As with lavender, most Filipinos are totally unaware that roses are used in food, particularly as sweets. Thus, we have such things as crystallized rose petals (lovely for topping layer cakes), macarons au rose (those heavenly wee pink and fragrant ones from Bizu are amazing), and rose-petal jelly. (Fortnum and Mason in the UK make a particularly blossomy one that goes beautifully on hot buttered scones or fresh white bread. Quite an indulgence, really…)
And then, there are rose hips, the vivid scarlet fruit of the flowering rose.
These little fruits are what you get when you don’t pick the roses and just leave them on the branch: small, sour little bulbs filled with seeds and are totally packed with Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. In much of Western Europe, particularly in France and the United Kingdom, these are picked and cooked down with sugar to make tangy-tasting marmalade and jams. Over in Eastern Europe, these are used to make both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fizzy beverages that are considered more refreshing than lemonade or commercially-done soda.
In Taiwan, tea-maker Shi Chen mixes dried rose hips with dried rose petals, black tea, non-dairy creamer, and sugar to make the Rose Fruity Milk Tea variant of its 3:15 PM line of instant milk teas. Unlike other instant teas where powders are simply tossed into hot water and reconstituted for drinking, the ingredients for this particular tea are packed in small mesh tea bags – tea, petals, fruit, creamer, and sugar – and left to steep for at least three minutes in a cup of hot water. (Longer and in less water, of course, if you fancy a stronger brew.) The resulting drink has a lovely, subtle aroma of real roses and has a delicately fruity flavor balanced by the creamy, sweet, and somewhat smoky black tea.
You can enjoy it hot in the morning – its name, notwithstanding – for a sweet start to your day, or pour it over ice for an afternoon pick-me-up. I do recommend, however, another way of enjoying it…
…turn it into a milkshake! I know it sounds totally mad, but believe me when I say that it isn’t crazy at all and actually tastes lovely. Vanilla ice cream is the go-to partner for this particular sipper as it lends body and richness to the drink and doesn’t get in the way of the sweet rosiness of the tea.
Garden Path Milkshake
- 1 sachet 3:15 PM Rose Fruity Milk Tea steeped in 150 mL hot water
- 100 mL cold milk
- 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
Steep the tea for 5 – 7 minutes. Remove the tea bag, squeezing out the last of the liquid into the rest of the tea. Leave to cool at least ten minutes.
Pour the prepared tea and milk into a blender. Add the ice cream. Blitz at the strongest setting for 30 seconds; lower speed and blend an additional 20. Pour into a glass.
If you’re having this for afternoon tea, it’s absolutely lovely paired with plain vanilla cupcakes, Madeira cake, or crisp lady fingers.
Incidentally… 3:15 PM tea is available at Cash and Carry and at the Makati Supermarket. I daresay you could also find it at groceries in Chinatown. Overseas, you can check it out online via Amazon.com.