Archives for posts with tag: tea

Small Works Again, our annual small works show, opened last night to the tune of a very fun Pie Party.

food, art, herbalism and fun at Fleurbain

food, art, herbalism and fun at Fleurbain

Guests and friends and participating artists enjoyed a potluck Pie fest alongside a wine and cheese. For the first time, we have featured a small craft/card table for participating artists to share some of their smaller small works.

small craft and card table, featuring works from $1-$20

small craft and card table, featuring works from $1-$20

Participating artists are: Anna Grigorian, Donna McGee, Elissa Baltzer, Emily Leong, Nadia Mytnik-Frantova, Natasha Henderson, Sarah Robinson, and Thaneah Krohn. All work may be purchased on the spot, or can be reserved with a 50% deposit. Visit us and the show each Saturday and Sunday until mid-January from 11am-3pm, with extended hours too (TBA). See our Facebook page for updates!

a little taste of the show...

a little taste of the show…

Our in-house herbalist, Tammy Schmidt, presented us with a delicious nutritive tea. She had some of her luscious skin serum available, as well as tasty lip balm, Vanilla Maple seasoning, and her infamous teas. Come by to see what other fresh herbal concoctions are a-brewin’.

An online gallery of the small works is available, works can be viewed and purchased here.

Happy Pieday!

Fleurbain is located in the heart of downtown Montreal, across the street from the picturesque St James United Church. 260 St Catherine Street West, Unit 917. Always ready for appointments, at most any time. Just email us at fleurbain(at)gmail(dot)com and we’ll get the tea on for you!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Photograph by reader Laurie Aaron Dahlquist. According to Laurie, the “Arnold Palmer” is half lemonade, half iced tea, and is what she uses to stay cool in August!

Upload your pics along our photo theme for August: Stayin’ Cool to our Facebook Page, and it will be featured on this website! Or email us at fleurbain@gmail.com. Either way, thank you for sharing what you do to stay cool with us.

 

hello lemon balm, mint and friends!

I like to go for coffee with friends a couple times a week.  These are always important times for me where I am able to relax and unwind and just be with my buds.   When you live in a city and you have such a small apartment that your living room is also your dining room, entertainment centre, arts and crafts room, library and home office, it feels good to get out and embrace the perks of living in a city by going to a favourite coffee shop.

Last week, I was at a famously ubiquitous coffee shop with my friend.  She wanted neither coffee nor tea; she wanted a smoothie.  The problem was that the smoothie cost over $5 once the taxes were included! And that was the ‘prepared’ smoothie; the ‘fresh’ deluxe one was upwards of seven. Yikes. My friend and I go for coffee a couple times a week.  $5 per occasion makes for $10 a week.  Do this around  40 weeks a year, and it all adds up to about $400.  This is a lot of mooola for a few leaves infused in water, a couple percolated beans or a cup of juice and blended fruits.  This calculation is not something new to me. I read about the Latte Factor a couple years ago in a book by David Bach; it still shocks me to figure out the annual expenses for some things.

After feeling a little soured over the high cost of smoothies, my friend suggested that we bring a snack and a thermos containing some sort of drink to a park.  I think this is a great idea, particularly in the summer when Montreal’s parks are so beautiful.

So, this week we are going to try it.  We will enjoy an hour in the park instead of going to the coffee shop.  I can’t rule out coffee shops all together, because they are weather-proof places for me to expand my space.  That said, parks are apart of my space too. I can enjoy fine company in an equally pleasant park as many times as my friends and I wish to do so throughout the summer and into the fall.

To accompany this economical twist to our tradition, here is the recipe for what I am going to bring to our tea-time in the park. It is practically free!

Almost Free Tea

Go to the garden and fill a 1 litre jar with several handfuls of lemon balm, mint and other leaves you can identify as leaves suitable for tea (don’t be a hero and pick something you sort of, kind of recognize… only pick the ones you really know!  🙂 .  Pour a litre of boiling water over the leaves and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  Strain the leaves and allow the tea to cool.  Add a little honey and/or a squeeze of lemon to the tea.  Pour into a thermos filled with ice.  Bring the thermos to a park and enjoy with friends.

