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At the start of every month, we offer you a short list of pleasant activities to inspire you; some are focussed on afternoon tea, some not.

Herewith five suggestions for July 2014.

PENTAX ImageResolve to drink more tea.
Hot tea.

In India, hot tea is a staple of the daily diet, year in year out. Science shows that as the internal body temperature rises through consumption of hot fluids or hot food – think curry – you will feel cooler. Over a billion Indians can’t be wrong!

 

Drive a Convertible

We’re indulging ourselves by renting a drop top for a July weekend. Hey it’s summer and the livin’ is easy!  Here are some choices we are considering: Mazda MX-5 Miata, VW Beetle, or perhaps a Mini Cooper, but then, the Jaguar Type E does appeal.

Photo courtesy The Telegraph

Photo courtesy The Telegraph

 

Our fave street street festivals for July are in Toronto and in Pamplona.

Salsa on St. Clair is a week-long celebration of Latin music, dance, food and culture throughout Toronto.  It is the biggest fiesta north of the U.S. – Canada border, and runs from July 12-20 culminating with the big enchilada, the 10th annual muy calliente Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival on July 19-20.

encierrotv.m

The Fiesta de San Fermin, is a deeply rooted, annual cultural festival running  July 6 – 14. The renowned street party inludes concerts, awesome fireworks, assorted parades and the running of the bulls.

The events of this festival were central to the plot of The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. It has become probably the most internationally renowned fiesta in Spain. Over 1,000,000 people come to participate in this festival.

 

Exploring The Purple Road …. in our rented convertible

The Purple Road of Ontario groups the many and varied lavender farms in Ontario into regional road trips where you can meet lavender growers, cut your own lavener, picnic and photograph, buy plants and lavender products and be refreshed with a pot of lavender tea.

Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery

Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery

Echolane Lavender Farm and Fibre Arts

Echolane Lavender Farm and Fibre Arts

  A treat for Canada Day, Independence Day 2014

Canada and the United States share national holidays within the same week  July 1 and July 4. To celebrate, we’re offering The Nanaimo Bar – a dessert  of Canadian origin and popular across North America. Named after the City of Nanimao on Canada’s west coast where legend has it the dessert was invented by the ladies of the local Womens Institute (The women of the WI featured prominently in the movie Calendar Girls!) and consists of a wafer crumb-based layer topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavoured butter icing and covered with melted chocolate. Here is the authentic recipe from the kitchens of Kraft Canada.

Pair these delicious bars with a single estate tea like a Darjeeling, which incidentally is known as the champagne of teas for its flavour and light colouring.

 

Nanaimo Bars

  • Servings: Depends on the size of your bars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

6 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. butter, softened, divided
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Honey Maid Graham Crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. Bird’s Custard Powder
3 Tbsp. milk
2 cups icing sugar

Heat oven to 350°F.

Microwave 2 oz. chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in large microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM 2 min. or until butter is melted.

Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Blend in egg and vanilla. Stir in graham crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press onto bottom of 9-inch square pan.

Bake 8 minutes; cool completely.

Mix custard powder and milk in medium bowl with whisk until blended.

Add 1/4 cup of the remaining butter; mix well.

Gradually beat in sugar until blended.

Spread onto crust. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Microwave remaining chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl 2 to 3 min. or until butter is melted.

Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over custard layer.

Refrigerate several hours or until chilled before cutting into bars.

Nanaimo Bars courtesy of Kraft Canada

Nanaimo Bars courtesy of Kraft Canada

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