A Tea Party at the Northwest Tea Festival

This weekend Seattle will host a tea party that is open to all walks of life; on October 2-3, the Northwest Tea Festival opens its arms. In Seattle Center’s Northwest Rooms, the tea festival will be the place to be for tea lovers.

So if you’re looking for something fun, interesting and different to do, go check out the Northwest Tea Festival. For a $5 donation, you’ll get a souvenir tasting cup and entry into the event. There are a host of tasting sessions, presentations, and workshops throughout the weekend. Coupled with the floor of retailers, you should be able to find enough interesting things about tea to kick your coffee habit. Or rather, diversify your drinking habits.

For another cool reason to attend, the good folks at The Essential Baking Company have made three specialty cakes to pair with teas. I had the good fortune of attending a preview event at Pike Place’s Perennial Tea Room to learn about the cakes, the festival and tea culture. The tea cakes come in three flavors (Blueberry Orange, Lemon Raspberry, and Carrot Pineapple) and my dear friend CakeSpy shared her thoughts on them. Check out EBC’s cafes to check out the cakes as well.

One hidden benefit of going to the Tea Festival is the opportunity to learn immense amounts of a subject as broad as tea. The copious volumes of factoids will blow the doors off of the stuff that your friends know. Because really, isn’t it nice to know more than your friends? See you at the table for high tea.

Pouding Chômeur ice cream

A few weeks ago we went over to our friend Viv‘s ‘dorm commons’ for a good ol’ fashion ice cream social. What made this decadent dessert party unique was that the other guests of the day were local foodies with equally unique perspective on food; all ready to bring their A game with their ice creams. So I needed to step up and bring something clever, fun, and most importantly delicious. Enter Pouding Chômeur ice cream.

What is Pouding Chômeur you ask? It’s a rich, sweet dessert native to Quebec. It takes a simple cake that is baked along with a sauce that uses a hefty amount of heavy cream and maple syrup. Translated it means ‘poor man’s pudding’ and the humble ingredients reflect that moniker. We had pouding chômeur during our trip to Montreal and our dinner at Martin Picard’s famed Au Pied du Cochon. Prior to the trip I knew nothing about this dish. After an epic dinner, our server recommended the pouding chômeur. Out came this amber-hued dessert that sat with a scoop of ice cream. It was delicious; endlessly sweet, highlighted by the distinctive notes of the maple syrup.

So when the invite to the ice cream social went out, I wanted to do something with pouding chômeur. After scouring the Internet, I never found a recipe for pouding chômeur ice cream. Lots of recipes with interpretations of the dish served it a la mode, but nothing combined the two. So from necessity comes innovation; I decided to make one up myself. Besides, it’s just a twist on a bread pudding ice cream.

As for the ice cream base, I ended up using a mascarpone ice cream. My thoughts were that the cheesy tang of this ice cream would provide a nice contrast with the sweetness of the pouding chômeur. And the mascarpone ice cream recipe is ridiculously easy to make.

In the end, the pouding chômeur ice cream came out really well; dense chunks of the cake, swirls of the maple cream throughout. It made for a clever take on two things I’ve enjoyed and a delicious and unique dessert to boot.

So you want to take a stab at making your own? Follow along after the jump: Continue reading