*If you do not have a garden or cannot identify plants, then choose a pre-packaged dried tea that you enjoy. I suggest a tangy one made with hibiscus.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

a bit of green everyday

Cats have been a part of my daily life for 14 years now.  During most of this time I have thought of them as little carnivores, little super predators.   While it is true that they rely on meat for their sustenance, they love plants too.  They love green stuff like fresh green blades of oats which are sometimes referred to as ‘cat grass’.   Most people know that cats love catnip.  Cats also respond to other herbs too such as valerian, which will excite them, and chamomile, which will generally calm them down.

For many years I was hesitant to experiment with herbs for cats because I felt that it was naïve to think that cats metabolize herbal remedies in the same way that humans do.  Just look at the way catnip excites cats, while it relaxes humans.  Or the monoterpenes in citrus, called limonene, and in pine, called pinene, are toxic to cats and not to humans.   Other common essential oils used on humans have proved to be lethal to cats.  And, years ago when I tried some of the very safest remedies such as flower essences on my cat, he seemed more annoyed than anything that I was using these calming essences on him.  I gave up on the idea.

Eventually, I tried again and I looked into many different books on herbs for pets.  Many of them are mostly written for dog owners.  After discovering a book called Herbs for Pets: The natural way to enhance your pet’s life by Gregory L. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff, I began to experiment more with herbs for my cats.

One of the most impressive things that my cats have taught me this year is that they love herbal tea.  I make up one day’s worth of nutritive herbal tea made with nettles, red clover, burdock, dandelion and a very small amount of licorice and I mix it with their wet canned food.  They love the tea so much that they will lick up all of the tea before starting in on the canned bits.  When they take their tea, they seem to have stronger constitutions, they seem to be in better moods.  My oldest cat seems less frail and he has a better temperament.  I have read about the benefits of herbal remedies for years now, but these furry little guys have taught me so much about the importance of herbal tea.

If you want to experiment with herbs for cats, be sure to pick up at least 3 good books on the subject and talk to someone who knows more about this than you do.   My local library has dozens of books on this topic.  Take notes and pursue inconsistencies in the information in these books.  It is best to trust people who have practiced for a long period of time.  Be aware that there are many popular books written by people who write well and have collected all of their information from other books.  These books are generally not the best place to collect information because they are not necessarily backed by practice.

Finally, if you are making something for your cat, even if it is a nutritive tea, remember that they only require a very small dose.  A typical dose for humans is made for someone who is 150 pounds.  A cat is usually less than a tenth that size.   My cats are getting 1-2 tablespoons a day of tea and this seems to be enough.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

Welcome to the world of De Farine et D’Eau Fraîche!

DF+EF is a dreamy new pâtisserie on Amherst that has the perfect combination of creativity and expertise. They have just opened and they are sure to be a huge success.  DF+EF is near Robin, right across the street from the community centre Ste-Catherine d’Alexandre which is also boasting a beautiful new mosaic trim and a new green roof.

Here is a baker’s dozen of the finest features that set DF+EF apart from Montreal’s pâtisseries.

  • A cordial proprietor and convivial staff.  The owner, Marilu, along with Cathy and the other staff always smile and ask how we are doing.  It’s so nice to chat a bit, and suddenly feel at home.
  • Sweet imagination. No need to head to Paris for a treat. It is all right here ranging from a small guilt-free bite to a larger indulgence; boule au chocolat et crème pâtisserie, tea cakes (à la rose is my favourite so far!), cookies in a multitude of shapes and flavours, homemade Pocky, caramels, muffins wrapped in charming brown paper, scrumptious cakes and pastries.

crème brûlée... Earl Grey flavouring

The earl grey crème brûlée was everything you want in a crème brûlée.  A nice crunch of caramelized sugar on top and incredibly creamy, nicely chilled down below.  I love the creative flavour combinations; earl grey, milk chocolate with earl grey and lavender, or vanilla.

works of art

Miniature wedding cakes are a specialty. Each one is a work of art; modern, sophisticated and unique.  I can see them being featured at many types of special occasions like graduations, showers, anniversaries and milestone birthdays.  I recently ordered a chocolate tart with caramelized bananas and Irish creme and it was perfect for my chocolate-loving friend.

