Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
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Something for Mother’s Day: Bon Appe“Tea”

posted by in Cafés, French, Restaurants

tea drop

2 o’clock in the afternoon signals the beginning of a pleasurable pause.

The last time I met Bizu co-owner, Audrey Tanco,  was back in 2005  so a recent chance meeting at a restaurant spurred us to get together again. And just like the last time, we get together for tea.

pouring tea

At Bizu’s Greenbelt branch, Audrey is flitting to and fro preparing our repast. In between arranging teacups and plates, she tells me excitedly, “We just got some new teas which will be part of the tea service and retail!”

sencha

lavender

These new teas are imported from various countries and possess such melodic names as sencha calida, chocolate and mint, rose, tropical rooibos, and thé a la Violette, all guaranteeing a tea reverie.

tea time at bizu

Now, I’m more of a coffee person myself so tea is something I’m not as versed in. But an open mind begins with open taste buds, and soon, Audrey and I are sniffing the various leaves and discussing the nuances we detect. Fruit, chocolate, mint, rose, and violet transform into something larger than themselves when tea leaves are immersed in hot water. The alchemy of liquid and leaves unlock the aromas hidden within, sending up smells I can scoop up with a teaspoon. My nostrils are tickled and upon tasting, my taste buds are tantalized. I don’t even notice that I have a trio of teapots and teacups lined up before me.

tea et al

Now, any time is a good time for a hot beverage but it’s in the afternoon when the imbibing of it and sweets seems most appropriate – no, required. Out comes a three-tiered stand representative of the three courses required in a tea service: sandwiches, scones and (quick) breads, and sweets. It’s an awesome spectacle that briefly renders me in mute admiration.

“The salmon is really good,” Audrey says pointing. A crispy flatbread is the foundation for a dill-pistachio mousseline, its flavor brightened with lemon zest and the slippery creaminess of the smoked salmon. Too good. I also like the mushroom duxelle cradled in its puff pastry round, still crispy and hot from the oven.

scones

The wonder of this tea service is the opportunity to flit in and out of the various three tiers, playing with variations of savory, sweet, and salty. The middle tier, which proves to be my favorite, offers up a traditional scone of the genteel sort, nothing like the oversized wedges I make at home. Bizu’s teatime scones are crumbly all throughout and speckled sparingly  with raisins and walnuts. Audrey enthusiastically spreads half of her scone with lemon curd and then whipped cream. “Would it taste differently if I layer the cream first and then the curd?” I blurt out. (Good lord!) “It shouldn’t matter,” Audrey replies, biting into her scone and grinning. The madeleines, a cross between cake and cookie are – what the Brits would say – just lovely.

2 cups of tea

As we sip and sup and giggle over our teatime largesse, I marvel at how every sip of tea enervates me. Tea time is not a profound experience by any means, but it allows me to reflect on its simplicity and capacity to give pleasure.

mamma mia

Then, what looks like a strawberry St. Honoré is deposited on our table. It’s visually arresting and stops our conversation. “This is a Mamma Mia,” Audrey says. “It’s our Mother’s Day offering.” A riff on the classic Gateau Saint-Honoré, a French pastry named for the patron saint of bakers, the cake is a wonder of strawberries and cream. I need not say more.

yoga cake

Audrey’s brother, Xander, a chef by profession, comes over and sits with us. His youth belies his voracity and fervor for food. He reminds me so much of myself that I can only chuckle when Audrey says, “I told you you’d be able to talk to him for hours!” He has me try the yoga cake, a seemingly benign round flecked with black. It’s an undercurrent of citrus – passion fruit and lemon – rounded out with a yogurt custard sandwiched between sablé and sponge cake then gilded with halves of Bizu’s famous macarons. Xander agrees when I point out that passion fruit is something that one either really loves or really hates. “It’s a lot to take in, really. You’ve got mango meets calamansi meets butong pakwan.” We laugh and after too many bites, I plead that the cake be taken away from me. Obviously, I love it.

Mother’s Day Tea at Bizu
Tea Time at Bizu
Daily, 2-6pm
P575++
At all Bizu branches

Mamma Mia cake
Personal: P150
Midi: P455
Grande: P1,100

Other Bizu posts:
Bizu’s Eggs Benedict
The Last Holiday Hurrah

6 Responses to “Something for Mother’s Day: Bon Appe“Tea””

  • tea time at bizu is a good idea for people who don’t like coffee and for people who try to avoid coffee (that’s me!).

    [Reply]

  • Entering Bizu always makes me happy, and it’s not just because of all the sweets. The purple circus/carnival theme with the quirky accessories never fails to lift my spirits. And that whimsical tiered stand fits right in, I want it!!!

    Whenever Bizu caters a cocktail party, I go straight for those mushroom duxelles. Gotta try that salmon one, too. Next time someone wants to get together in the afternoon, I’ll suggest this.

    It would be perfect if they could serve clotted cream instead of whipped, but that’s probably too difficult to come by here.

    [Reply]

  • beautiful post! not being a coffee person (allergic), i am now trying to explore the world of tea and this entry is just the sort of thing to make an enthusiast out of anyone.

    that plus bizu pastries. excellent

    [Reply]

  • I was just at Bizu earlier today. (I had to get my macaron!)

    I love the stress-reliever tea they serve – and your post just convinced me to head over there for afternoon tea!

    [Reply]

  • i love this post. love. love. love ;)

    [Reply]

  • Love Bizu and love your blog! I’m abroad now and your blog is making me miss the macarons terribly! =)

    [Reply]

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