It’s Shrove Tuesday! A day in the liturgical calendar dedicated apparently to self-examination, confession and spiritual growth. It’s also (being day the before Ash Wednesday) when one finishes up any indulgent foodstuffs in the house before embarking on forty days of Lenten self-deprivation.
But for godless heathens like me who plan to make no sacrifices whatsoever for Lent, it’s really just about the pancakes.
This year as well as eating a satisfying amount of pancakes, I also went a bit crazy and bought three (three!) different types of pancake tea from Bird and Blend. These were Lemon & Sugar pancake tea, Nutella and Strawberry pancake tea and (slightly worryingly) Maple and Bacon pancake tea.
But before I get onto these pancakes-in-tealeaf-form, I want to do a quick shout out to Bird and Blend’s love potion tea which I bought for Valentine’s Day and failed to mention at the time.
This is an absolutely gorgeous brew combining black tea, chocolate, rose petals, strawberries and whopping great chunks of candied papaya. Valentine’s Day this lockdown year was a little bit lacking in the carnal delights department, but hey, I’ll take my pleasures where I can. I think me and Love Potion had a bit of connection, actually. This could well be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Now onto the ersatz pancakes!
I referred to this tea as ‘Lemon and sugar’ earlier on, partly because that’s what it is but mostly because I’m really not happy with the word ‘Lemugar’. It doesn’t roll off the tongue. Well it does, but it comes out as “Le-Mooga” which doesn’t actually rhyme with sugar and sounds like some kind of marmoset, smallish big cat or elk.
The tea itself is lovely though. It’s a Rooibos-based blend with fancy hipster versions of its two main flavours. Because I don’t just want any common-or-garden sugar and lemon. I want coconut nectar sugar and fermented lemon peel. And that is precisely what I got.
Strawberry and Nutella Pancake
Like Love Potion, this is a strawberry and chocolate-based tea. It favours caramelised hazelnut rather than roses and papaya which makes it a darker, richer, creamier blend. It’s the tea equivalent of eating Nutella straight from the jar and then probably bathing in it. It feels wonderfully self-indulgent although I’m sure it’s actually very good for you. Those freeze-dried strawberries count as one of your five a day, right?
Maple Bacon Pancakes
Oh dear. Vegan bacon-flavoured tea was always going to be a risk. And to be honest, the disappointment here is all on me. If I had given even a cursory glance at the ingredients list before buying this tea, I would have known it was not for me. Bird and Blend have attempted to replicate the taste of smoky bacon by using famously smoky black tea, Lapsang Souchong in their blend. It was an obvious choice, really, when you think about it. I’m not sure how else I thought they were going to do it. I think I envisaged the drink tasting of (and possibly being made of) Frazzles. Now I actually think about it, that would be a terrible idea.
Me and Lapsang Souchong do not get on. I want to like and I think if I were a bit more sophisticated I would. But, as it is, it just reminds me of ash trays.
No regrets, though. I wanted to feast on pancake-themed teas and I think we can all agree that I did just that. And I had actual pancakes. It’s been a good day.