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Archives for the Month of February, 2010

Congratulations to Wayne Gretzky On the Honor of Lighting the 2010 Winter Olympic Flame!

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On behalf of my family and all of the employees at Bigelow Tea, I’d like to express our warmest congratulations to Wayne Gretzky on the honor of lighting the 2010 Winter Olympic Flame in Vancouver, B.C.

We are proud of Wayne as a representative of the Bigelow brand and his lifelong accomplishments in hockey. He is a true ambassador in so many aspects of his life and we are honored to call him a good friend!

Cindi Bigelow, President

A Much Needed Vacation!

I’m going skiing for a week and I can’t wait! The last three weeks  have been non-stop, morning noon and night, its all good stuff but takes tons of energy. I’m looking forward to skiing, hanging out and some good conversation!

See you in a week,

Cindi

Make Your Valentine a Home-made Chocolate Treat

Sometimes it’s difficult to think of an original gift idea for Valentine’s Day, but we at Bigelow Tea have a wonderful and tasty solution.  Across the country, people exchange candy and flowers, but more often than not, its store bought.  Why not add that special touch to your present by giving your special valentine something home-made?

browniesChewy Chocolate Mint Brownies

Bigelow Tea has some excellent  recipes, and we think our Chewy Chocolate Mint Brownies are just perfect for Valentine’s Day!  Made with our Plantation Mint Tea (or Mint Medley Herbal Tea for those who want to use caffeine free tea) this is a great way to say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Chewy Chocolate Mint Brownies

Ingredients:

5 Bigelow® Plantation Mint Tea Bags (or Mint Medley Herb Tea)
½ cup water
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
9×13 inch baking pan, greased and floured

Yield: Yields one 9″ x 13″ pan.

Instructions:

These chewy brownies are packed with intense chocolate and mint flavor, thanks to Bigelow® Plantation MintTM tea. If you prefer a caffeine-free tea alternative, substitute the same amount of Mint Medley® herb tea.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set the rack on the middle setting.
Place tea bags in ½ cup of hot water. Set aside to cool, and then remove tea bags, squeezing out liquid from bags.

Meanwhile, place 1 ¼ cups of the chocolate chips and butter in a metal bowl. Set over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water, to create a double-boiler. Heat on low and let chocolate and butter melt, stirring frequently.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and sugars until well blended. Add the cooled tea mixture and whisk to combine. Add a few tablespoons of the melted chocolate/butter combination to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Add the remaining chocolate and incorporate. Lastly, add the flour and remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips, mixing until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake approximately 25 minutes. Center will feel firm but still moist. Bake 5-10 minutes longer for a drier brownie. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into 20 squares.

If you are too busy to make brownies for this special day, then treat yourself and your Valentine to our special Valentine Day teas.  Enjoy!

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White Chocolate Kisses Valentine Tea & Sweetheart Cinnamon Valentine Herb Tea


The Heroes in the Room

Greg Dancho, Cindi Bigelow, and Terry O’Connor

As I sit watching this nor’easter develop in front of me (expecting 15 inches of snow!), I am reflecting back on this past Saturday night. I was blessed to be honored by the Cardinal Shehan Center (a center in Bridgeport that services the children in the area with sports and after school activities) at this year’s Red Ribbon Ball. Proceeds from the evening also went to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.

It was close to 300 people at a black tie affair that I will never forget. I will be honest, when the director, Terry O’Connor, asked me to accept the award this year for my community work, I was not comfortable. I was sure (and am sure ) there are many people out there that do so much more than I do. Of course Terry would hear none of that so I humbly agreed to be the 2010 recipient.

As the evening got closer, my nerves were working on overtime.  What would I say, would I know many people at the event, what was the evening going to be like? I had been to many a lovely affair like this but never on the receiving side. When I got there, I was overwhelmed!  People came up to me and said the most amazing things. I really wasn’t sure what to say back except thank you.

I know I have tried to give back to my community for the last 25 years but the things people knew  I had done blew me away. They referenced event after event that I had been involved in, and speech after speech that I had given to numerous organizations in town. They talked about so many of the things that I had participated in over the years, and they told me how it had impacted them personally. They shared with me moving experiences they had gone through while giving back….my eyes must have been as wide as saucers. I  couldn’t believe what I was hearing….each comment or story was sweeter than the next.