  • Composting coffee cups for take out coffee.  Marilu rightly states that most people will not recycle a paper coffee cup, this is why she has made special efforts to import composting coffee cups all the way from Australia.
  • Fun. Over the last several weeks, we have done our homework in researching the place.   We have developed a rapport with the staff and they have occasionally brought a small taste of something to try.  While we have been in, we have tried to do our part in taste testing new caramel flavours, such as one with coriander and apricots (yum!), a little carrot cake, a new type of cookie, and bite of caramel popcorn.  We love it here!

    creamy caramels


  • sweet and savoury

    Something savoury.  If sweet treats do not suit you, then there is always a little something savoury.  I have a friend from New Zealand who has lamented for years that there are no savoury muffins in all of Montreal.  She is in for a treat when she returns to the city in April!

  • An enticing breakfast sandwich made with their own english muffin, 1 year old cheddar from l’Ile-aux-Grues, farm fresh bacon, an organic egg, little bits of green sprouts, red pepper and Kewpie japanese mayonnaise.  It is the best breakfast sandwich I have ever tasted.

  • Filling, healthy lunch features. The lunch specials are perfect for the type of weather we are experiencing at the moment.  They are hearty, real food, with home-made flavour, made by someone who loves to cook.  The lunch special pictured above is a curried chicken in a cashew sauce, served with jasmine rice.  This is my kind of lunch!  The paninis are unique, deluxe and satisfying.  The tuna panini is nicely accented with feta, artichokes and black olive tapenade. And if you like, it can be served with a small portion of potato chips and a soup or salad.
  • fine cappucinos

    Many people come just for the fantastic speciality coffees, teas and hot chocolates served all day long.

  • It speaks volumes that DF+EF uses organic sugar and eggs in all of the baking.  They also use organic milk, cocoa, tea, fair trade organic coffee and some organic spices.  Flavour is key, so they also use local meats from Nordest and local cheeses.

    boule au chocolat et crème pâtisserie

  • Fair-trade, organic Coco Camino sugar served with coffee and tea.
  • Beautiful tea service.


  • You can take it with you, too. Everything can be made to go and there is a plethora of little treats lining the counter, ready for quick pick-up.
  • comfort

    And I have not even mentioned the décor! Large elegant windows, fascinating wall treatments that remind us of icing as well as beautiful and comfortable furnishings with the adorable DF+ EF logo stamped on the tables.

So, take a little time and spend it in De Farine et D’Eau Fraîche.  You are in for a treat!

1701 rue Amherst

Open Monday to Friday from 7:30 am until 6:00 pm; Saturdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm; and Sundays from 11:00 am ’til 5:00 pm.

Find out more on facebook!

bisou!

Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal.

some of the herbs that were used

The first Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend workshop was held this last weekend. It was a thoroughly delicious, educational, creative and fun experience.

in the midst of making Herbal Truffles

Participants learned to make succulent herbal truffles, beautiful felted soaps, and pretty Boudoir Boxes.

fancy felted soaps, made by participants

They enjoyed some herbal teas, made a bath tea, and tasted a Healthy Hot Chocolate.

making some Boudoir Boxes from scratch

They made (and some dared to sample…) a true Love Potion.

pouring something good...

A relaxing, yet invigorating, time was had by all!

finishing touches, choices being made... a Boudoir Box

Stay tuned for the next Herbal Creativity workshop, which will be announced in March…

les pieces des resistances... herbal-infused truffles

Painting from Koehler's Medicinal Plants (1887)

Salvia officinalis

This is a sentimental entry as well as somewhat of a departure from the typical ‘Fleurbain concept’.

In the last few days, I have thought about the folks who have got through to me.  These people have been my teachers.

