Valentine’s Day: The day of flowers, hearts, and romance… That one day in the year which people use as an excuse to be extra cheesy to their significant other.
This is also a red-letter day (pun intended) for most restaurants, a night when they get to showcase set menus.
That said, having married a fellow introvert, we have developed a tradition to avoid crowds and cook at home. It involves my husband giving me Sterling Columbian roses (my favourite flowers) and grilling steaks; me making something like a homemade Caesar salad (a trick I’ve learned from my hotelier days), pasta (with herbs fresh from our garden), and/or something else…
Traditionally, I’d serve a stonking wine, preferably a cold-climate Cabernet Sauvignon*… But alas, I’ve still not gotten a go signal from my gastroenterologist to drink anything more exciting than water and Yakult (I’ve gotten a little too intimately acquainted with probiotics for the last few weeks).
So I did what any normal woman with a hankering for something beyond water would: I listed the things I couldn’t drink in my head (coffee, milk and dairy products, soda, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol), and figured out… I can technically drink decaffeinated tea.
In fact, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I could jump on the flower bandwagon and drink floral tea.
Here are some of my favourites from my stash:
Lavender Tea – It’s pretty, delicate, and tastes distinctive… Plus, it’s so aromatic that it makes any room smell wonderful. It’s known for its calming qualities (something I certainly could use), reduces inflammation, contains a ton of antioxidants, helps with digestive issues (again, something beneficial for someone in my current state), and aids in respiratory health (my sister was generous with her cough, so I’m quite excited to brew a cup for myself… Thanks, P).
Rose Tea – I actually have two versions of this at home: The bulbs and the petals. Unfortunately, the petals have black tea mixed into it (which is an absolute no-no if I’m going for something caffeine-free), so I went for the rose bulbs. It is anti-inflammatory (read: bye-bye bloating!), aids in digestion, is excellent for detoxing, and has loads of Vitamin C. Bonus points for being pretty and pink!
Blooming Tea – It sounds like something an Englishman would say in frustration (“Oi! Get that blooming tea over here, lad!”), but it’s actually pretty cool. It starts off as this weird looking dried up plant ball. After infusion, it blooms into a flower… Which is why it’s best to be brewed in a transparent teapot. It’s typically rich in Vitamin A, which is good for eyesight. It’s got polyphenolic compounds, which makes it great for the skin (anti-aging, anyone?). Unfortunately, it is usually green tea based, which is something I couldn’t have at the moment (boo), but it’s still pretty cute.
Chrysanthemum Tea – This yellow bloom has been used for hundreds of years as Chinese medication, beneficial for lowering blood pressure, boosting metabolism, clearing up acne and rashes, relieving migraines and headaches, and calming nerves. I can never find a good source here in Manila, and but I’m grateful some members of our family constantly travel to China and get me a stash.
Here’s to spending a romantic Valentine’s Day filled with love and flowers. What’s your favourite floral tea? Leave us a comment below. Cheers! <3
*Note: The traditional school of thought for the Cabernet Sauvignon and steak pairing is that tannin (that drying sensation one gets on the gums, particularly from wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a reputation for being immensely tannic) cuts through the fat. On the contrary, it’s the acidity that cuts through the fat (which is why I prefer a cold-climate wine… Wine from cooler climates is generally more acidic than one coming from warmer regions). It’s the salt from the steak that cuts through that grip of tannin on the gums. A nice experiment of sorts would be to try a salted steak with a highly tannic wine, versus an unsalted one.