Archive for January, 2011

Win A Mason Cash Romantic Heart Mixing Bowl!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Mason Cash Romantic Hearts Mixing Bowl

Win A Mason Cash Mixing Bowl!

How would you like to win a Mason Cash Romantic Heart Mixing Bowl from Pacific Merchants this Valentine’s Day?

How To Enter:

Winning is EASY! Just head on over to our Mason Cash Facebook Fan Page, become a fan, and then write on our wall! Tell us who your “sweetie” is (mom, boyfriend, brother, dog, etc.) and what you would use this Mason Cash Mixing Bowl to make for them.

Want to get creative in your entry and post a video or picture telling us about your sweetie and what you want to make for them? Feel free! On February 7th, we’ll pick a winner, and they’ll receive our Mason Cash Romantic Heart Mixing Bowl for free, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Contest Rules:

Sorry, employees of Pacific Merchants or their family members are not eligible to win (we’ve got to keep things fair), and there is only one entry per person for this contest. This prize cannot be redeemed for cash or substituted for any other items. Sorry, but retailers of Pacific Merchants or Mason Cash products are not eligible.

Meet our Friend Brown Betty

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Considered by most tea lovers (both experts and novices alike) to be the finest shaped teapot in the world, the Brown Betty teapot has been long loved for its useful, well-planned shape and strong, highly durable construction.

The History of Brown Betty Teapots

In 1695, the Stoke-on-Trent region of Britain was found to have superior red-clay dirt, perfect for making stoneware in all types of shapes. It was this area that would give us the now-iconic Brown Betty Teapot, as well as Spode dinnerware, all considered “stoke pottery.” Additionally, Queen Victoria herself was a fan of the Brown Betty design, and thus helped increase its popularity throughout England.

The Benefits of the Brown Betty Shape

Price & Kensington's Brown Betty Style Teapot

Although Stoke teapots were originally shaped more like a coffee pot, stoke potters eventually began to change the shape. Ultimately, the modification of the design of stoke teapots resulted in what we now know as the Brown Betty teapot. The bulbous design of the main chamber is said to be perfect for allowing tea leaves (or tea bags, if you will) the best opportunity to swirl about the water, resulting in a more full tea flavor with less bitterness- what many consider the perfect cup of tea.

Pacific Merchants’ Brown Betty style Teapots

Pacific Merchants is thrilled to be the official United States importer of Price & Kensington, a line of Stoke pottery with over 100 years of history. Price & Kensington’s Brown Betty style teapots are fun and festive, as well as durably constructed. Pacific Merchants offers multiple colors of Brown Betty-inspired teapots, as well as teapot sets that include our color-coordinated tea mugs and tea caddies.

Learn About Scones With Pacific Merchants

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

January is National Hot Tea Month, and while there’s plenty to be said about tea on its own, we thought that now would be the perfect time to explore tea’s favorite sidekick: scones.

The Origin of the Scone

According to many reputable sources, scones most likely originated from Scotland. Made from the best white flour, scones began in a large round shape, as opposed to the triangular shape that many are formed in today. When it became time to serve the scone, it was sliced up in to quarters to be served to tea guests. There are three potential origins for the word “scone”: the Dutch, schoonbrot, and the German, sconbrot, both meaning “fine bread,” or the Gaelic, sgon, which means “large mouthful”.

Bake Your own Scones

Pacific Merchants’ own Mason Cash line has their own brand of scone mix! Available exclusively on our website, this scone mix is easy to use and delicious, and the perfect thing to make in our Mason Cash mixing bowls. We have three varieties available: original scone mix, currant scone mix, and cranberry orange scone mix, all of which are very popular.

Have A Spot of Tea with Price & Kensington

When your scones are finished baking, make sure you have your Price & Kensington tea set ready to go! Available in two-cup and four-cup sizes, our tea sets come securely packaged. Our two person tea set includes a 16 ounce tea pot, two 10-ounce mugs and two tea caddies, while our four person tea set includes a 40 ounce tea pot, four tea mugs and four tea caddies. For more information on our Mason Cash scone mix or our Price & Kensington line of tea accessories, head over to pacificmerchants.com

It’s Never too Early to Plan for Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Mason Cash Romantic Hearts Mixing Bowl

Here at Pacific Merchants, we’re a bit like school children on Valentine’s Day. We bring in lots of sweet little goodies like candy, cookies, and cupcakes, as well as thoughtful “little something” gifts and cards. It’s hard not to like a holiday that involves so much sugar when you have a sweet tooth. Thankfully, we recognize that Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes planning what you’ll do for your sweetie in honor of Valentine’s day can simply fall by the wayside since many people experience hectic schedules in the beginning of the year. If you’re a gentleman hoping to do something a little different for your Valentine this year, check out these great Valentine’s Day gift ideas from Pacific Merchants!

