Yves Ugalde is the deputy mayor of Bayonne and a fine writer. In his amusing account of the opening of Palais des Thés’ Bayonne store, he says he approached this new product offering in the city with a certain reluctance, “if only because I was afraid of being met by some high priest of the post-Covid world spouting all the vegan, meat-free marketing claims beloved of urban eco-warriors, of a world in which the digestive tract is gradually transformed into a temple”. I’m delighted by his account because it is Palais des Thés’ mission to rid tea of its clichés and to guide each person towards easy-drinking teas or rarer vintages depending on their tastes, just like a wine merchant does. And what a pleasure it is to read that Mr Ugalde is now willing to adopt a different stance towards Camellia sinensis, especially as there are some very serious attempts being made to grow it in this beautiful Basque region. Between the Nive and Adour rivers they already celebrate ham and chocolate with festivals – isn’t it time they had one for tea?
When will we see a tea festival in Bayonne?
17 June 2022