About 3/4 of the way through the evening, it was time for me to get up and address the audience. I hadn’t even gotten out of my seat, and the room was on their feet applauding. Oh my Lord….the emotion that I was filled with is really hard to share.

When I finished my “little talk” I felt a great sense of relief.  I was pleased with how it went, I could see the heads nodding in agreement, I could hear the mumbles of affirmation at what I was saying and I could see in their eyes they were in a beautiful place.

Cindi Bigelow with parents Eunice and David C. Bigelow

I felt it was my job to thank them for all they had done for our community. To acknowledge that not one person has to do it all, not one person has to “move a mountain” but that together in this room, every little step we take works collectively to make our community better.

I shared one small step after another, recounting  many of the things I knew people in that room had done. I acknowledged person after person for the fine work they had performed while giving back….and I finished by saying that none of us are perfect and maybe each act we do won’t always have the positive impact we want it to, but the point is to never stop trying.

That is our job, to get up each day and just try again. Just trying to do your best is all anyone can ask and that is something that each person in the room should be proud of since, in fact, it is what they were already doing each day!

When I finished, I was glad I had accepted the award because I knew when I sat down, everyone felt good about themselves and what they had done. The night was not only for me, it was for all 300 people in attendance. They are the real hero’s, and I was honored to be among them!

Cindi Bigelow

Bigelow Tea Celebrates the Year of the Tiger! – February 14, 2010

Image Courtesy of Visitourchina.com

Image Courtesy of Visitourchina.com

Bigelow Tea is delighted to help usher in the Chinese New Year, which this year commences with the New Moon on February14th, and ends with the Full Moon, fifteen days later.  We love celebrations! And, in Chinese culture, this is the most festive of holidays.

The dates of Chinese New Year, and other traditional Chinese holidays, are determined by the lunar calendar which is based on the phases of the moon. Since the moon has a shorter cycle than the sun, Chinese New Year never falls on the same day, although it typically takes place somewhere between January 21st and February 20th. Each Chinese New Year is symbolized by a zodiac animal; we are quickly approaching the Year of the Tiger!

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Image Courtesy of Chinapictures.org

As with any major holiday, there’s a lot of preparation that takes place before the New Year. According to Chinese tradition, New Year’s Eve and Day are celebrated with family gatherings as a time of reunion and thanks, and paying tribute to family.

This communal New Year’s Eve feast, known as “surrounding the stove” or “weilu,” symbolizes family unity and is arranged in honor of both present and departed generations. Dishes include traditional Chinese New Year’s delicacies like dumplings, fish, spring rolls and Nian Gao (Glutinous Rice Cake) and – of course – plenty of tea!  Extravagant decorations add a burst of color to the festivities, which conclude with a spectacular finale known as the Festival of the Lanterns.

As we drink some smooth Bigelow® Chinese Oolong Tea in honor of Chinese New Year, we hope that the Year of the Tiger will bring many blessings, much joy and good health to all!

Cheers!  

(gān bēi, “dry glass”)!


U.S. Champion Speed Skater and Downhill Skier Stay Olympic-Ready with Tea!

Image of Catherine Taney-Norman Courtesy of pics.wsj.com

Image of Catherine Taney-Norman Courtesy of pics.wsj.com

We are so excited at Bigelow Tea about the 2010 Winter Olympics! While we don’t like playing favorites, once we found out that speed skater Catherine Raney-Norman and downhill skier Julia Mancuso are devoted tea-drinkers, we knew we would be keeping a closer eye on them.

Raney-Norman is already a three-time Olympian who debuted in 1998 at the Nagano Olympics at the age of seventeen. She was born in the Midwest but now lives in the snowy mountains of Utah with her husband.

Image of Julia Mancuso Courtesy of  rizzosports.com

Image of Julia Mancuso Courtesy of rizzosports.com

On a recent trip home she noted on her web site that she was sure to pick up some of her favorite beverage, cinnamon tea! She’s certainly not alone in her preference for the spicy beverage!

Gold Medal winning downhill skier Julia Mancuso loves to travel (when she’s not busy climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for humanitarian organizations). And being a true tea fan, she also enjoys her tea abroad!  She spent some time in London over the holidays and couldn’t pass up the opportunity for some traditional tea time:

It was a great day…we went to an old estate to have afternoon tea!

My favorite thing to do in England!

Maybe these Olympians know that a cup of tea will chase away the winter blues…but wait, maybe speed skaters and downhill skiers don’t get  the winter blues, especially in an Olympic year?!

