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Two tea lovers make their way around Europe with their Mighty Leaf
A Little Tea, A Lot of Lavender July 15, 2007
Hvar Island is a long, skinny chunk of land off the coast of Croatia that has gotten to be quite a massive tourist destination over the last few years. We headed there with this in mind and avoided the main city of Hvar to stay in Jelsa, which is a lovely, sleepy town on a little bay, some 15 miles from the booming, all night discos and bars that bounce bass through what used to be quiet summer nights.
Even though we were safely ensconced out of the main tourist drags, we still found ourselves wandering to Hvar City, which is really quite pretty despite the crowds of backpackers and all-night drinkers from many a Western European nation. It scrolls up the side of a hill to meet with a fort at the top that overlooks the bay and offers a spectacular view of the Devil Islands (Pakleni Otoci). With styled arches and trim decorating every corner, it is authentic Venetian style the whole way. Being in such a picturesque setting, we found ourselves wandering for hours in the streets of the city and taking pictures as the sun set, making the white stones light up like old parchment.
But beyond the architecture and character of the city, one thing became predominantly clear: this was lavender country. Drawn in by the lure of this aromatic plant that historically grew on Hvar, tourists are sucking up any and all lavender trinkets they can get their hands on. While we have some doubt as to whether all this lavender that they sell is still grown on Hvar, it is everywhere and they name scores of things after it. This being the case, we took a seat in Café Lavanda ('lavanda' being, yes, that's right, 'lavender' in Croatian.) It was a nice café that was on an alley the setting sun didn't touch and made for a good spot to get out of the 95 degree heat that happened to be hitting us that day.
With café selection completed, only tea selection remained. We wanted something refreshing to sip through the lingering evening heat and keeping in the theme of lavender, why not something a bit floral, a bit citrus, but most importantly, iced. Thus we decided on white tea and citrus herbal tea. Once steeped and chilled, they made excellent accompaniment to watch the tourist parade as people flocked back from the beaches to head for the bars.
Where: Café Levanda, Hvar City, Hvar Island, Croatia
Tea: Chamomile Citrus, White Orchard