One of our most popular macaron flavours is Earl Grey. And one of the reasons it’s so delicious is that, as with all our macarons, we sought out the best ingredients. In this case, that means using the organic, fair trade Blue Sapphire Earl Grey loose leaf tea that’s blended in-house by Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery. We also make a custom macaron for Venus Sophia’s popular afternoon teas, using their Afternoon Tea Blend! Working with the community—and with other local businesses who care about quality as much as we do—has been a priority for us since day one, and the result of this partnership has been some truly lovely macarons. We popped into their tea room, which is in China Town, to talk to Venus Sophia’s Sallie El Alaily.
Sallie On Tea & Macarons
“I’ve always loved teas; I was always into very high quality teas. So of course I had to bring that into my own business and that’s given me a huge opportunity to really take things to the next level. I have the pleasure of working with the finest suppliers and tea gardens and I’ve tasted hundreds of teas over the years, which allows me to carefully select the best teas, herbs and botanicals for our tea line. And it never stops. I’m also studying to be a certified tea sommelier while running our business, it brings me so much joy.
“We change our Afternoon Tea seasonally—summer, spring, fall, and winter—we always try to keep it fresh and different. It popped into my head that we just had to have a macaron on our afternoon tea menu. Alain, my husband and business partner, is in charge of the kitchen at Venus Sophia and his hands are full with our extensive vegetarian menu and afternoon tea sandwiches and treats. So we both thought it would be a great idea to collaborate with a local bakery! While looking around town another bakery recommended Bon Macaron—they were pretty new at the time. At first I was using different macarons from their selection and that was great. But then one day an idea again popped into my mind: ‘I want my own Venus Sophia macaron!’ And I got what I wanted. [laughs] And I’m very happy. It’s great. It’s a beautiful colour. Our customers love it. I love it.”
On Blue Sapphire Earl Grey
“When I was creating the tea I was thinking of a kind of affordable luxury. I’ve always liked jewels and Venus Sophia is all about beauty. I came up with the name and then I thought, ‘How do I make that work?’ The blue cornflowers we blend in are very much like a sapphire blue. It just adds beauty to the whole tea experience. And it’s not just drinking the tea—when you’re brewing loose tea you get to scoop it out of the tin, etc. It’s the whole process. Those cornflowers also come from a farm very close to the tea garden in Sri Lanka where the this tea comes from, and that was a great connection.”
On Afternoon Tea Blend
“Sometimes I’ll be walking somewhere and something just inspires me, like a certain mood or a feeling, and I think, ‘I want that in a tea’. For the Afternoon Tea Blend, which Bon Macaron uses to make our Venus Sophia custom macaron, it was an expression of my love for afternoon tea, and specifically afternoon tea at Venus Sophia. It’s flowery and elegant, distinctive but not too strong. I always like to blend with herb and florals. I just love those. They’re perfume-y and wonderful and good for you.”
Macarons and tea. Perfect.