02 November 2009

November Steenbergs Newsletter

November Steenbergs Newsletter

Steenbergs is here to help with all the Christmas baking

Traditionally a family time of year and it's not just Christmas, it's the time of year where everyone seems to be baking. This year we've pulled together lots of the essential baking ingredients to help you as well as our spice and tea boxes which make wonderful gifts. One person described opening up one of our boxes with the leaflet as just  opening up an "Aladdin's cave of spices."  We've all the usual news and information as well as an apology and an offer to make amends. Happy November and Guy Fawkes night enjoy the preparations for the end of the year...

Steenbergs tea gets a colour make over

Steenbergs has been selling tea since 2006 - we've always specialised in organic and Fairtrade tea but we decided to go colourful for 2009! We're concentrating on our blended teas, many of them using spices. We've also switched the majority of our chai teas to be Fairtrade as well as organic. The new look tea comes in organic Fairtrade black chai (formerly our sweet chai); the seasonal - organic Fairtrade Christmas tea ; organic Fairtrade green chai tea and organic red chai (using redbush as the base tea). The chais or spiced teas are very warming and a great way to banish winter blues. Drink the black, red  or Christmas tea with or without milk or/and sugar whilst the green chai works well without milk but with or without sugar to taste. Have fun and let us know which is your favourite.

Other teas in this new livery are our popular organic Fairtrade English breakfast tea; organic Fairtrade Earl Grey tea and organic green tea with peppermint (formerly Moroccan mint tea). When the Steenberg house runs out of  Steenbergs English breakfast life the morning never quite starts properly until we've limped into the office - to begin again. Steenbergs Earl Grey tea is a delicious light tea which we particularly like in the afternoon - weak and black whilst Steenbergs green tea with peppermint is an all day winner. Drink our green tea with peppermint on its own or with a little sugar or honey. It works well as settler as well as making a delicious all day round drink.

Other new teas in the new livery include our organic white tea - bai mu dan or pai mu tan depending on your translation from Chinese - very cleansing and easy to drink all day through, can be an acquired taste; organic jasmine tea - always a winner in terms of calming and relaxing; and organic redbush tea - particularly popular as no caffeine and can be drunk very much as a black tea substitute, our loose leaf redbush tea is naturally sweet.

Christmas and Steenbergs

Spices have long been associated with Christmas in terms of baking, the Christmas kitchen and presents. This year we have pulled together much of the essential items to help you with the baking and created the Steenbergs Christmas baking shop, we've also pulled together some ideas for Christmas drinks and Christmas presents.

All our boxes make excellent presents for cooks of all abilities and interests - the choice is wide it's just choosing which one for which person - whether it's the Thai box for the globe trotter or the Christmas box, which is a good all round box, or the mini Fairtrade spices box or the storecupboard minis or the Smoke and spice box for the BBQ / grill or bake expert. For advice or help with choosing the right box for individuals please don't hesitate to contact us. We'll even wrap them up for you - don't forget to let us have a message if you are sending it onto a different address. This year we have revised all our tea boxes to go with the new look tea - so again there's something for all tastes and interests.

One of the simplest - if a little time consuming - Christmas spicy things has to be making a pomander - this traditional orange studded with cloves and then "set" with orris root makes a great traditional addition to the house. Somehow in our house it almost symbolises the start of the Christmas preparations almost as much as making Christmas cake!

What's new with Steenbergs

Since the last newsletter we've been at Olympia at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair. It literally finishes the day before school's back so we are always the bleary eyed parents who stagger into school the first day to be greeted by lists and questions! (We're just trying to get through the day.) The Fair is always a good one in terms of meeting retailers who stock or might stock our products and passing on new products and sharing our enthusiasm - hopefully and news about Steenbergs.

 This year we were showcasing our new home bakery range, our new look tea range and our new look premium range - more about this shortly. All of which seemed to go down very well. We have, as always, added to our stockists list and with the home bakery range and mulled wine sachets going through distributors there should be some Steenbergs products available near you.

We've also added additional Steenbergs products to the range including two new single Estate peppers - Tasmanian Mountain pepper - which is roughly 10 times hotter than normal pepper and Madagascan wild pepper - for more information on all our peppers and these two new ones look at our recent entry on the blog. Two new flavoured salts have also just been added - porcini salt and truffle salt - both are intense flavours and will add a wonderful flavour to your cooking. Flowers also seem to be featuring at Steenbergs with Cornflowers, Marigold flowers, Jasmine flowers and orange blossom featuring on the list for the first time - you can use all of them in your recipes and meals - work well in salads and added at the end of meals so that you don't lose the glorious colours of the flowers.

