This year I had the honour once again of being asked to judge in Dilmah’s ‘Real High Tea’ series.
I look forward to these weeks, they produce some of the most beautiful dishes and culinary talent I’ve come across, and all in the name of tea!
This round was Melbourne, with teams from Western Australia and South Australia joining us. Over 2 days we 3 judges saw 18 teams and tasted over 250 bites of food and sips of tea.
Head Judge Bernt Uber, Dilhan Fernando and I were blown away by the contestant’s enthusiasm and commitment to this beautiful, remarkable herb.
The contestants entries were incredible, their artistry, creativity and talent transported us around the world to gardens in Ancient Greece and Asia.
Over my years of judging Dilmah’s Real High Tea I have seen remarkable advances in the use and inclusion of tea in cuisine. I believe that tea gastronomy has turned a huge corner. As the use of tea in cooking matures and becomes more common the tea doesn’t need to be noticed in the dish or drink, it’s become a key ingredient, like many other herbs or spices.
A prime example was this deconstructed apple crumble, the contestants cleverly used cinnamon tea instead of cinnamon and the result was delicious, and ingenious.
Without naming names (yet) I can say it’s music to my ears that a very large international hotel chain is about to roll out a world-wide menu of tea in their lobby bars. For me this is a huge step forward for tea, and tea lovers everywhere. Having the option of enjoying a rejuvenating pot, perfectly brewed instead of the standard coffee / water / beer options will no doubt put tea on the map for a whole new group of people.
I’ve personally been involved in the process of placing tea in these hotels and I can’t wait to tell you more! Keep an eye on my Facebook page for further details..
HOW TEA OUGHT TO BE
As I watched a hundred people sitting wide-eyed with mouths slightly ajar in shock as they realized they’d been brewing tea incorrectly for most of their lives I felt honoured to be able to teach “the school of tea”.
Tea is an incredible thing, with history dating back thousands of years and new benefits we are still discovering every day. For example, we have only just scratched the surface proving the incredible preventative medicinal properties of tea.
With so much good in it we need to treat our tea properly!
Step 1. Brew your tea for a minimum of 2 minutes for green and 3 for black to get the full benefits of it.<
Step 2. While the tea steeps turn to your partner, friend, child, acquaintance or perhaps someone you’ve only just met and take the time to have a conversation. Use the moments to relax and communicate with another human being – face to face, not through your phone or tablet or computer. Leave your technology in your pocket and enjoy this time as we used to, before our world moved so fast.
Step 3. Once the tea is steeped sit and sip, don’t slurp, don’t scull, just savour each mouthful and think about the history, the culture and the land and people that created this tea. When you think about it, tea is an incredible thing we can all be a part of.
I have long had a dream for Dilmah tea and that dream is slowly coming to fruition. The beautiful beverage know as tea is slowly making its way down from the top shelf among the other beverages into the spice shelf, and into the hands and pots of food lovers the world over.
Congratulations to all the participants and the winners and who know one of you may be coming to the global finals in 2015 in Colombo!