You probably know your usual garden-variety Genovese basil as the cornerstone of pesto and Margherita pizzas.
But Tulsi or “holy basil” is definitely another type worth trying.
Tulsi is considered a sacred herb in many cultures, including India, where it is used in religious ceremonies. It also has been commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
It also makes for a soothing cup of tea — either hot or cold. It has a pronounced herbaceous quality, with minty and floral undertones, as evidenced by the samples I recently tried.
The teas come in six varieties: “Signature Blend,” “Pure Leaves,” “Rooibos Chai,” “Spicy Green,” “Hibiscus Flower,” and “Chamomile Flower.”
They are all certified organic and certified Free Trade. They are all caffeine-free except for the “Spicy Green,” which has a small amount of caffeine from the green tea leaves that are added to the blend.
Davidson, the nation’s oldest organic tea company, provides the Tulsi seeds to farmers in India to grow the plants in the company’s own biodynamic garden. Ten percent of proceeds from the tea benefit projects that help the farmers, including the restoration of abandoned farmlands, and infrastructure improvements to housing and schools.
Tulsi Teas are available at Whole Foods for $2.95 for a box of eight tea bags or $5.50 for a box of 25.
Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win an assortment of 100 Tulsi tea bags to enjoy. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Nov. 12. Winner will be announced Nov. 14.
How to win?
Just tell me your most favorite way to enjoy tea — and why. Best answer wins.
Here’s my own answer to that question:
“Definitely with dim sum. It’s the one time you even get asked in a Chinese restaurant what type of tea you would like. And the slightly bitter tannin of cup after cup of hot tea does such a great job of cutting the richness and saltiness of all of those porky, fried and soy sauce-laced morsels that come to the table so enticingly. Plus, I love the conviviality of it. There’s nothing better than sitting around a big table with friends and family, sharing steamer basket after steamer basket of dumplings, keeping an eagle eye out for your favorite dim sum offerings on the carts that circle the room, and playing host by making sure everyone’s tea cup is always filled.”