Organic Fairtrade Mulling wine spices

We now offer organic Fairtrade mulling wine spices in sachets! If sachets aren't for you we also offer organic Fairtrade mulling wine spices loose in a jar and pre-blended into an organic Fairtrade mulling wine sugar . The joy of the sugar is that it is very easy to simply make a glass of mulled wine or gluwein.

We even offer a luxury version with orange for extra flavour. So however you like to create your perfect mulled wine - we've got it covered, we even sell the individual spices to allow you to create your own individual recipe if so desired.

Our tips for making this drink include adding orange juice to the wine - as opposed to diluting it with water - and the odd sliced orange always adds to the ambience and flavour if you are entertaining.

The sachets are going to be available via Suma and Green City distributors as well as ourselves so you should see them around and about, as well as in our stockists and  direct.

Postal strikes

Normally many of our parcels go by post, however, during the postal strike we have made alternative arrangements with courier companies. We won't send anything by post the day before or the day of a postal strike. Ones sent previously should be fine as the majority go by tracked post which we understand is being given a priority by the Post Office. We will continue to monitor the situation and make arrangements and improvements as required. So it is even more important to leave instructions for deliveries if you are going to be out and not available for signature. Don't forget that we can send your parcel to work address or leave it in a safe place, if you've left us instructions to do so.

New products

Once again there's lots of new things at Steenbergs online shop. Getting ready for stir up weekend and Christmas baking we've got in organic mixed peel and organic glace cherries . Also new is organic Agave syrup and organic tahini. D2W products also seem eminently sensible and their biodegradable food and freezer bags join the ranks of their biodegradable bin bags.

Dried mushrooms - chanterelle, porcini and shiitake are now  available. And to help you with winter puddings we also now stock natural custard powder, as well as vegetarian jellies. If you are making your own - don't forget our vanilla extract and/or vanilla pods they are ideal for this.

We seem to have gone rose mad  - it must be the end of summer in recent weeks and new additions to the toiletries include the Duchy original rose and mandarin shower wash, and the Weleda rejuvenating wild rose range. All of these have that lovely rose fragrance that somehow just brightens up your day.

Staff choice

The second in our irregular series of staff choices of our products. This time features Lucy, who has been with the company pretty well since it began.

Favourite Steenbergs product: Green tea with peppermint.

This is a brilliant tea and has been very popular with my friends who always ask for it instead of a coffee after a meal.

Favourite non Steenbergs product: Country products Bombay mix.

This is very moreish I have had to restrict myself to a bag a week or there would be no stock left for our customers.

Environmental tip: My husband and I couldn’t understand why our electricity bills were so high, we bought a gadget that tells you how much electricity you are using at any one time and we found out that someone had left our immersion heater on. Whoops. I think we managed to save ourselves £50 since we bought it.

Apology and offer

First of all an unreserved apology. The offer in the newsletter wasn't properly set up. The mistake was noticed quickly and rectified and we have been through all those who placed an order using the code and refunded the people who were charged the incorrect amount. Some of the invoices are incorrect but the amount charged through your credit/debit cards was correct. Anyone who has any concerns about this should contact us at enquiries@steenbergs.co.uk

However, we know that some of you tried and failed so for those in particular we apologise profusely. We extended the offer for a further few days and we are offering by way of peace offering a free box of Peace Tea to anyone who orders up until 30th November 2009 using the offer code FREE TEA.

Stockists and blog update

New stockists include Jenners Food Hall, Edinburgh, now run by Valvona and Corolla. For a full list of your nearest stockists, click here and tap in your postcode. Whilst every effort is made to keep this list up to date we can only try our best. Our baking range and mulling wine also goes through distributors so we don't always know the end shop.

Blogs recent blogs have included making our Christmas cake, delivery of our organic Fairtrade mulled wine spices, unusual peppers, Diwali, Kulfi, how our organic audit went (we passed) and Afghanistan. It's wide ranging and we love to hear back from you via comments or suggestions of topics you'd like us to cover from recipes to spices to organic and Fairtrade issues.