Mint likes moisture and only grows in the desert thanks to irrigation systems. In Morocco, water is drawn from deep wells. In Egypt it comes from the Nile, of course. A mint plant gives a good yield for three years and is then replaced with cuttings or runners that are picked out and planted. A few months later, they are ready to be harvested again.
Egypt and Morocco are major producers of spearmint, which is the variety used to make their popular mint tea, a symbol of hospitality in North Africa. The mint is harvested using traditional methods and a simple sickle. The bushes are pruned three or four times a year on irrigated land that merges with the desert. Sometimes a motorised machine – a three-wheeled shear with arms and a seat – breaks the silence.
I hear that there is much talk of marriage at the moment in France, and the opportunity has arisen for me to tell you what I think of it.
If there is one marriage I cannot recommend, it is tea with a slice of lemon. The effect of the acidity alters the tannins and the aromas, and the result is not particularly harmonious.
On the other hand, if we look at practices around the world, tea is open to many marriages: with mint leaves in Morocco, cardamom pods in Afghanistan, rancid yak butter in Tibet, jasmine flowers in China, a drop of milk in Britain, and with a little of all the spices in India.
Vive la différence – and vive l’harmonie!
Lorsque le froid vous tombe dessus, quoi de plus agréable que de rentrer chez soi, mettre en route la bouilloire et se réchauffer les doigts quelques minutes plus tard au contact d’une tasse de thé fumante ?
Sous un beau soleil hivernal, me voici en train de siroter un thé brûlant face aux montagnes du Haut-Atlas
Sipping scalding tea is a treat in winter
When you’re feeling cold, what could be better than going home, putting the kettle on and warming your fingers a few minutes later around a cup of steaming tea?
Under a beautiful winter sun, here I am sipping boiling hot tea overlooking the High Atlas mountains.