I reckon that in the last 350 days, I have drunk at least 600 cups of tea. AT LEAST. I find it nearly impossible to sit down at my computer without a full mug next to me, and as my British genes dictate, I must have another in the late afternoon in order to make it through the day. Sometimes, there is yet another in the evening, so really, 600 cups is a modest estimate, and 650 is probably more accurate. If that’s true, then I’m drinking the 651st right now.
I’ve got tea on my mind because yesterday I visited Murchie’s, a tea and coffee company founded in 1894 by Scottish immigrant John Murchie. What started as a small shop in New Westminster grew into a company that now ships domestically and internationally, with seven shops and cafes around Metro Vancouver and Victoria. Their headquarters and manufacturing facility are in Richmond, so yesterday I headed there to find my second tea of the day and some lunch.
They offer grilled sandwiches, baked goods, and a huge variety of coffees, teas, and tea lattes. I asked for the BC Classic panini ($7.95), which has smoked turkey, cheddar, arugula, bacon, and chipotle aioli on cranberry sourdough bread.
It was really good – the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, savoury, and smoky.
For dessert, I couldn’t help but order the cinnamon bun, as it was the size of my fist and laden with icing. I also got a Downing’s Delight ($3.30) tea latte, which blends No. 10 tea with milk and peppermint syrup.
The cinnamon bun was described on the label as ooey-gooey (or something of the like), and while I’ve had many cinnamon buns more ooey and gooey than this one, it was still stellar. The dough tasted fresh and yeasty, with some stickiness on the bottom, and a generous spread of cream cheese icing on top. I’m now inspired to bake some of my own!
The minty latte wasn’t too sweet, and nice and strong. While I didn’t purchase any Murchie’s to bring home yesterday, my family has always been a fan of their fair-traded blends. Christmas at the Anderson household just isn’t right without cups of Murchie’s Christmas tea, and I’ve always loved the fact they have a CBC blend. Tea and the CBC = two things I could not live without.
With plenty of caffeine and cinnamon in my system, I did what any normal human being would do by themselves on a Tuesday – I headed to a winery!
Sanduz Estate Wines began about eight years ago, though owners Dave and Neeta Sandhu have been farming in the lower mainland for several decades; at one point they managed up to 200 acres, many of which were blueberries.
They decided to start producing fruit wines as a way to use up excess crops, and they now have BC’s largest selection of fruit wines including blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, apple, rhubarb, strawberry, blackberry, peach, and gooseberry. They have also begun to produce grape wines including Pinot Gris, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
Everything they ferment is from BC – their grapes come from vineyards near Oliver, some of the fruits are sourced from the Okanagan, and all the berries come from the Sandhu’s own farm or other farms around Richmond, Ladner, Delta, and Tsawassen.
I sampled the blueberry, raspberry, granny smith, and Pinot Gris wines, and they were all wonderful. The granny smith was particularly crisp and refreshing, and the raspberry wine was astoundingly aromatic; it tasted like a fat, ripe berry. Summer! Summer! Summer!
In addition to their wines, they sell jellies and jams made with their fruit, honey produced from hives from their fields, and various blueberry products including blazins (blueberry raisins) and puffed blueberries, which is a world first. A special technique (using science beyond my comprehension) is used to make the puffed blueberries. They extracts the moisture from the blueberries while preserving all of their nutrients, and apparently they’re great on salads or ice cream. Sanduz also grinds the puffed blueberries to make powder, which is a way to enjoy the health benefits of blueberries all year long in a much smaller package.
They also sell boxes of frozen blueberries, which over a dozen people came in to buy while I was there. Because we’re nearing the next season, they’re selling them for just $8.25 per 5lb box, and $15 for a 10lb box.
They also have a smaller variety for slightly more, and frozen cranberries for a buck a pound. I could not pass those prices up, so I lugged a 5lb box home and have already enjoyed two smoothies with them. Remember all those pancake recipes I shared yesterday? Guess what’s getting added to them this weekend!
Richmond is world-renowned for its blueberries, so a visit to Sanduz Winery is a great way to experience them.
Tea, cinnamon buns, wine, and blueberries make for one very fine day at the office. There’s a chill in the air today, so I’m off to put the kettle on again.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available
Cash and cards accepted
Open 11am – 6pm daily