In which I talk to the wonderful Sam, who runs and manages and does all sorts of interesting things with the Tasmanian business Art of Tea, and she talks about buying the business, the new(ish) Bouteaque… and nudi-tea…
Also, a little sneak peak, if you listen closely, about a project I’ve got lined up for next year…
I went to the Melbourne Tea Festival! I was pretty excited to go, although at the same time I was apprehensive; I don’t love crowds and I am easily overwhelmed these days. So I was worried that it would be just TOO BIG and I would find the choice overpowering.
Happily this was not the case.
I mean, I’m still amazed and impressed by the number of small scale tea blenders in Australia, and there were even some people there selling Australian-grown tea. But it wasn’t like a craft festival where there’s a dozen people selling identical stuff.
Well. Except they were all selling the same sort of product, I guess.
Also I just ignored all the naturopathic places, and if you’re selling Slimming Tea I am walking past.
ANYWAY. There were people selling black tea, green tea, and chai; I felt like green and chai dominated. Possibly because I don’t love those things, although my co-attendee, my sister, does like both of those so she was interested. This was my haul:
So yeh, I have a thing for Earl Grey (the two test tubes of black tea are both French Earl Grey). Partly this was in order to give myself a way of focusing; it would have been verrrry easy to just go completely nuts. At least this way I had some direction… and then there was the chocolate one. That’s made from the husks of cacao pods! How cool is that? Take the leftover stuff and roast it and serve it up as tea. Yes, it is still quite chocolate-y. The ceramic cup at the front was included as part of the entrance fee; pretty much everyone had tea brewing for you to sample, and that’s what you got to use.
There were also some food stalls. In the spirit of my obsession, we had to try these Earl Grey macarons. They were very nice… but they were not very Earl Grey-y. WOE. (They were a not-very-overpowering jaffa, basically.)
A while back I interviewed my dear friend Alison. This year marks the 20th anniversary of us knowing each other, so we went on a date to the State Library of Victoria for high tea.
High tea was part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The idea behind it was to have food inspired by some of the collection that the SLV has: there’s heaps of ephemera from various people important to Victoria’s history including place cards-cum-menus for dinner parties, an awesome fold-out fan menu from a Melbourne Cricket Club event, old Jimmy Watson menus, and what is apparently the oldest cookbook printed in Australia: one for different flavours of ice cream. We got to see a bunch of this stuff – it’s not usually on display, so that was fun.
The food was also good. The prosecco was lovely and the English breakfast tea not stewed, which is always a concern… The sandwiches were delicious, with the chicken and pear and basil being quite a surprise but definitely a winner. I think my favourite of the sweet things was the chocolate waffle tartlet with salted caramel; I ate the popcorn but eh, I always think it’s a waste of space. The scones were not as light as I had expected; they were still tasty, as was the jam. The bachelor’s buttons were the big surprise – really quite tasty. And oh look, a recipe from the National Museum!
It was one of those sit-with-other-people events. We were the only people not with our mothers, on our table (one group was three generations). It was a very popular Christmas gift apparently.