Pittsburgh is a diverse city with a vast array of international flavor. There is an endless supply of exotic and hard to find items that you would be hard pressed to find in many other cities. Growing up in a small southern town makes me truly appreciate the convenience of buying special ingredients for unique culinary concoctions locally. You would never find marzipan cake, oblaten lebkuchen, Christmas berry preserves or sugar mice in any store within a 50 mile radius of where I grew up.
I became a tea afficionado after moving to Pittsburgh which led me to discover Maragret’s Fine Imports in Squirrel Hill. You will often see a table set up outside their store front with sale items and seasonal fresh produce. Every trip to this store is a different and delightful experience. You will find the most exquisite loose teas along with an extremely knowledgeable staff. The holidays are a great time to introduce someone you care about to the unexpected joys in life that they may have overlooked. There is nothing better than a perfectly brewed cup of Golden Pu-erh Five Year Old Rare tea. There is such a huge selection that you are bound to find a blend to satisfy the most finicky of palettes and are sure to convert even the most die hard coffee drinkers to an occasional cuppa.
While the tea is the speciality, the German and British holiday sweets are a true treasure that should not be overlooked. The christoeleen and wicklein nuernberger allerlei are great with any hot drink and the chocolate Santas make great stocking stuffers. It would be a great surprise for anyone with a German background and a heartwarming treat for recent transplants. We have to be one of the most transient cities in the world. The Christmas berry preserve is great with scones and the Christmas Cracker Poppers from England will liven up any party! But my all time favorites are the authentic Christmas pudding and sugar mice. The latter are a must for anyone who has been extra nice.
You can avoid last minute panic by sending an electronic gift certificate that can be redeemed in the Squirrel Hill location or on the huge online store. There are lots of other delightful items that really make the selection process fun and easy such as the character tea infusers are great for kids and adults alike. And the floating ducky tea infuser will be sure to make anyone smile. Be sure and give one to the crabbiest person you know and watch the transformation.