Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Perfect Cup of Tea - Indian Style

In the south we grow up on tea, usually iced. And sweet, VERY sweet.  I'm really lucky to have grown up on "milk" tea, which is hot tea with milk. I've never been one to enjoy all the "chai" offerings in the US but after having my first cup of Masala tea in India, I'm hooked.
Just look at all the ginger, cardamon and other spices floating in the tea.
Chai, (the "ch" is pronounced like "church) as it is pronounced in India, or Shai (pronounced like "shy") as it is pronounced in the Middle East, is simply the word for tea.  

Masala tea is a tea with amazing spices added to black tea, turning it in to an incredible cup of tea. To make the perfect cup of tea, make a cup of tea using assam tea, add hot milk, a small amount of Masala, some sugar, if you must, and you've got a perfect cup of tea. 
Adding the Masala
I was amazed to see the "disposable" teacups used in India.  Each are handmade pottery cups that once used are thrown to the ground to be busted into a million small pieces, so they quickly return to dust (making them biodegradable).  But busting up a handmade piece of pottery just sent me over the edge!
At the potter's house
One of our guides took us by the home of one of the local potters.  He was busy making other dishes that day but it was amazing to see his little shop.  
We then stopped by the best tea stand in Varanasi and were lucky enough to get drive in service. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Indian Miniature Paintings

First let me start by saying I knew nothing about Indian art before going to India so when I saw some of the Indian miniature pieces and understood that these paintings were painted with the "hair of a squirrel"  I couldn't believe it.  It is absolutely amazing that one single small bristle was used to create large and detailed beautiful pieces of art.

Our guide shared that you will never see an artist's name on any of these pieces because multiple artists worked to create each masterpiece.  Let's be honest. It would take more than one painter when using a tiny hair to paint each scene.

Please enjoy a sampling of some of the many beautiful pieces of Indian miniature art.