It’s a very grey rainy spring day here so find myself thinking of sunnier moments, like being in Paris last fall. Naturally had to visit a few tea establishments while there. One of them was the oh-so-French Nina’s Paris.
Nina’s Paris was named after Nina Diaz, who in 1778 created a recipe for a cake called NINASETTE that was offered to Marie-Antoinette on the occasion of the birth of her first child, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte. And yes, you can sample the cake in the perfect cake-box of a shop.
Nina was a descendant — it’s hard to tell exactly which, from the website — of Pierre Diaz who founded Distillerie Frères in 1672. The distillery specialised in perfumes and essential oils and became the official supplier of said aromatics to the Court of Versailles from the time of King Louis XIV to Louis XVI (1754 – 1793) and his wife, Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793). Distillerie Frères were apparently the first in France to distill lavender oil — my fave, and something I strongly associate with France. In 1986 Nina’s Paris bought Distillerie Frères and the aromatics are used to flavour many of their teas.
It was under King Louis XIV that Le Potager du Roi (the King’s Kitchen Garden) was created, and Nina’s Paris also has an official partnership with the present-day garden. Their lovely Marie-Antoinette Tea blend is made with apples and roses from that garden. Very appropriate since it was said to be one of Marie-Antoinette’s favourite places.
Nina’s Paris’ selection of teas features black or green teas blended with fruits, herbs, flowers and essential oils as well as non-caffeinated tisanes of blended herbs or rooibos. Everything is beautifully packaged and if you’re in the market for gifts to bring home they also have gift boxes of tea as well as lovely jams, jellies and fruit drinks made from the bounty of Le Potager du Roi.
After we left Nina’s and we were about to sit down for a cup of tea there was a sudden, unbelievably strong downpour of rain. It lasted only about 15 minutes but long enough that we sat inside, rather than outside, at this lovely little tea spot, Cafe Kitsune, in one of the hidden treasures of Paris, Le Jardin du Palais. It’s probably this moment, on this rainy grey day, that takes me back to Paris.