For many of us, food triggers an equal sensation and stimulation in the brain (memories and emotions), as it does in the mouth (think taste bud party). It's this sensation that companies like Dove chocolates, for example, use in adverts to exploit our determination to stick to that New Year's Resolution. (Remember those?). But more specifically, remember this? Dove Moments. One google search alerted me to this: "Chocolate won't let you down. Love, Dove".
After studying journalism in college, I developed an aversion to these types of ad campaigns. The ones that target our emotional connection to consume more; you deserve this moment, buy me!
Yet despite this aversion, when entering the atmospheric city of Granada, in the heart of Andalusian Spain, this exact campaign crumbled my reserve, especially when speaking of tea. The tie in was even more swoon-worthy, the aromas of the city's greatest treasure, the Alhambra. Completed in 1391, it's a testament of the Moors' stay in Spain, but also of their sense of art and architecture. A sense that is hardly matched elsewhere in Europe. It's here also that this imaginative empire ended, too. As a preface to the Spanish Inquisition, the Prince of this Muslum empire fled on request from Isabella I and Ferndinand II and with him the Islamic grip on Iberia soon ended.
The remaining evidence of the Moors and Islamic Spain still echoes in the city and gives Granada an irresistible energy, especially if you have a view of the palace with the snowcapped Sierra Nevada towering behind it. It's here that the blend of aromatic teas, with the name Scents of the Alhambra, that I lose any idea of "willpower". Whatever that may be. I want to conjure up the sense of history and the magic of this place for days and, if I'm lucky, weeks to come.
You can find dozens of tea blends with names like Scents of the Alhambra in the market stalls scattered around Granada's grand cathedral (Ferdinand and Isabella made their Catholic mark) in the city center or in any of the many tea shops scattered around the city.