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A Heritage Tea Experience + Giveaway

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

When you think of South African heritage the first thing that springs to mind would not necessarily be tea. Tea is synonymous with the east. The mysterious calm of the Japanese zen tea ceremony or the spicy traditions of ceylon tea from India and Sri Lanka. You may sooner think of the great tradition of the British high tea before you make the connection with South Africa. But then there is Rooibos. Aaah, I hear you exclaim, and the penny drops.

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

Rooibos has been part of the South African pantry for so many years that we don’t even think about its uniqueness anymore. But did you know that Rooibos is grown only in South Africa and despite other attempts it has not been successfully grown anywhere else in the world. “The tea is made from Aspalathus Linearis, an indigenous shrub that grows only in the mountainous regions of the spectacular Cape Floral Kingdom. Rooibos was discovered by local inhabitants a long time ago, but commercially traded only since 1904.” (source: WebMD)  The health benefits of this red brew is well known. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, caffeine-free and low in tannins, the residue in teas that can sometimes cause digestive problems. Its heritage is steeped in the wild Cape Fynbos which makes it ideal as part of this Cape Fynbos Tea Ceremony™. Along with Honeybush and Buchu the flavours abound in this unique experience.

I was invited to accompany Zakeeya Mitha, who is the owner of Sugarlicious, a Durban based company that makes the most decadent Ice Cream Macarons. I will be telling you more about this innovative brand in a future post. Zakeeya had won a heritage tea experience and I was lucky enough to be her +1. We found our way to the Company Gardens and under the canopy of trees were warmly welcomed by the vibrant Giselle Courtney who guided us into an enclave of calm and serenity in the old Garden Director’s House. The table was beautifully set with South African designer Adrian Lombard’s tea and teaware, part of his extensive luxury lifestyle brand Essential Life. Walking into this room ignited the senses with the heady smells of familiar Cape fynbos.

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaalGiselle with Zakeeya handing over her take home heritage tea pack.

We were joined by two more ladies and so began our heritage tea experience. The Western Cape government is on a huge drive to bring more awareness to preserving and showcasing our local heritage. Giselle began by explaining how the Cape Floral Kingdom is a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its diversity of vegetation, known as fynbos. Approximately 6000 of the 9000 plant species are endemic to the Cape region. The floral inspiration for this tea ritual is also meant to create a connection to nature by exploring the various flavours of fynbos and spices blended by ourselves into a uniquely personal experience. Each of us was seated before a meticulously arranged tray of tasting cups, tiny pestle and mortar for grinding our mixes together and a lovely white ceramic teapot with platinum trim. No expense is spared in the quality of tableware set out. We were seated on hand carved wooden benches literally hewn from tree trunks and artfully finished.

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

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Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

We started with a mystery tasting of four different teas which included Rooibos, Honey bush and the surprise of the day Buchu which I got totally wrong. It was a lot more floral than the others and the one I enjoyed the most. Mixing our own tea blends was the next step. I had a gas bashing up different teas and spice combinations to find out what worked together and what didn’t. One needs to apply some force to release the oils and flavour essences. The mix was poured into a delicate handmade drawstring tea bag and hot, not boiling water poured over. My Honey bush, cinnamon and dill combination went down quite well. We were also introduced to the resinous Rhino Bush, a species from the Renosterveld biome and Cancer Bush, which research is showing to have amazing immune boosting properties. I tried the Cancer Bush by bashing up some leaves for a tea but it was like taking medicine. If you’re going to benefit from this vile panacea, it will need to be disguised by lots of honey or maybe a touch of some Peppermint pelargonium. We were presented with a lovely plating of Turkish delight to accompany our tasting. It is homemade by a Turkish supplier and does not contain gelatine. The sugar syrup is carefully blended with a cornstarch mixture to create the sticky delights.

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Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

Heritage Tea Ceremony Hungry for halaal

Giselle then did a slide presentation about the floral design and how it permeates into other walks of life and art. How the flower pattern is found in nature as well as in some of the most beautiful buildings, even mosques in the world. Specifically in the tiling and mosaics, where the image of the flower appears in various interpretations. The poetry of the words and her hands sketching pictures for us in the air was captivating and lulled the senses into a deep calm and relaxed state. By the end of her talk I felt like I had been in a spa. You, know, that heady feeling after you’ve had a massage and you can’t quite get moving yet.

We stayed and chatted for some time after the tasting was over and before long two whole hours had passed. The Cape Fynbos Tea Ceremony™ is usually an hour long. It will be formally launched in November and is a wonderful experience for visitors to South Africa or as an alternative experience for a small party like a bridal shower. The tea ceremony is intimate and accommodates a maximum of seventeen guests. To book an experience contact the Cape Town Heritage Trust on 021 426 2157 and for additional information see www.capefynbosteaceremony.com.

Giveaway!

The Cape Town Heritage Trust are generously giving away a Heritage Tea experience for 2 to the value of R900 to one of my readers.
All you need to do is complete the entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Terms and Conditions:
The competition starts at midnight and will close at midnight on Sunday, 16 October 2016.
The prize must be redeemed by end March 2017.
All entrants will be automatically added to our mailing list. You can opt out at any time.

 

Discover the heritage teas of the Cape Floral Kingdom and join the Cape Town Heritage Trust for an intimate Cape Fynbos Tea Ceremony™ in the historic Company’s Garden.

Hosted in the Gallery of the Visitors’ Centre, this elegant event is a unique 60-minute fynbos tea journey inspired by the rich botanical heritage of the Cape.

There is a delight in every detail of this tête-à-tête.

19 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town.

Booking essential 021 426 2157

www.capefynbosteaceremony.com

 

 

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