When I started getting into teas, I learned the joys of a High Tea service. Mini sandwiches, petit fours, and the delicious scones, all hanging out on their stacked plates and there to devour as you sip on some tea. Living in Toronto, I have no shortage of High Tea options. From the Tea & Hats Service at the Windsor Arms to the Chocolate High Tea at Moroco, the possibilities are endless.
Today I found a new option in the form of Kitten and the Bear, a jam company that hosts a Jam and Tea Service in their adorable shop. Tucked away on Queen West, they have two tiny tables tucked to the side where they serve a small tasting of their fresh jams and signature buttermilk scones along with their selection of Sloane Teas. They don’t take reservations but we were lucky enough to nab the table with the cute little window bench. Oh and speaking of cute, the decor is bright yet cozy, and just like the women who work there, it is extremely welcoming.
Now, being a jam company, the focus of Kitten and the Bear’s tea service is actually the variety of jams they serve with their huge, yet delicious scones. No sandwiches or petit fours here but to be honest, they weren’t missed. Each person gets one scone and clotted cream is provided as well but the star of the show are the jams: Strawberry, Raspberry & Cream; Red Nectarine & Garam Masala; Raspberry & Star Anise; and Niagara Golden Plum & Lavender.
The stand-out for me was the Raspberry & Star Anise. As someone who doesn’t love licorice flavor I had low expectations for this one. However, the licorice really worked in this jam. It added a candy sweetness to the raspberry that gave the whole jam a Swedish Fish taste.
As for the other jams…The Niagara Golden Plum & Lavender had a welcome tartness with a smooth floral note that provided a nice contrast to the sweeter jams on the plate. The Red Nectarine & Garam Masala had a bright citrus flavor that blended beautifully with the hint of Indian spices that crept in at the end. The more typical jam flavor was the Strawberry, Raspberry & Cream. I think this jam was most comforting because it wasn’t as out there as the other blends. With that said, it was still quite unique. The addition of the vanilla to create a cream flavor left the jam tasting like a decadent strawberry shortcake.
All the jams were washed down by a pot of Sloane Tea’s Heavenly Cream, a black tea with bergamot and vanilla. Just as it did in the jam, the vanilla of the tea made for a smooth creaminess that definitely made for easy drinking. Something that I find rather surprising since normally I am not a fan of Earl Greys. In this tea, the bergamot was subtle yet bright. There is no astringency or bitterness here, just velvet and cream. A perfect pair to a lovely service.
Here’s the scoop!
Where to Learn More: Kitten and the Bear
Enter Steepster.com. This is where I met some incredible tea friends, discovered tea swaps, and learned of so many amazing tea companies. My desire to try all the teas grew and since joining three years ago I have tried over a thousand different teas. I have learned what ingredients I love and I have learned what flavors I don’t like. I determined my go-to brewing method is Western-style with no added milk or sweeteners, though I also enjoy cold brewing, iced teas, teapops, lattes, and smoothies. I have yet to brew gong-fu style but I hope to do so just as soon as I get the proper teaware to do it.
About a year ago, I actually stopped drinking tea but as my stash of over 200 teas started aging I decided I needed to respark my interest. I chose to take a 365 days of tea challenge on Instagram in which I post a new tea picture every day. So far it has been rather successful as I find myself drinking (and buying) more and more tea each day. Plus it enabled CuppaGeek to find me and invite me here to SororiTea Sisters.