answered a few questions about our 18-year partnership.

JDG: How did you begin working in the tea business?

Wang Geda: I have a degree in physics and I am fascinated by tea and organic production. In China, unlike other tea-producing regions such as India for example, land ownership does not exist, and each small farmer cultivates tea on his own plot. Before we set up, we met the farmers in the region, we talked to village leaders and established the fact that producers could choose whether or not to become part of the cooperative of small producers. Chinese tea goes through two stages of production – first it is withered or dried directly in the villages, then it is brought to a larger treatment plant, where it is processed to acquire the required characteristics. Such a facility did not exist, so we created one.

From left to right, Arlette, Wang Geda, Aurélie Rohmer and Cassandre Maury.

From left to right, Arlette, Wang Geda, Aurélie Rohmer and Cassandre Maury.

Chatting with employees over a cup of tea.

Chatting with employees over a cup of tea in our tea house.

JDG: How long have you known Jardins de Gaïa and how do you work together?

Wang Geda: I met Arlette 18 years ago, then she came to visit the cooperatives several times. She is a woman who takes the lead, who makes decisions and we work together by constantly communicating. We have many joint projects and working with Jardins de Gaïa allows us to better understand the expectations of the French.

JDG: What do you treasure the most from your partnership with Jardins de Gaïa?

Wang Geda: Arlette is a visionary woman, passionate, idealistic and open to other cultures, who supports small producers and projects. I am touched by her persistence over the years. Jardins de Gaïa is a good company, not only because of the quality of its tea, but also because of its social commitment. I have tasted teas in other tea companies that are only commercial concerns. Here you are trading, but there is something more – and that something more is essential for tea. You see, in written Chinese, man is at the centre of the ideogram for tea, and that’s what it stands for…

In the ideogram for tea, “Cha”, Man (in yellow) is in the centre of the grass (green) and the tree (brown)

In the ideogram for tea, “Cha”, Man (in yellow) is in the centre of the grass (green) and the tree (brown)

 

Tasting notes: Yin Ya Cha

Dégustation Yin Ya Cha Jardins de Gaïa
In the depths of winter, enjoying a cup of tea is one of the ways of cheering yourself up everyday. Black tea is ideal for its “warming” effect. This Yin Ya Cha comes from the high mountains of Hubei which are covered with a dense protected forest. Tea plants grow there in a region characterised by light sunshine, where temperatures can be very low, with a high humidity and frequent mists.

These conditions favour the development of high levels of theanine and chlorophyll that allow the teas to naturally develop mild and delicious flavours.

Produced like a Keemun (Qimen), Yin Ya Cha contains lots of beautiful golden buds from the first spring crop and gives a golden liquor with intense and fruity flavour.

Produced like a Keemun (Qimen), Yin Ya Cha contains lots of beautiful golden buds from the first spring crop and gives a golden liquor with intense and fruity flavour.

Origin: Enshi tea cooperative, Hubei province, China

Labels: Organic, Fairtrade, small producer

Colour of tea: black

Water temperature: 90-95° c

Infusion time in a teapot: 3-5 minutes

Quantity infused: 7 to 8 grams in a 500 ml teapot

Dry leaves: Small, dark, evenly-shaped leaves rolled lengthways by hand. Good concentration of golden buds. A distinct apricot scent, sweet and slightly tart.

Infused leaves: The unbroken leaves keep their beautiful appearance when water is added. The even brown colour shows the expertise of the oxidation process.

Complex aromas of biscuit and cocoa deliciously highlighted by fruity scents.

Liquor: Amber and clear. The oily texture can be seen with the naked eye which suggests a high content of essential oils.

Dégustation Yin Ya Cha Jardins de Gaïa

The scent: The liquor gives off full, warm fragrances of cocoa and yellow fruits.

In the mouth: The initial flavour is very tasty: the cocoa scents perceived by the nose are present in the cup. Next come the notes of yellow fruit. Once again you will notice the presence of apricot that characterises this tea. The milky and sweet finish, reminiscent of fudge, lingers in the mouth. The oily texture of this tea perfectly supports this festival of flavours with no trace of bitterness: a true delight that deserves to be re-infused many times!

The Enshi Cooperative:

The Enshi tea cooperative is located in Hubei province, in central China. The tea bushes of this mountainous area are well-known for the small size of their leaves which is greatly appreciated among wu long and green tea lovers. These tea bushes grow between 2600 and 3900 feet altitude and are distributed among 6 villages. Following an economic reform initiated by Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese statesman who put an end to the policy of collectivization of the land, the Enshi cooperative has been made possible. Following these developments, the 507 small tea producers have been able to acquire a total of more than 300 ha of land in their own names. They subsequently founded their own cooperative on the basis of fair trade.

www.jardinsdegaia.com/organic-black-tea-yin-ya-cha-golden-buds.html#main

 

Rooibos, an infusion that wishes you well!