Mason Cash Romantic Hearts Mixing Bowl

Your Valentine will be able to add a little extra love to their recipes with this Mason Cash Romantic Heart Mixing Bowl. Available in both cream and pink, this mixing bowl measures 11.5″ wide by 5.5″ deep and holds 5.25 quarts. These mixing bowls feature a lip with basketweave detail, as well as raised hearts around the outside of the bowl. Anyone who enjoys cooking and baking would be happy to find this on their counter this February 14th!

Price & Kensington Red Tea Sets

If your sweetie likes tea, be sure and take a peek at our Price & Kensington five piece red tea set. Available in the perfect “heart red” color, this tea set includes one two-cup tea pot, two red tea pot shaped tea caddies (the perfect place to rest a tea bag), and two red tea (or coffee) mugs. If you’d rather get a larger tea set, we also have our nine piece red tea set available, which includes one six cup red tea pot, four red tea mugs, and four red tea pot shaped tea caddies.

Pacific Merchants Gift Certificates

Have a honey who likes to cook, but not so sure exactly what to get them? Try one of our gift certificates! Pacific Merchants Gift Certificates are available in whatever denomination you choose, and can be redeemed for whatever your Valentine’s heart desires, whether it be from our Mason Cash line, some of our Acaciaware, or any of our other outstanding products. A little work on your part, and a lot of thought on ours, and your Valentine’s Day will be hassel-free!

Celebrate National Hot Tea Month With Pacific Merchants!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Price & Kensington Teapot Set

Enjoy Hot Tea with Price & Kensington and Pacific Merchants

Happy National Hot Tea Month!

January is the Tea Association of the United States’ National Hot Tea Month. Lucky for us we just happen to be experiencing quite a cold snap, which may just cause more Americans to stop and take notice of this national celebration. Obviously, we’re big fans of tea around here at Pacific Merchants (take a look at our Price & Kensington line of tea pots, tea mugs, and tea caddies if you don’t believe us), but we stumbled upon some pretty encouraging health facts that make us want to drink even more.

Tea and Health

Both the green and black varieties of tea are believed to play an important role in fostering good health in those who regularly consume it. Not only does tea promote good cardiovascular health, but has also been found in many studies to have a positive relation to the instance of cancer in many cases. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, tea has also been found to positively impact the function of the immune system as well as incidence of obesity.

Tea and Cardiovascular Health

In a Dutch study, researchers found that participants who drank between one and two cups of Black Tea per day were at a 46% lower risk for aortic artheriosclerosis which is often a major indicator of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, subjects who drank four or more cups of Black Tea per day were at an average of 69% less risk.

Tea and Cancer

A study conducted by the University of Arizona found that participants who drank iced black tea with citrus were 42% less likely to develop skin cancer. Studies have found that individuals who drink hot black tea are at a lower risk of developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).

Tea and the Immune System

Recently, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, along with Harvard University, discovered that L-theanine, which is found in tea, is a key component in helping the body fight bacteria, fungi, infections, and viruses. The study supports the idea that drinking black tea helps the human body fight microbial infection.

Tea and Obesity

If your New Year’s Resolution involves losing weight and gaining overall health, you’re in luck. Research suggests that green tea extract helps increase the expenditure of energy and oxidation of fat in healthy men over a 24 hour period. Furthermore, three months of consumption of green tea extract by moderately obese individuals showed a 4.6% decrease in body weight as well as an average loss of 4.48 inches in the circumference of the waist.

Enjoy Hot Tea This Month!

Whether you drink tea for its flavor or more for its potential health benefits, we hope you’ll join us in enjoying a cup of hot tea this month. Black, Green, Oolong, or White, you can’t go wrong when hot tea is in your cup!

Find Price & Kensington on One Kings Lane

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

We’re excited to announce that our Price & Kensington tea line is going to be featured in a sale on OneKingsLane.com. Beginning this Sunday, January 9th, One Kings Lane members will be able to shop an exclusive selection of Pacific Merchants’ Price & Kensington teapot gift sets at competitive prices.

Price & Kensington's red two-cup tea pot

Price & Kensington Tea-For-Ones on sale

Pacific Merchants has selected some of our favorites from our Price & Kensington collection for this One Kings Lane event, including our tea-for-ones. Tea-for-Ones are part tea cup, part tea pot, just the right size for a morning “spot of tea.” Whimsically decorated, our tea-for-ones are the perfect “little something” gift for teachers, secretaries and coworkers and include the high standard of quality that Price & Kensington has been known for for over 100 years.

Buy Price & Kensington Tea Sets

Also available in this exclusive One Kings Lane sale are our three piece, five piece and nine piece Price & Kensington tea sets. Our three piece tea set includes a six cup tea pot as well as a creamer and sugar bowl. Three piece Price & Kensington sets are available in black and white. Our five piece tea sets include a two cup tea pot, two tea caddies and two tea mugs while the nine piece tea set includes a six cup tea pot, four tea caddies and four tea mugs. Both the five piece and nine piece Price & Kensington tea sets are available in orange, yellow, red, blue, green and cobalt.

