Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gift Baskets by Design & Flowering Tea

A flowering tea, or blooming tea, is a small bundle of dried tea leaves and flowers bound together into a ball. When steeped, the bundle expands and unfurls in a process that emulates a blooming flower. Flowering teas are fragrant, aromatic teas that do not tend to get bitter with extended steeping. Flowering teas are often prepared in a transparent vessel for easy viewing. I didn't have a nice transparent tea-pot so I used a 4 cup measure so that we could see the beauty of the flowering tea. It was the only transparent thing I had big enough to make tea in. My husband, Anthony, and I spent the evening enjoying this tea while watching Laurence of Arabia followed by Casablanca.

For the last several years I have been driving by Gift Baskets by Design, on Wharncliffe Road, almost daily on the way downtown or back home. I have often wondered how a storefront could be supported by gift baskets alone. Today, I had the pleasure of going inside and meeting with Angie Wilson (owner) and Bonita Stevenson (associate).

First, let me tell you, all my preconceived ideas were dashed on the spot. The nondescript exterior belies the beauty of the interior. The interior was not only tastefully decorated, but warm and inviting. The fragrance upon entering is heavenly. There was so much to see that my eyes kept wandering over the displays, seats, tables, and teas...oh the teas!

And, to my surprise, there is a lot more than just gift baskets inside the shop. There are all kinds of wonderful gifts and gift ideas. I cannot even start to list them all. Angie also has a whole selection of wonderful and exotic teas. You can purchase them by the ounce. That is where I got the flowering tea. I had heard about this tea but had not come across it in my daily travels.

Angie and Bonita were saying that they hope to open a tea house in the future. However, for now you can go in person (or order online or by phone) to get these wonderful teas. Another thing you can do, is have them supply a variety of teas for your special evenings, book club meetings, spa night, or whenever you are having a group of people over for an occasion.

It was a pure delight to go in today. I wish I had made the effort to go inside sooner. If you live in the London, Ontario area you must drop in and check out this wonderful gem on Wharncliffe Road.

Gift Baskets by Design
315 Wharncliffe Rd South
London, Ontario

There is free parking in the rear
They deliver.

When I came home this afternoon and showed Anthony the tea, he was very excited about it. He had heard some women at work talking about this tea. He had wanted to try it too. He is enjoying it as much as I am. It is deliciously mild and relaxing.


  1. That looks really cool - I've not seen that, but then my tea drinking is somewhat limited! Wish I lived nearby - looks like a fun place to find inspiration!

  2. I have seen them and they look lovely, I have allot of allergies and I am a little leery (I am allergic to lavender). but they have a white tea bloom that I have been eying! thanks for the review. I will have to get it now.

  3. I just got a flowering tea set...The tea IS an experience of many senses! I knew watching the tea ball unfurl would be a spectator event so I gathered family and a friend around as I poured water into the pot for the first time. Wows and gasps were heard around the little glass pot as the tea ball blossomed before us. It turned into a mini underwater bouquet! The brew was delicate and not at all harsh when left to steep longer. I was told a usual tea blossom will make 8 servings. Yummmmmmmmm!