An inviting atmosphere, tasty lunch and a myriad of tea possibilities at Shaktea
The name Shaktea is inspired by a Hindu Goddess who represents divine feminine energy and who brings harmony and restoration. Knowing this, it makes sense that Maria Ma and Tanya Maldonado of Shaktea on Main, avoid the common and crazy laptop hub and strive instead for a balanced, calming environment.
Their choice of loose leaf tea and tisane has been influenced by their travels and time spent with mentors and tea experts from around the world, including prestigious regions of China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Africa, and Nepal. It was during these travels that they were educated in a way that no book could ever teach, learning from those growing the tea themselves. Their appreciation for the art of tea grows deeper with each memorable interaction they have with the people involved in the labour-intensive process.
On their 7th Anniversary in late November a small group of us were led on a tea tasting journey in which we were to guess the origin, taste, texture and type of tea.
The many wine and beer tastings that I've been to in the past did not prepare me for this particular tasting. As a self-proclaimed espresso fiend I know very a little about what to look for when sipping tea, I simply notice the aroma, the after-taste and the temperature. Maria and Tanya were helpful in this process and let me quit like a child when I decided that I couldn't get them right.
Tea Tasting (from front to back): Japanese Sencha, Taiwanese Milky Oolong, Sikkim - Temi Estate TGFOP1 Second Flush, French Earl Grey (with Bergamot, Mango + Hibiscus)
Tea Leaves (from top left): French Earl Grey, Japanese Sencha, Taiwanese Milky Oolong, Sikkim - Temi Estate TGFOP1 Second Flush
Along with sampling tea we were given the opportunity to sample portions of the lunch menu from the small kitchen. As they brought out the sandwiches the first thing I noticed was how tasty the bread looked. It tasted as fresh and delicious as it looked. Many of the menu items have a touch of tea influence in them, such as their Lapsang Souchong dressing and their French Earl Grey fruit preserves.
Fresh Cucumber Sandwich
Open-faced served with a layer of Fourme d'Ambert mousse, and topped with toasted crushed pecans (sample size shown)
Vegetarians, prepare yourself. This is a delicious combination of flavours being thrown at you, with the smooth, full flavoured Fourme d'Ambert mousse, the crisp, refreshing cucumber and the crunchy pecans as a textural topper.
Creamy brie melted on a fresh slice of organic French baguette, with French Earl Grey fruit preserves (sample size shown)
This is normally served as a sandwich but was just as tasty as an appetizer with the savoury, creamy brie balanced out by the sweet fruit preserves.
Goat cheese with sundried tomato, fresh spinach, artichoke and caramelized onion on organic baguette (sample size shown)
Seasoned shredded chicken breast with fresh house-made pesto, on organic Ciabatta bread (sample size shown)
At first I thought this was a tuna sandwich, based upon it's looks but a quick bite in to it confirmed that it was clearly chicken wrapped in house-made pesto. Not the healthiest sandwich as there are no vegetables but still a nice little snack with lots of flavour.
Black forest ham and melted emmenthal, with a touch of German mustard and organic Lapsang Souchong dressing (full size shown) served with spring salad with house dressing
Simple looking but packing some punch, this "Crunch Mister" was a delightful one. I loved the addition of the German Mustard that added slight tanginess and the Lapsang Souchong that was subtle, but enough to make it unique. The feminist in me thinks they should add a Croque Madame on the menu too...just to be fair, and because they're delicious.
Following the lunch samples, it was time for dessert.