Cueillette rooibos à Wupperthal

It was in 1996 that we began to supply rooibos (Aspalathus Linearis) from the South African Wupperthal cooperative, becoming pioneers in this field. It was love at first taste and also the start of a great adventure. Over the years we have expanded our collaboration to include the Heiveld cooperative which is situated further north. In order to find out the differences or similarities between the rooibos grown by both cooperatives and wild rooibos, we commissioned a study by the Twistaroma laboratory. The analysis of three samples demonstrates a high antioxidant content in the South African plant and shows very distinct flavour profiles.

Antioxidant? Did you say Rooibos?

Overall the antioxidant power of the three infusions is similar although their chemical profiles are not identical. Of the 56 phenolic compounds detected, 21 are antioxidants. We noted the presence of large amounts of ferulic acid which is one of the two main antioxidants in rooibos. This organic acid is known for its beneficial effects on overall health and its effectiveness in the fight against certain diseases of the digestive tract in particular.

Ferulic acid is also used as an ingredient in skin care products, especially anti-ageing remedies*.

One cup is enough…

To enjoy the benefits of rooibos, there’s no need to drink gallons a day. A single 150 ml cup is almost as antioxidant as a 150 g portion of red cabbage or cherries, which makes this drink an elixir of youth to be drunk every day!

Tableau-comparatif-activité-antioxydante-(en)-bis

Three different origins = three different flavours

The antioxidant activity of wild rooibos, Wuppertal and Heiveld is similar, but what distinguishes them is their flavours.

The study was able to detect a total of 16 volatile compounds which were different for each rooibos.

The Wupperthal rooibos is characterised by the largest concentration of trans_2_hexenol, which gives it a flavour profile in which herbaceous and fruity notes dominate.

The Heiveld rooibos has a rich concentration of geranyl acetone, which comes from magnolia aromas. This is a relatively rare compound in food. It is mostly found in the oil of the fruit of magnolia.

When it comes to flavour, wild rooibos is certainly the one that stands out the most of the three.

Two distinctive compounds can be detected: the B-Damascenone and eugenol.

The first comes from the flavour of apple and honey whose combination evokes apple compote. The second comes from a flavour which is rather like cloves and gives this Rooibos a pleasantly spicy aspect. This flavour profile is certainly the most tasty of the three.

In conclusion, we can see that the expected health benefits are much the same for the two cultivated rooibos and the wild variety. It is mainly the taste and its subjective assessment that distinguishes them and makes each one attractive in their own way.

Find all our selection of rooibos on our store!

* C. Oresajo, T. Stephens, P. D. Hino, R. M. Law, M. Yatskayer, P. Foltis, S. Pillai, and S. R. Pinnell, “Protective effects of a topical antioxidant mixture containing vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin against ultraviolet-induced photodamage in human skin.,” J. Cosmet. Dermatol., vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 290–7, Dec. 2008.

 

Our other publication on rooibos (to read or re-read):

http://blog.jardinsdegaia.com/south-africa-an-unforgettable-journey/

 

Doughnuts with Matcha

It’s the Mardi Gras season so why not try something new with doughnuts. You absolutely should, because with doughnuts as pretty and delicious as these, everyone will be impressed when you serve them this feast! A chewy doughnut enriched with matcha, the finely powdered Japanese tea obtained by grinding the youngest, most tender tea leaves (Tencha)… I bet you can already imagine yourself tucking in? Try this recipe without a moment’s delay!

 

aiya_xmas15_goedke_donuts-530_1

Makes 12 large or 24 small doughnuts. Preparation time: about 20 minutes

Ingredients:

• 3 teaspoons of Ceremonial Matcha Hikari
• 150 g of spelt flour type 603
• 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate de sodium
• 1 pinch of salt
• 60 g of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of oil
• 1 egg
• 125 ml of buttermilk
• 1 vanilla pod

For the decoration:

• 100 g white or dark cooking chocolate
• 2 tablespoons of hundreds and thousands to taste
• 25 g of chopped pistachios

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Grease a doughnut tin
2. In a bowl, mix the matcha, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar
3. In a measuring jug, beat the butter, egg, buttermilk and the inside of the vanilla pod
4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until you have a smooth mixture
5. Divide the mixture in the doughnut tin with the help of two teaspoons
6. You can also put the mixture into an icing bag or freezer bag, cut the corner off the bag and pipe the mixture
7. Cook the doughnuts for 8 to 10 minutes in the oven
8. Take the doughnuts out of the oven and allow them to cool completely
9. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water
10. Dip one side of each doughnut in the melted chocolate and decorate with pieces of pistachio and hundreds and thousands
11. The doughnuts will keep for about two days in a tin

VMPD---TV109-HojichaVMPD---HB171-Honey-RooibosWhich tea should you drink with them?