Terry Francona, Manager of the Red Sox, Comes for a Bigelow Tea Visit!

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Had somewhat of a surprise visit yesterday from Terry Francona, the manager of the Red Sox. We have been working with Terry for the last several years and I have been blessed to be with him a few times. This time I was able to spend a couple hours with him at our company. He got the full tour of our plant, met all our employees, saw our manufacturing process and our blending process…he was so excited to learn how to make a teabag! He actually is a little bit of an “operations geek.” He watches programs on manufacturing and finds it fascinating (who knew!).

But besides seeing how we operate, he was so gracious and generous with his time in chatting with our employees. Our employees were smiling from ear to ear as he signed photos, notes, whatever as well as stood for pictures with anyone that wanted one (which was just about everyone!). He never gave me the feeling “he had to go” even though he was driving down to Spring Training when he left our company. He is a class act in every sense.

Yes, the Bigelow family is very fortunate in our partnerships. We could have not have found a better spokesman for our company, not only does he love our green tea but as everyone knows he is a true gentleman. A professional, a gentleman, a huge heart and a fantastic manager….we are blessed to call him part of our family!

Cindi Bigelow

Happy Birthday Ruth Campbell Bigelow!

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Special day for the Bigelow Tea company…..114 years ago Ruth Campbell Bigelow was born on this day in Providence RI! Happy Birthday Grandma….thanks for all you did for all of us here at Bigelow!

Cindi Bigelow

Bigelow Tea’s Teabags and Wrappers Are Much More Than Just Packaging!

Believe it! Your Bigelow Tea teabags and the wrappers that envelop them have a significant impact on the aroma and taste of the tea you drink! While many people think wrappers and teabags are simply forms of packaging, at Bigelow Tea the bag and the foil wrapper are carefully crafted components, integral to the overall tea-drinking experience.

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When tea lovers got together with Cindi Bigelow for a Tea Social in New York City in January, Cindi talked to her special tea guests about the often-overlooked teabag and its wrapper. Stephanie from The Tea Scoop was at the event, and afterward she shared a fantastic summary of Cindi’s lesson on her blog. Check it out!

As part of the event, participants learned that wrappers (or barriers) are rated from 0 to 10, with a 10 keeping the teabags freshest. Bigelow Tea wrappers are rated a 10. Simply opening the wrapper of a Bigelow Tea bag and enjoying the aroma of what’s inside gives consumers an idea of how important a wrapper can be. As Stephanie at the Tea Scoop happily noted:

“When I sniffed Bigelow, I found the strength of the aroma startling.”

Cindi also asked the guests to tear open teabags and see what’s inside. Some teas contain filler: tea dust, stems, and “prills” of flavoring and small leaves. Bigelow Tea, however, contains tea leaves, real ingredients (like orange rind in Constant Comment) and spices—never dust or prills. As Stephanie at The Tea Scoop put it, “I was completely blown away by the difference.”  Check out Cindi’s demonstration in this video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-T2XsjMNmc[/youtube]

Try this at home and see; smell and taste the difference a premium tea bag and wrapper makes. At Bigelow Tea, we take the quality of our ingredients and materials seriously, so we can provide the best tea-drinking experience possible!


Bigelow Tea Celebrates Black History Month

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound
to the starless midnight of racism and war,
that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality….
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Image Courtesy of Awarenessdates.com

We are a nation of dreamers, fuelled by inspirational leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., who planted the seeds of Hope in our hearts and minds when he addressed all people – black, white and every shade in between – with his memorable “I have a dream” speech in 1963. We have come a long way since then.

Black History Month, commemorated in the United States and Canada each February, promotes awareness of the history of African Americans, honoring those outstanding men and women prominent in the areas of science, politics, education and the arts, as well as highlighting the socio-economic and racial issues still prevalent today.

Black History Month was first established in 1926 by historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a son of former slaves who spent his childhood working in Kentucky coal mines. At age 20, he enrolled in high school, later earning a PhD from Harvard.  Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to ensuring the incorporation of African Americans  into the nation’s history.  Black History Month became the extended version of Negro History Week, celebrating the recognition of a nationwide community of African American men and women.

Please join Bigelow Tea in celebrating Black History Month, 2010!

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise.  I rise.  I rise.”

~ Maya Angelou

(from Still I Rise)