Beat the heat in luxurious style with the new TWG Iced Teas

If there are two words I associate with the TWG brand, it’s quality and sophistication. They become apparent the moment you step into any of their boutiques. Everything is set up to give a feel of exquisiteness, reiterating the fact that the experience of TWG has to satisfy absolutely all the senses.

Immediately you catch sight of their attention to detail when you see the interior design as it leads to an ambiance perfect for an afternoon of tea, macarons, and long conversations. The way all their teas are arranged so neatly would make any OC person cry with joy.

Oh and don’t get me started on their macarons!

But the crowning glory of TWG has always been their selection of teas. The sheer amount of it makes my head spin. All these yellow tins and bottles lining the wall behind the counters in the boutique are all different kinds of teas that can make real tea lovers react with glee.

But TWG’s quality teas are not just for drinking; they also infuse it into their macarons, ice cream, and now they’ve made some iced tea blends to help us Manila folk survive this massive heat wave.

The afternoon they launched these teas was coincidentally perhaps one of the hottest days of the year. At 41°C, it seemed like even the weather was cooperating to prove to us just how refreshing these new TWG Iced Teas are.
Learn more about TWG Iced Teas! >>

Learning to love the green tea-red bean combination

We’re taking a little break from the Japan travel blogs because I haven’t had the time to make the next posts in the series yet. But what else should I write about except this Japanese-inspired bread? This has been on my drafts folder for such a looooong long time. So long I don’t even want to tell you the exact date! But clearly these buns have made quite the impression on me, because the moment I saw the photos again, I immediately remembered what they tasted like.

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of red beans. It’s not that I hate it or anything. I just feel very… blah about it. Red bean flavour is one of those things I never crave but if it’s presented to me I wouldn’t exactly throw it aside. One of my brothers in comparison always cringes and makes a face right before taking a bite of anything red bean related, like a ritual of some sort. But the important thing is: he eats it anyway. Just like with these buns. :)

I guess you can say red bean falls under “acquired tastes”. For that matter, matcha is a bit of an acquired taste too. When I found out that my Mother did not like matcha very much I was shocked! I love matcha so much sometimes I forget that not everybody likes it. Oops.

But since finally being able to source baking matcha powder locally, I have been searching up a storm on the internet for green tea recipes of all shapes and sizes. I have made several recipes (most of which I have yet to share here) but none have really impacted me the way recipes featuring the combination of matcha and red bean have. I think many people in the house would agree that this was quite a pleasant surprise!

I love how the slightly bitter and fragrant matcha balances out the sweet sweet red beans. I am pretty sure I would never choose to eat red bean desserts on its own, but combined with matcha it becomes a different story. A story I wouldn’t mind reading over and over.
Get the recipe! >>

Japan Travel Blog April 2015: Shinhotaka Ropeway + Tonami Tulip Gallery

I’ve spent 24 years wondering what snow was like, and after my recent trip to Japan I’d have to say it’s not as spectacular as I thought. Maybe if the snow were falling there would be a bit more magic, but seeing it settled there on the ground, a blanket of white over what would’ve at another time been green, I think I prefer the green a lot more.

But since this is my first time seeing Alpine-like mountains like this, I must say I found it quite a breathtaking sight. This is one of my favourite locations during the whole trip, even beating out the supposed highlight which is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. There’s just something about Mt. Hotaka that draws my attention. It’s like a sleeping giant that at any moment can stir, come to life. It might sit up and shake off the snow and the pine trees that have gathered on its head, stretch, give a gentle yawn. And then it might even actually smile at all those observing it.

Standing as one of the tallest peaks of the Japanese Alps at over 10,000 feet, Mt. Hotaka can be fully appreciated by riding the Shinhotaka Ropeway. You take two rounds of cable car rides, which drags you on an uphill climb over the side of the Hotaka Montain Range.
Let’s explore the Shinhotaka Ropeway! >>

Japan Travel Blog April 2015: Takayama Old Town

Oh sakura season, why’d you have to end so soon?

When my Dad and I arrived in Japan, it was already the tail-end of sakura season. In some parts of Japan the season was already over, but here in Takayama we were able to see a little bit of the magic that seems able to stop people on their tracks. It must be because it almost looks like the flowers are actually glowing in the sunlight.

And just like I keep mentioning, this is my first time seeing cherry blossoms, so regardless of the fact that I couldn’t see cherry blossom season in its full glory I’ll take what I can! There were a few trees of different kinds of sakura all over the Old Town so it was a nice hanami session for me as we walked around. It was the only time I could do some actual cherry blossom-spotting during the whole trip. The one below is of the somei yoshino 5-petal variety. So purdyyyyy.

Takayama Old Town is quite atmospheric. It’s considered as one of the old towns in Japan that has been most meticulously preserved from the Edo period. That era spans from the early 1600s to the mid 1800’s, so seeing the state of the houses here is nothing short of impressive! While you’re here it’s quite easy to imagine merchants of olden times rushing from one shop to the next, their straw hats bobbing up and down as they carry their heavy wares on their backs.

The best way for me to share this place with you is probably by bombarding you with photos. Ready?
Let’s explore Takayama Old Town! >>