Shop One Kings Lane January 9-11

The Price & Kensington One Kings Lane sale starts Sunday, January 9th at 8 a.m. pacific (11 a.m. eastern) and continues until January 11th at 8 a.m. pacific. In order to take advantage of this exclusive sale, shoppers must register to become members of One Kings Lane- to complete the free registration click here. We hope you’ll join us and shop this wonderful Price & Kensington event!

Bake Gigi’s ‘Tarte Aux Pommes de ma Maman’

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Tarte Aux Pommes de ma Maman

If you’ve ever called our offices and been greeted by a happy French accent, you’ve ‘met’ Gigi, on of our Account Executives. Originally from Paris and Dijon, France (respectively), Gigi has been with us since early 2010.

Since January is National Apple Month, Gigi has supplied us with her recipe for “Tarte Aux Pommes de ma Maman,” or “Mum’s Apple Tart.” “It’s super easy to make and it’s so delicious,” she said. “I grew up with it; my mum would bake it for me on Sundays or if I would get a good grade on my mathematics test.” We hope you enjoy this tarte as much as Gigi and her family do!

For the Dough:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup of Flour
  • ½ of cup of Butter (and 2 extra tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sugar
  • 1 Egg

Directions:

  • Mix Flour with Butter and Sugar, until it looks like bread crumbs (we recommend using our Mason Cash Size 18 Mixing Bowl-currently on sale!)
  • Add Egg, mix with a fork
  • Mix with your hands to form a dough
  • Roll it, pierce holes all over it with a fork
  • Sprinkle another 2 tablespoon of Sugar

For the Tarte:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Golden Apples
  • 1 cup of Cream

Directions:

  • Cut and peel Apples, slice them in thin quarters
  • Lie them in a circle on the dough
  • Add cream, be careful NOT to overflow (can be less than a cup)
  • Add I small tablespoon of butter on the top of it (French people LOVE butter!)

Bake at 350, between 35 and 40 minutes (depending on your oven) until the tarte is golden brown, as seen in the above picture.

VOILA!

The Intricacies of British Tea Time

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Price & Kensington's Cobalt Teapot

In honor of January, America’s “National Hot Tea Month,” we at Pacific Merchants would like to take an opportunity to educate our readers with a little history lesson centered around the background of England’s love affair with “tea time.”

Before the British began taking ‘tea’ in the afternoon, they really had only two meals daily- breakfast and a very heavy dinner. While we in America often refer to an afternoon teatime as “high tea,” that is actually an incorrect usage of the term. High tea, also known as “meat tea,” is actually dinner. An afternoon tea is widely known as “low tea,” due to the fact that it is often served in a sitting room, around low tables (tables that most people would call coffee tables).

Tea can be served in three different sizes- the lightest meal being “cream tea,” which includes tea and scones, “light tea,” which offers just a little more with tea, scones, and sweets, and “full tea,” which is essentially an entire meal and includes tea, savories (little sandwiches or appetizers), scones, and sweets.

A few historical events contributed largely to the development of tea culture within England. First, in 1600, Queen Elizabeth the First granted permission to the John Company to develop trade routes with India, the Far East, and Asia. Although tea trade didn’t become very large until 1670, it was the development of these trade routes that eventually helped build up England’s consumption of tea.

Secondly, in 1662 King Charles the II married Infanta Catherine de Braganza. While most modern people may not know this, Catherine came with the largest dowry on record, giving King Charles (and England) posession of Tangiers, Morocco, and Bombay, as well as use of all Portuguese ports worldwide. Use of the Portuguese ports opened up England’s trading abilities unlike ever before.

It also didn’t hurt that both Charles and Catherine were tea lovers; bringing this “foreign” tradition to England had a direct effect on the upper classes, as everyone strived to be as much like royalty as possible.

When Queen Anne chose tea as her breakfast accompaniment (rather than ale), the public took notice, again causing interest in tea to skyrocket. The creation of an afternoon tea time, however, would be credited to one of Queen Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope. Stanhope, the Duchess of Bedford, began taking tea in the afternoon (around four o’clock) as she had experienced a “sinking feeling” in her stomach. Initially, she had her servants sneak a pot of tea along with small amounts of food to her, but over time, she began to invite friends to partake in this very “European” approach to tea.

Over time, this afternoon tea time would become a well-loved custom, one that still stands to this date with many Brits. Pacific Merchants’ Price & Kensington line of Tea Pots, tea (and coffee) mugs and cups, and other tea accessories are the perfect addition to any tea time- morning or afternoon. Stop by our e-store and check it out for yourself!