I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for the people in my life who have not seen knowledge and skill as exclusive, a commodity, a rare resource.  Instead, they have had the energy and time to teach me.  They were able to teach me things I did not even imagine prior to knowing these things.  I feel rich in my experience.

I have a positive outlook, most of the time. Other times, I can be stubborn and have my doubts.  I think this is a good thing; it means I have a brain and I have an opinion about my reality.  In the end, however, I feel lucky when I look back and see that people have stuck it out with me and have helped me adopt new understandings or take on new skills. They helped me out of my mud, the sticky clay fixing me to ‘what I know’, and they did this even when I may have been initially filled with doubt that there was anything new in a particular direction.

These people have confidence and skill.  This helps in keeping my attention.  They care about people and they are not afraid to share.  They are not threatened by others having these skills and information.  They want me to know, because they care that I succeed.  They also don’t act like they own me just because they taught me something. They are happy to pass it on for the sake of passing it on.  I like that.  I hope that I can do the same.

Here is a tea that will help you stay alert and ready for new information while you are with your teachers.

Mix together:

1 part green tea (Camellia sinensis promotes a calm mental focus)

1 part peppermint (Mentha x piperita is excellent for nervousness, anxiety, mental fog and lethargy)

1/2 part rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis is a well known memory aid and circulatory stimulant)

1/2 part sage (Salvia officinalis. I occasionally add sage and drink the tea cold when I want to stay cool and alert while under pressure.)

Put one teaspoon of this mixture in a teapot or mason jar.  Add two cups of freshly boiled water.  Steep for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

Truffles with nuts and chocolate dusting in de...

truffle magic!

The pinnacle of the dark, dreary days of winter is a purgatory that rests between Christmastime and Spring… February. Installed into February is a day that is supposed to be a celebration of “Love”. Many lament the commercialisation of Valentine‘s Day, and resent the high expectations and sadness that come with so many of our holidays.

Traditional Valentine’s expectations dictate that one should enjoy chocolates, give expensive gifts, and be in love. Well, let’s take some of the good from those traditions and embrace them! Even if you are single, you deserve some chocolate. Actually, you deserve more chocolate. Feeling a bit bloated after a winter’s eating? This is an opportunity to sharpen your skills in making HEALTHY treats. Herbal-infused organic chocolate truffles, anyone? Or perhaps a cup of Healthy Hot Chocolate? True love. Love is in a good cup of tea, a soothing bath that invigorates the spirit, or a beautiful hand-made gift box to hold treasures.

The brains behind the Fleurbain concept, Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Natasha Henderson, visual artist and arts instructor, are offering an Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend workshop in February. There is an option to take one or both days during the Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend, on Friday the 11th from 7 to 10pm and Saturday the 12th from 1 to 4pm.

Friday night, we will enjoy a relaxing glass of wine (or herbal tea) with some dessert treats and fine cheese. Participants will learn how to make an herbal Love Potion. The Love Potion is a special euphoric herb that is distilled in a vodka base. Everyone will get to take home a sample of this to try themselves! Tub Teas are all the rage, and for good reason. What could be better than infusing your entire body in an organic, herbal bath that is designed to soothe the body, mind, and spirit? Participants will learn some of the properties of the herbs used in this special Valentine’s Tea Bath, and take home a sample. Finally, we will make a Boudoir Gift Box, a gift box made from scratch that will be decorated with fine fabrics, papers, lace, and beads. It will be suitable as a gift box for chocolates, jewellery, fine treasures… and can be re-used to hold your favourite special things.

Saturday afternoon starts off with a healthy, delicious beginning. Participants will learn how to make Healthy Hot Chocolate (yes, this version is truly healthy), and enjoy a cup. While sipping our treat, we will make organic chocolate truffles, which will be flavoured with high quality, organic herbs for unique flavours. These are perfect to tuck into the Boudoir Boxes made the previous evening. Then we will think about the physical and mental well-being that a good bath brings, and make a felted soap loofah for our next bath. These soaps combine sheep’s wool with a high-quality Ginseng or Evening Primrose soap to be an exfoliating and moisturising addition to your bath. Finally, we will create a batch of Love Tea to take home and enjoy.

