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MOROCCAN MINT TEA

(photo by Chabi Chic)

The tradition of Attay -  the name for Morocco's signature sweet, mint tea - goes back centuries in North Africa, and is a crucial part of daily life. As a traveler or a local, no matter where you go - to a souk, a cafe, a Riad, or the home of a new friend - you are sure to be served a steaming hot cup. On my first visit to Morocco in 2016, I became enraptured with it. After you get used to the powerful sweetness, there are layers to the flavor that are subtle and wonderful. The basic ingredients are fresh mint leaves, gunpowder green tea, sugar, and hot water. But in winter, its common to add absinthe (wormwood) leaves, marjoram, sage, and verbena as well.  Different regions of the country are known for their variations - some lighter and more subtle, some darker and more herbal. 

The tradition of tea in Morocco includes layers of ritual and artful service. The first step is adding rolled pellets of gunpowder green tea to hot water. After this has steeped for a few minutes, the water is removed from the pot and set aside. This bitter brew is considered the "spirit" of the tea, and isn't discarded. The next step is to add more water, add sugar, and brew again. Once this is finished, fresh mint leaves are added to individual glasses, and the tea is poured into each cup from a great distance to aerate and cool the tea. The "spirit" or initial bitter infusion may be added back in to deepen the flavor. 

(photo by Nargisse Benkabbou of MyMoroccanFood.com)

(photo by Nargisse Benkabbou of MyMoroccanFood.com)

 

MOROCCAN MINT TEA RECIPE

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon gunpowder green tea
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste 
  • 1 large bunch fresh mint leaves

Using a 1 to 1 1/2 quart teapot, put tea in teapot and pour in 1/2 cup boiling water. Let simmer for one minute. Strain out and set aside water - this is the essence or "spirit" of the tea. Reserve the tea leaves in the pot.

Repeat this process with a fresh 1/2 cup of water, this time swirling gently to warm the pot and rinse the tea. Discard water. 

Fill the teapot with the remainder of the water and the majority of the fresh mint leaves, and let it come to a boil. Once the water has boiled, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Optional: add the "spirit" back in to the tea, one teaspoonful at at time, to taste. Place a few additional fresh mint leaves in our traditional tea glasses, and strain the tea into each glass, making sure that the tea leaves stay in the pot. 

 Enjoy! 

 

XO, 

 

Caitlin 

(photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

 

ZEAL LIVING + GUESTHOUSE

It has been such an honor to be included in recent projects with Designer Bret Sundberg and Guest House! Guest House is an exciting Denver and Boulder concept that stages high-end homes for sale with all handcrafted and locally made goods. Everything in the homes is for sale, from the furniture, to the art, to the glassware and picture frames.  Zeal Living pieces have been scattered throughout recent projects - look closely and you'll see glassware, coasters, tablecloths, Fulani bowls, Bamileke vessels, blankets, and wall hangings. My personal favorites from this Cherry Creek apartment are the artwork by Lauren Fuhr, the gorgeous dipped textile wall hanging by Uccelino, and those to-die-for vegetable dyed velvet pillows by Edie Urie. 

Alex, the founder of Guest House, is a genuinely wonderful guy and his ingenuity is inspiring to me. I'm proud to be a Guest House partner and hope to collaborate on many projects in the future. 

XO, 

Caitlin 

(All photographs by Kylie Fitts

ZEAL LIVING + CHELSEA MEISSNER

I was recently contacted by designer Kim Spradlin Wolfe, who was working on a total redesign of Southern Charm star Chelsea Meissner's South Carolina home. If those names sound familiar, its because Kim and Chelsea originally met on the set of Survivor season 24, "one world" - Kim was the winner! Photographer Jillian Guyette interviewed Kim and Chelsea on her blog, which is well worth a read to get more details on the renovation and finishings. But the main thing I loved about it was getting an inside view on their friendship, which sounds hilarious and life giving, and I love that! 

Kim chose two Zeal Living baskets for Chelsea's home - the Pom Pom Basket and the Simple Spotted Black and White Plateau Basket. Kim and Chelsea - thank you so much for prioritizing artisan made in the space - I am so proud to see each piece looking so perfectly at home! 

I hope you are as inspired by this bright, cheerful space as much as I am! 

All photos by Jillian Guyette. 

XO, 

Caitlin

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