Tea Gifts for Fun in the Sun
The origin of iced tea is distinctly American but it is the Japanese who we should thank for ready-made tea in cans. The market has expanded exponentially in recent decades as Asia, which has always enjoyed tea, discovered the convenience of ready-made tea. While hot tea still cools millions worldwide, it is iced and cold-brewed tea that quenches the thirst of 10 nations of note. Measured in billions of liters, the list is topped by China at 13.4 billion liters, followed by Japan at 6.5 billion liters, and the U.S. at No. 3 with 3.4 billion liters consumed annually. Tropical Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam follow, then Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Canada. Japan is home to Ito En, the world’s largest bottled tea company with rivals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia, which is the fastest-growing market by volume.
Iced tea is seasonal so now is the perfect time to review the terrific selection of recipes for A Summer Barbecue by Culinary Tea author Cynthia Gold. Recipes include tea smoked salmon, tea-grilled wings with hot dipping sauce, matcha and white bean dip, and gourmet s’mores.
My idea of the perfect summer fun gift?
I have my eye on one of the beautiful picnic baskets pictured here. The Williams-Sonoma Wicker picnic basket is a classic, perfect for stowing away on my boat for an island getaway.
During summer Susan and I spend as much time as we can at our cottage in the western Ontario woods of Canada. Lake of the Woods (Lac des Bois) is dotted with islands, some no more than 25-feet across, others stretch for miles. The lake, one of the largest in North America, has more than 14,552 islands. Zig-Zag is a favorite, as is Chapel Island, once the site of a missionary’s settlement. Massacre Island is marked with a large wooden cross to remember 20 French and Cree traders killed by a Sioux raiding party. Another island features the 1890s artifacts of the Sultana Gold Mine.
It is great fun to pick one to explore. The best have sandy beaches where we swim in crystal blue waters that reach depths of 64 meters (210 feet). The surface covers 4,350 km2 (1,680 square miles) with stretches that span 70 miles. The cottage sits on five acres on a point overlooking Clearwater Bay. Wright’s Point is named for Susan’s grandfather who traveled here before there were roads. Highway 1, which spans the entire country, was built nearby and the microwave tower in the distance permits me to write in the cloud.