Credit: Helaina Hovitz
Credit: Helaina Hovitz
Fans of the French tea company were met with the solemn site of closed doors this week upon arriving at Palais des Thés' Soho and Upper West Side locations. Fear not loyal customers, your favorite teas are not gone forever; they're just going to be finding their way to your tummy through alternative channels.
“Consumer habits are different in the U.S., where the tea market is slightly less mature than Europe,” said Ines Bejot, a representative for the company. “Specialty retail stores are having a harder time adapting to the U.S. market because consumers tend to want to find every quality product in one place, rather than spend time going from store to store to get what they need.”
The company is opening 10 new locations this year for a total of 37 shops in France, nine others throughout Europe, one in Israel, and another in Tokyo. Despite Palais des Thés' international success, the business model that’s succeeded in places abroad has yet to prove lucrative in New York.
That's exactly why Palais des Thés will be rolling out its teas to retailers like Le District, Dean & DeLuca, and West Side Market. Later this year, it will also be opening up a Tea School at its brand new Soho showroom. It’s currently working with restaurants to not only serve its teas, but incorporate the tea itself into dessert recipes. Dominique Ansel, for example, has been making some of his cronuts with Palais de Thés, in combination with chocolate fudge and crème brûlée.
The company is also developing some fun e-commerce products, which include a tea and chocolate pairing created in partnership with Valrhona chocolates. Pairing the dark, milk, and white chocolate bars with the perfect leafy accompaniment will without a doubt be decadent.
You can also expect to see its teas at The Plaza Hotel, thanks to a partnership with chef Geoffrey Zakarian. After closing for a three-month renovation, chef Zakarian redesigned the famed hotel’s food and beverage program entirely, further improving The Plaza Hotel’s well-known afternoon tea program.
At the helm of Palais des Thés is founder Francois Xavier Delmas, who spends half the year visiting tea plantations around the world, while keeping a very close eye on those he sources from. In fact, if he finds out that management has changed at any of the plantations he utilizes, he will fly out to meet the new owner. Check out his travel blog to follow his adventures.
Suffice to say that though its brick and mortar stores are no more, for Palais de Thés, exciting alternatives are just around the corner.