Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2015

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I was recently invited to witness the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2015, and what an eye-opening experience it was!
Photo 23-3-15 1 33 28 pm I’ve always been more of a coffee person, rather than tea, and the only kind of teas I enjoy are milk teas. Yet, after attending this event, I’ve gained a new found respect for tea as a drink, as well as a brand new appreciation for this humble and unassuming bunch of leaves, in terms of it’s benefits and flavors. Guess what, my room is now stocked up with so much teas, I enjoy sipping on them while doing my work, and well, even while writing up this post.

I’m sure we all kinda know the benefits teas have for us, such as that of it having a large amount of antioxidants, how it plays a part in cancer prevention, lower risks of heart diseases, aids in digestion, so on and so forth. Yet as a foodie, do you know that teas can be paired with the types of food you’re having to emphasize the flavors of food, mute certain tastes, and just brings your entire dining experience to a higher level? And this was what the annual Dilmah Real high Tea Challenge is about!

Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge

Held at Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel this year, 11 teams from various renowned F&B and hospitality establishment competed with each other for the opportunity to represent Singapore in the global Dilamh Real High Tea Challenge held in Sri Lanka this July, as only one of them could emerge as the winners.

Out of these 11 teams, including Shatec and RWS, 8-months old Tess Bar has outdid its competitors to be crowned as the champions of this event.

Pardon the poor quality pictures, but here are some snippets for you guys to let you be blown away by the process, just like how I had been. Photo 23-3-15 12 29 40 pmEach team was required to create a tea-inspired menu using Dilmah’s tea, with deep consideration of how each of their food menu could be complementary to the types of tea they decide to brew. The teams were judged by Director of Dilmah Tea and son of Brand Founder, Dilhan C. Fernando, Black Hat Chef, Bernd Uber and InterContinental Singapore Executive Eric Neo.
The teams were judged on tea preparation and brewing techniques, tea mixology (WHAT?!), the correct pairing of of tea with food, and how well tea was used as the main ingredient in the tea inspired cuisine, as well as the quality and creativity of overall presentation.Photo 23-3-15 1 04 38 pmTeams were tasked to brew a minimum of 4 varieties of tea: a traditional black tea, a hot tea mocktail, a chilled tea cocktail, and a chilled non-alcoholic tea mocktail, and serve complementary high tea food items with each type of tea. WHAT A TALL ORDER. And is it me, or have you ever heard of things such as a chilled tea mocktail etc?!
Photo 23-3-15 12 31 34 pmTeam IBIS (Bencoolen) with them doing their tea mixology. I was genuinely taken aback by the preparation because this was my first time witnessing this! What an amazing experience!
Photo 23-3-15 12 59 50 pm If you guys already know this, please dont judge. I actually never knew that the temperature of the water, the purity and acidity affects how the tea tastes. Afterall, my teh bing is always made with boiling water. Anyway, this is the ONLY type of water they use for brewing their teas, and apparently the acidity of the water helps to bring out the taste of the tea better. WOW.
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Here are some of the presentation pieces from the different participants in this challenge. SO PRETTY RIGHT?! And I  even heard that the Capella did a TCM themed presentation. Ah, I’m just so blown away!1. Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge SingaporePresenting to you, the winners of the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2015!

Right after witnessing this cool competition, we were then introduced to the art of Tea Appreciation and Pairing session by Dilhan, the son of the founder of Dilmah tea! We were all given 3 teas to try, and in the background is a cute hourglass thingy that has different timings to brew the different teas. SO cute right! And I am glad that we got to keep them with us!Photo 23-3-15 2 02 46 pm*CHUA not Chia by the way.

This was the first time I actually realized and learnt how effective tea pairing was, and how it really does enhance the flavors of the food with the right tea pairing. Amazing, amazing experience. For example,
Photo 23-3-15 2 17 11 pmThis slider was paired with the English Breakfast tea, and it was supposed to help you separate the layers of oil and fat from the patty, so that it elevates the taste of the patty and rinses off the oil. And that was indeed what I felt with the fats being separated from the patty and it tasted so much better, not to mention, less oily as well!
Photo 23-3-15 2 22 56 pm  This Moroccan Mint Tea went so well with this decadent chocolate cake, I actually felt that this piece of average cake was one of the better ones of all chocolate cakes I’ve had.

At the end of this event and experience, I really gained a new found appreciation for teas, and I’m still amazed at how versatile teas can be. I’ve always thought that teas can only go with pastries, like what we see in high teas, but little did I know, how well they could actually go together with savory items like the Beef Slider. Amazing.

Thank you Dilmah for the invite and thank you Grand Copthorne for hosting us!

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