I noticed this particular blend of Earl Grey tea has blue flowers. Blue flowers? Not knowing what flower this could be, I did a tiny bit of research on Earl Grey tea, and of bergamot too, wondering if those petals could be bergamot flower? My findings enlighten me to the fact that there are actually two kinds of bergamot in the botanical world! First, the European grown Bergamot Orange , botanical name is Citrus Bergamia.
Second, the North American herbal plant Wild Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm, botanical name is Monarda …
This was confusing to me, because the herbaceous bergamot has a purplish flower, which some of the Earl Grey tea blends have. Now, reading up on ingredients in Earl Grey blends, I found that the dried petals in my tea could very possibly be cornflower petals !
The type of blue flower petals in my tea blend is still a mystery, however, there is no debate that the signature flavor of Earl Grey tea is the citrus kind of Bergamot, the essential oil which is extracted from the aromatic skin of the sour fruit.
I have also discovered that Earl Grey tea is one of the most varied blends of tea, and that “Earl Grey” as applied to tea is not a registered trademark, thus numerous tea companies produce their own blends of Earl Grey tea, using a wide variety of tea leaves and additives. Aside from black tea, obviously, ingredients vary enough to make me dizzy; there is foremost the essential oil of the citrus bergamot, but may also citrus rind, licorice root, lavender, mallow flower, monarda flower, cornflower, jasmine, rose petals lemon grass, vanilla ~~ just to name a few ingredients I have found so far. What are the ingredients in your favorite Earl Grey blend?
All very well & good! Actually, the reason for my curiosity is that I have been thinking about making Earl Grey ice-cream lately, among other forthcoming tea-inspired ideas, so I finally did, and here’s how I made a small sample batch, including a little photo slideshow…
- Heat to scalding, 1 cup of heavy cream with 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite Earl Grey blend in the cream — no need to boil.
- Add 1/2 cup sugar, and let it sit a couple of hours at least, to get the Earl Grey flavors exuding into the cream.
- When completely cool, stir well, and strain through sieve, then and add 1 cup milk.
- Churn freeze & enjoy!
Served up in a little espresso demitasse,
and let me tell you,
the ice-cream is every bit as fragrant as the tea,
absolutely delicious …
… and I think that the Earl himself would approve!