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Give it a Chai

It’s time for a post in exultation of chai.

It’s a drink that can warm your belly on the coldest winter day, yet also provide just the right sweet and spicy pick-me-up in the summer. Infused into ice cream, it’s a winner.

The word “chai” or a similar variant just means “tea” in many Eurasian languages. In Chinese, it’s “cha,” in Persian it’s “chay.” and in Hindi it’s “chai.” So when you say “chai tea,” you’re being a bit repetitive.

In the world of chai, you often hear about “masala chai,” which literally means “mixed-tea.” Originating in India, it traditionally refers to a black tea brewed with a mix of spices, often including: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper. Often, the brewing happens directly in the milk. Add some sweetener afterward, and you’re good to go.

The spices in chai are considered “warming” spices, and they’re that type that you might associate with winter holiday cooking, gingerbread. This flavor is a natural for winter deliciousness, yet there’s something about the canvas of cold cream that actually makes this flavor great year-round.

We use a chai blend from Summit Spice and Tea, our local purveyor of high-quality looseleaf tea, spices, sauces, chocolates, chutneys, vinegars, oils and more. If you’re looking to get hooked on looseleaf tea, just pop in their tasting room and try a cup (after sniffing a bunch) brewed to perfection.

Chai ice cream alone is great slapped between two cookies, plopped in coffee/espresso, or scooped alongside pie. For ice cream on its own, we like adding toasted garam masala almonds.

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