All courses use the finest quality, pure and organic ingredients. Take one afternoon or evening for $75, or treat yourself (or a friend!) to both sessions for $135. Location of workshops will be in a Montreal artist’s studio, converted to a Valentine’s Factory for our workshops. Please email fleurbain(at)gmail.com for information and registration.

This is what we found one day on our way to buy some wool to make felted soaps.
Les Délires du Terroir – bières, fromages et gourmandises du Québec.
It is at 6406 rue St. Hubert, just below Beaubien.
The cheese and gifts looked nice and so did the beer.
We had no idea that there were so many microbreweries in Quebec!

The shop is rustic, yet tastefully decorated, the clerk was very friendly and helpful, it was a pleasant little shop. We thought to sample a couple of beers each in order to offer up a little review… but… (see illustration below).

... when the clerk pointed out this sign, we got three each.

And now what you have all been waiting for… beer reviews!

The “Rousse Whisky” from Les Brasseurs du Hameau is a ‘strong beer’ that avoids all the evils of usual ‘strong beers’, which are lagers that taste malty, hopsy, sweet and heavy. Having none of that, this is a pale ale whose ‘strength’ derives from the addition of Scotch Whiskey.  Its a perfect winter beer.  I think the best description for the taste is the old skating trick of ‘cracking the whip.’ The medium-bodied beer comes around, and the whiskey cleans up with a final kick. Delicious.

La Marie Framboise from Microbrasserie Saint-Arnould is fresh and light with a distinctly raspberry flavour.  I really like it! I must admit this is the perfect beer for people who prefer a nice, refreshing drink. It’s not too unlike Hoegaarden, except with a raspberry touch.

La Carrotte Du Lievre is a carrot beer (yes! Finally! Carrot beer!) by the Microbrasserie du Lievre. I found the beer to have a gentle yet snappy smell of fresh carrots. As I drank it, the carotty bouquet seemed to dissipate, so that I just enjoyed the beer as a beer, rather than a novelty. I quite liked it. It was a good, round taste that settled over the centre of my tongue. Not bitter at all, but not too sweet, I would say it would work well with fried foods or an autumn/winter soup. Oh, yes, it would add a fantastic kick mixed into a stew! Interestingly, not everyone has so enjoyed this beer… as with all things in life, a lot depends on your personal taste.

DhamNation is a sexy-looking beer. A black label, with spare red lettering, it is “strong” (7%) so I thought I’d be in for something really special. As it stood, I was a bit disappointed. By the Brasseurs du Hameau, it was an average-style of beer. Just a beer. Granted, I am a little spoiled in my beers, as there are dozens of fine local brews available. It wasn’t Coors, no, but it didn’t measure up to my dear St Ambroise line of beers. Worthy of drinking, certainly, but not what I’d hoped for.

Folie Douce Biere au Bleuets is by Les Brasseurs RJ, one of my favorite micro breweries. They make the infamous Cheval Blanc. Mmm. Well, this blueberry beer is quite surprisingly bitter. The blueberry scent and flavour is not strong, nor is it sweet. The colour is a distinct red, and is very cool-looking. Serve it in a clear glass! Upon further reflection, the blueberry taste is present, but it is subtle, something that builds. The taste is similar to slightly tart, unripe blueberries. I enjoyed this one, but feel it is mostly suitable for summertime. Does remind me a bit of a crisp, fruity cider.

Lastly is the Black Watch Scottish ale. I was attracted to it by the big, furry eyebrows on the label. As it turns out, eyebrows are something of a fetish for the beers from Les Brasseurs de Montreal. This beer makes my eyebrows shiver and curl! The first sensation is incredibly tart.  This is followed by a brief flicker of sweet that is washed away by another wave of tartness. The taste is precise, tight and frugal like a staunch Presbyterian. Perhaps that’s why it’s a Scottish beer!

Teas and painted chocolates, deluxe and beautiful, are available too.

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