At the heart of gastronomy there is tea. Whether tea paired delicately with Mesclun salad, tea expressed in cuisine as a garnish or marinade, as an element in mixology or as a part of a finely tuned quartet of tea, savoury and sweet morsels and spirit there can be no doubt of it. In the sensations that tea offers - its taste, mouthfeel, and in its natural goodness, there is a delicious concord in the union of tea and food
Dilmah Gastronomy and Mixology
More about the book
A declaration such as this in the introduction to our Dilmah Book of Tea Inspired Food and Beverage is likely to meet more than a few disagreeing shakes of the head. But please read on and let me explain how it is that just recently a Frenchman and a Sommelier too, reacted in just the opposite way.
First and most importantly, tea is a natural herb, more influenced by Nature than any other beverage. The near infinite variety of tea - the aromas, textures, the hay like subtlety of a Seasonal Nuwara Eliya to the purply thickness of a Kahawatte Dust 1 - all comes from a single plant species - Camellia sinensis. There are no variants such as the different grape cultivars that influence wines to such an extent. It is the confluence of the myriad aspects of Nature and expert variation of a method of manufacture that has been perfected over centuries that account for the differences.
Secondly, the beguiling array of colours, textures and aromas that form the constantly changing palette that is variety in tea, corresponds to an equally beguiling array of flavours, textures and strengths. From the finesse of a fine Uva to the majesty of a Ceylong Souchong, and beyond, the flavour in tea is natural and unimaginably varied. Thirdly, scientific studies confirm that amongst the many health benefits that black and green tea offer is the ability of antioxidants in tea to dramatically lower cholesterol and prevent diabetes. A pure and natural herb naturally imbued with a spectrum of tastes, flavours and strengths, possessing the ability to protect us from the most debilitating and common lifestyle diseases of the 21st century. There is more, for tea is a cleansing and pure herb, and when taken with the most ferocious, cloyingly rich or sugary dishes, has the ability to elegantly restore the palate and your taste buds in anticipation of the next course.
Our exploration of ‘tea gastronomy’ began in 1999 with roast chicken marinated in Ceylon Tea. Over the years it became apparent that the sensorial and functional justification for the marriage of tea and food was more than just coincidence. For centuries Central Asian hospitality has focused on Plov and tea, in Asia similarly, tea was always an accompaniment to food. These ancient traditions are rooted more in function than pleasure, but the magic in tea gastronomy appears when taking the marriage further; by exploring the sophistication of fine teas, celebrating the fleeting existence of rare, seasonal teas, and the ethereal elegance of Ceylon Silver Tips.
There is a tea for every moment, for every mood and for every occasion. There is a tea for every fruit, vegetable and meat, a tea for every culinary style and a tea whose unique personality matches every person’s individual taste. Our book of Tea Inspired Food and Beverage is intended to express my family’s love for tea in another dimension. The experience of fine tea is not solely for the purist nor for the connoisseur; in comparison with any other beverage including spring water, tea is an inexpensive luxury. And luxury it is for good tea, picked by hand, tasted and devotedly cared for from the plant to your pot is a beverage unlike any other - artisanally crafted to harness what Nature has created.
At the heart of gastronomy there is tea. Whether tea paired delicately with Mesclun salad, tea expressed in cuisine as a garnish or marinade, as an element in mixology or as a part of a finely tuned quartet of tea, savoury and sweet morsels and spirit there can be no doubt of it. In the sensations that tea offers - its taste, mouthfeel, and in its natural goodness, there is a delicious concord in the union of tea and food.
Dilhan and Malik are the younger and elder sons of Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando, from whose names he coined his brand Dilmah.
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