You could try Hojicha, a green tea which is a blend of lightly roasted leaves and twigs, to keep in the Japanese mood (right) or a Honey Rooibos, a natural blend of sunny rooibos and honeybush, with its delicious honey flavours. It’s up to you, what’s more, the Honey Rooibos is available both in loose and teabags (left)!

Bon appétit! 🙂

Range “Thés & Rooibos Militants”

Enjoy a deliciously fragrant tea and at the same time support a nature project that we’ve chosen! With the range “Thés & Rooibos Militants”, it’s simple: €1 for every packet sold is donated to one of the associations close to our hearts. Following the success of the first eight recipes and the fact that one of them won Best Organic Product of 2016*, there are now 10 new recipes which are more delicious and exciting than ever to tempt you at tea time.

A simple and practical commitment

With this range we are inviting you to get involved with us in a tangible way. Each tea or rooibos you buy helps to fund a specific project being undertaken by an association committed to the defence and protection of nature. The in-house recipes we have created for these flavoured teas and rooibos use a combinations of spices, flowers and original and exciting flavours, in keeping with the spirit of each association. So you will find find geranium, rosemary, moringa or even grape marc in your teas and rooibos!

Do you know these associations? Here’s a few words about who they are…

Photo-kokopelliKokopelli

Since 1999 Kokopelli has been actively campaigning for seed autonomy and against the patenting of living things. We have been linked to its members through our support, assistance and friendship ever since the first organic trade fairs were held. With the “Semences sans frontières” (Seeds Without Borders) campaign, many farmers around the world and some of our farmers and their families (in South Africa, India and Vietnam) have benefited from vegetable seeds and have been able to diversify their food sources. Today there are so many requests for seeds that Kokopelli is struggling to cope. By purchasing Rêve éveillé de Gaïa, Le joueur de flûte, Parfum de résistance and Chant de la Terre, you are helping them to send of hundreds of kilograms of extra seeds to the poorest rural communities.

https://kokopelli-semences.fr/?lang=fr-fr

Amanins-blogLes Amanins

Since 2003 Les Amanins agro-ecological centre, under the leadership of Pierre Rabhi, has been a place of life and learning that offers alternatives to the challenges facing humanity. It was following a meeting between Arlette and Les Amanins’ founder, Michel Valentin, both of whom were members of the Mouvement des Colibris, at a gathering of eco-employers, that the similarities between our sensibilities and values inspired us to create Le songe du colibri, Hymne à la Terre and Douce humanité. These three teas and rooibos support l’école du colibri, set up in 2006, which enables 35 primary school children to learn more about cooperation.

http://www.lesamanins.com/

courlis_cendre_lpo-blogLigue pour la Protection des Oiseaux Alsace

With 45,000 members, the LPO is one of the largest nature conservation associations in France. Our company is located in a significant wetland area in the heart of Alsace. We went into partnership with them via a green tea recipe, sales of which help to protect the Eurasian curlew, a bird once widespread in our wetland area. This tea, with its flavours of elderflower and pear, is called Oiseau lune and is so popular that it was voted Best Organic Product of the Year 2016! In 2015, we also became an LPO sanctuary and many birds come to nest in our gardens.

http://alsace.lpo.fr/

 

ALMOST €40,000 IN TWO YEARS!

