"Tea is hot! Sorry, I had to," jokes Tracy Stern when asked about the current trend. Thursday, the woman behind Tracy Stern Tea & Co. Iced Teas and author of Tea Party set up shop at Christofle in Bal Harbour for the one-night-only event the Art of Entertaining With Tea. The French store that specializes in fine silver, from flatware to picture frames and other home accessories, is all about the art of the table. Justin Trabert, the national brand ambassador and store manager for Christofle, said he wanted to bring back a time when etiquette was about the host making everyone feel comfortable, not the scary word that intimidates guests.
Stern has the same mission and wants to restore some of the elegance of tea. She even designed her signature caddy tins with an old charm, but without the lock and key, so they are accessible to everyone.
One way the two brought classic elegance mixed with a modern twist was with a tea cocktail, served in a nearly $3,000 tea fountain. It featured Stern's No. 2 Peruvian Organic Hibiscus and Lemon Myrtle iced tea ($20 for a six-bag tin) with champagne. Garnish was an orange slice and mint sprig.
We asked Stern some of our most steeping questions.
Regarding Oprah moving into the tea business, Stern said, "She's a serial entrepreneur." Stern admitted to doing the 21-day meditation challenge with Oprah and Deepak (us too, can't believe it's been a week!), so why wouldn't people drink her tea? However, Stern points out Oprah liked her chai long before the big O had her own with Starbucks.
With soda out and water boring, Stern believes tea is becoming huge but is shocked by the number of brands that simply use tea flavorings without proper brewing. Her iced tea sachets (don't call them "bags") are massive and full of flavor and fragrance. Plus, in South Florida, it is always the season for a tall glass -- perhaps that's why she has a whole Palm Beach collection.
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We asked Stern about trends with using tea in cooking, and she promptly opened her book to a page on chai pancakes. Without question, though, she believes the biggest trend is tea cocktails.
We'll drink to that!
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst