Elizabeth Knight–Ms. Knight calls tea “the original comfort food” and her website Tea with Friends is a delight to visit. She is worth looking up if you are in the New York area, as her latest book: Tea in the City: New York (co-authored with Bruce Richardson) has led to guided walking tea tours of the city (see her website for additional details). The lover of the tea party with a minimum number of friends can sign up for her themed tours. (I personally would choose The World in a Teacup-English, French, and Asian Traditions). Her credentials are extensive, including having served as a tea sommelier for the St. Regis Hotel.* Yes, the choice of teas are extensive like wines and the fancier hotels need someone on their wait staff to focus on the tea exclusively.
Ms. Knight is known by the major media outlets as the “go-to” person when tea-related expertise is needed. Her knowledge of tea is not limited by culture and she experiences firsthand the many doors tea opens with people around the world. For example, according to her website, she will spend the majority of July in Japan.
She’s written a number of books including her best seller, Tea with Friends. It includes twelve tea party plans, one for each month of the year (I need to look up her Dog Days Picnic Tea, especially on this 100 degree day!). Her book incorporates lesser known tea traditions from around the world into the parties for those of us who are not yet world travelers. For example, the January party is based on the Scotland New Year, Hogmanay. She includes the menu suggestion, some recipes, and information needed for the party like centerpiece and music suggestions.
There’s nothing like sitting down with my tea and a book to take me away to other places in a season when travel is limited.
If you missed my last Know Your Tea Party Expert post on Jane Pettigrew, you can find it here. Next time, I’ll share with you about Dorothea Johnson.
Who do you consider a tea party expert?
*Sommelier~A restaurant employee who orders and maintains the wines (or teas!) sold in the restaurant and usually has extensive knowledge about wine (or tea) and food pairings.