This is the sum given to the first three associations since the creation of the range in 2013. With your help, the following four projects could have even greater success 🙂

abeilles_mabd-blogLes Amis de la Biodynamie

The aims of the Les Amis de la Biodynamie association can be summed up in a few words: defending and promoting a thriving agriculture that respects natural rhythms and replenishes the soil. For many years, we have encouraged producers to switch to this mode of agriculture – one of the best in our opinion – as much for the nutritional quality and taste of the produce as for the sustainable effect on the earth. By creating Jardin sous la Lune and Entre ciel et terre, we are supporting a biodynamic project to install beehives on as many farms as possible to protect, develop and strengthen these vital insects.

www.bio-dynamie.org

maison-de-la-natureMaison de la Nature du Ried et de l’Alsace Centrale

Situated not far from the Jardins de Gaïa, the Maison de la Nature du Ried et de l’Alsace Centrale follows on from a commitment made in the late 1960s by naturalists in Alsace to raise public awareness of the consequences of agricultural intensification in central Alsace. Nowadays it is called the Centre d’Initiation à la Nature et à l’Environnement, and it remains a key player in the environmental education of young and old, professional and amateur, in many different forms. Educating schoolchildren about food waste is a key issue in the face of the huge amounts of food wasted every day, and it is this project that Régal des bateliers, Promenade sensorielle, Reines des prés will be supporting with your help!

www.maisonnaturemutt.org

terre-de-liensTerre de liens

Terre de Liens is an organisation for active citizens which centres on public education, organic and biodynamic farming, ethical finance, economic solidarity and rural development. Its members have invented new ways of working to halt the disappearance of land and facilitate access to agricultural land for young people seeking to set up in organic agriculture. To support this dynamic and cohesive movement, we created Un thé à la bergerie and Dans la main du semeur to finance a project to support Marion and Vincent, two young farmers who will continue to farm one of the pioneering biodynamic farms in Alsace.

www.terredeliens.org

solan-blogLes Amis de Solan

The Association des Amis de Solan came from an idea by its president Pierre Rabhi to make the Solan Monastery an experimental ecosite. The monastery inhabited by a handful of « little sisters » as they are called by Arlette, who fell in love with them when she met them a few years ago, has since become a benchmark for agroecology. The members of the association, who all have very different cultural and professional backgrounds, are demonstrating that development methods to preserve the future are possible. By buying Fruits de sagesse, Promesse de l’aurore and Sous les étoiles du monastère you will be helping to preserve the endemic species of Valat Solan, including the rare white-clawed crayfish.

www.monasteredesolan.com/association.php

 

frise_recto

Ginger: a warm spice

Teas and spices have always been closely associated with one another and have deeply influenced our culture. To love them is to love life itself. In 2011, we jumped at the opportunity to take over the distribution of the high-quality Terra Madre spice range: they have the same values, the same consideration for mankind and the same high quality as we do! We visited the producers in Sri Lanka last year who helped us to learn more about some of the spices, and we are delighted to share this knowledge with you. Let’s start the journey with Zingiber Officinalis, or ginger, and find out about the Terra Madre recipe concocted by Aude, our web marketing manager… 

AR00010---Gingembre-en-poudreThis plant from Asia has been around for centuries and is mentioned in ancient Chinese writings. Confucius in his Analects said he could not imagine a meal without ginger. It was one of the first spices to be introduced to the Mediterranean where the Arabs conducted a flourishing trade. Ginger was highly popular throughout the Middle Ages in Europe.
It was said to be an aphrodisiac and the spice reached exorbitant prices. Ginger fell out of favour in France for several centuries, but it is now making a comeback in our cooking thanks to the interest in Oriental cuisine.

The part we use is the rhizome, harvested at maturity (10 months). It is sold fresh or after being dried in the sun. When it is still covered with bark it is called grey or dressed ginger; peeled and dried, it is known as white or undressed ginger.
It is prized for its digestive qualities and known to combat all kinds of nausea including morning sickness, seasickness and motion sickness. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used for its warming power and is particularly valued during the cold and wet seasons.

Ground ginger is a constituent part of many spice blends, the best known of which are curries and colombo powder. The salted caramel version in the recipe below is sure to be a big hit!

Blended with tea or rooibos, ginger gives a fresh lift to the infusion. Have you tried them? Find them here!

Chicken with ginger and caramel

image4

Ingredients for 4 people:

* 4 chicken or turkey fillets
* 2 tablespoons of runny acacia honey
* 1 tablespoon of Terra Madre ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon of Terra Madre Five Flavours
* 1 tablespoon of Terra Madre Pickled Green Pepper
* 1 tablespoon of soya sauce
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* a little fresh ginger (optional)
* salt and pepper

Preparation:

* Crush the garlic and mix it with the oil, soya sauce, all the spices (except the green pepper) and the honey.

* Pour over the meat and leave to marinade for at least an hour.

* Fry the meat in a casserole dish in a little hot oil.

* Cover and leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, adding a little water if it starts to caramelise too quickly.

* When it has finished cooking add the green peppercorns and grate in some fresh ginger.

* Season to taste.

* Serve with steamed vegetables or basmati rice. Enjoy your meal!