Monday, January 21, 2013

New Zealand-Real High Tea Challege

Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge premiered in New Zealand on the professional category.  I was very interested on their the extraordinary innovations inspirations from strong ethnic influences.  Living in Arizona for the last 30 years I always  pondered how a high tea or an afternoon tea can become part of the Arizonan culinary crowd. 
Arizona has its own southwestern flavors from cooked cactus, prickly pear, margaritas, chili, Mexican food, Native American food and we seek the finest of restaurants in French, Brazilian, Moroccan, Greek, Lebanese, Italian and every eclectic fine cuisine there is to offer.   Arizona appreciates an award winning chef, restaurant, hotel and/or casino its crowds flock to the premises and rave reviews soon follow.   Phoenix is a hub of fine chefs and offers many culinary and mixology events through out the year waiting to see if there are any new salivating cuisine come to the forefront.
My respects go to the chefs that is able to make a great cuppa tea and work their senses, the eye, the nose and the palate to create tea food pairing, tea infused finger foods, desserts, cocktails/mocktails tied all together creating a wonderful tea experience. 

Dilmah is the freshest tea and every chef uses the freshest ingredients for his/hers cuisine.  The chefs keen palate is able to identify flavors and can separate the different nuances. Dilmah Tea is a single origin pure Ceylon tea a perfect ingredient without the blending of other origins or cheaper teas that will fight flavors.  

My excitement in the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge New Zealand  placed Arizona on the High Tea/Afternoon radar.  New Zealand has strong British cuisine, Polynesian culinary influences: Moari, Tongan, Fijians, Samoan, and Naiuans, and enjoying the Indian, Chinese, Malay, Japanese and Thai cuisine.   Traditional High Tea meet 21st Century High Tea. 

 Arizona can express itself in a Southwestern sort of High or Afternoon Tea way.  Now, that would be a Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge ,Arizona.  Arizona would make its mark in the USA.  A British tradition with a Southwestern Flair. 



Friday, September 7, 2012

Dilmah Tea Trails

Destination Travel Magazine entices with
"Tea Plantations-10 Plantations Where You Can Learn The Art of Tea."
Dilmah Tea Trails makes it effortless with tradition, history, service, comfort and natures ancient herb, the Camellia Sinensis. Tea Plantations article begins on Page 56.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dilmah USA-El Conquistador Resort-Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, Land of Enchantment.  Christopher Columbus found this island on his second voyage and named it San Juan after John the Baptist. Became a post for the Spanish and Europeans to make their stops before going to Mexico, Cuba and Central America. Puerto Rico now a US Commonwealth since 1952.  A tropical island with surrounding islands, British and US Virgin Islands and the Dominic Republic that would include them as part of the Greater Antilles. 
My first view of El Conquistador. Golf Course in view.
Red flower Flamboyon Tree
A 50 minute drive I was able to enjoy the view. Inquiring about all the variations of trees.  I learned to recognize the Almond tree, Flamboyon tree that came in blue, red, green and white, the Coco tree, the  Ceiba tree, Banana and Mango trees.  The natural dense tropical foliage is always so beautiful to me.  I am not a green thumb but appreciating the trees, flowers and plants fascinate me.  A tree on a island will only be a house plant in Arizona maybe that's where I get my awe. 
Coming around the bend looking up to see the chosen red flower Flamboyon tree that laced the El Conquistador Resort with the golf course welcomed you to its beautiful premises it was much more than what I anticipated.
   El Conquistador a Waldorf Astoria Resort part of the LXR Resort & Hotel Collection where Praful Mehta and I met to set out to educate, share about its teas personality and how indeed Dilmah Tea can make its mark.  Since I had not been to Puerto Rico before I had a chance to do some exploring and take in all that was all around me.  El Conquistador is a destination unique in its surroundings 300 feet above the beach shore on the edge of a cliff and below the hotel's marina.  Guests use the glass window cable cars to go to and fro from the marina and take in all the fabulous views of the ocean.  Las Casita Village a colorful Spanish inspired stucco exterior made a break in the hotels landscape.  Golf, Golden Door Spa, an array of Restaurants, shops, boutique's, ice cream :-), a Casino, Coqui Water Park, Palomino Island and swimming/volleyball pools.

One of the highlights for me was dinner with Gamal El Fakih Rodriguez, Praful Mehta, Dermot Connolly and Doug Zeif, Sr. VP, F &B at LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels.
Praful Mehta, Gloria Smith, Dermot Connolly and Doug Zeif
Doug Zeif's name has swirled around me a few times so meeting him was very exciting for me. In life we hear "I met your twin" maybe referring to your appearance, disposition or personality.  Well, I have a dear friend that is Doug Zeif's twin so to hear him speak I could almost predict his train of thought.   Doug is a great story teller, of course they are all true.  Yes, I stood right there when he told his stories in Sri Lanka thousands of miles away I just seem to transcend like I was a spectator present. Vivid, adventurous and ready to interact with every scenario that presented it self with a little a bit of trouble shooting.  I enjoyed his blogs that are readily listed below. Doug and Jacob's adventures and MJF blogs covering their visit are both available.  I invite you to read them.  The door is always open to visit the MJF Charitable Foundation.  A once of a lifetime opportunity to see Dilmah's Truly Ethical Tea making the difference.  Business is a matter service will mean something first hand.
Volunteer to Help
 Doug commented that their trip to Sri Lanka through the MJF Charitable Foundation was a life changing experience. I believe it was. 
Pause Music Playlist on Sidebar
Doug Zeif's Blogs

 MJF's Blogs covering Doug and Jacob visit with Dilmah
                                                                                        Doug and Jacob visits deprived Monaragala
My room had an ocean view with one island straight out my Arcadia door.  Palomino Island.   El Conquistador's private island with horseback riding, water sports and a beach!  At twilight the Coqui frog begun their unique croak. I did not recognize the croak as a frog till Praful named the sound.  Thus El Conquistador has on the premises Coqui Water Park how appropriate the sound of children squealing, yelling, laughing and maybe some croaking.

 Gamal El Fakih- Director of Food & Beverage had a team of managers and staff from each establishment. Las Brisas Restaurant, banquets,  Las Casitas Café, Strip House Restaurant and the Golden Door Spa attended the Dilmah Tea presentation. Each location had a series of Dilmah Teas to represent. Las Brisas represented the Dilmah Gourmet series, Casitas Café Dilmah- t-series sachets,  Strip House- Dilmah t-series sachets and Golden Door Spa represented the Dilmah t-series loose leaf.
Golden Door Spa will be venturing out in tea gastronomy and a hopeful Dilmah Tea Sommelier will represent the Strip House and attend the Dilmah School of Tea.

 No doubt about it Puerto Rico is a coffee drinking nation.   As an Arizonan it was interpretation of a show down.  Praful opened up the presentation to two sessions of Dilmah pupils. I have to say I really enjoyed Praful teaching and watching the group learning the world of tea. Breaking out the tea was a door opening to talk about the tea one on one.  As the conversation opened casually many caught on that Dilmah Tea represented as a pure single origin Ceylon tea, an ethical tea and that it is real tea is vital in telling the story of tea. The group comprehended the importance in proper preparation and spring or filtered water, consumers are drinking tea more for the health benefits, caffeine differentiation between tea and coffee and tea has properties that calms the nerves, rejuvenates and refreshes.  Romancing of the Tea or Taking Tea was also new to many of the group.  Exploring the many ways that tea is presented was a discovery.

How can I say this without sounding cheesy. Gamal's judgement and direction was very important to the management and staff. With that said I commend Gamal and Doug that their leadership has a lot to be said.

I find myself very easily returning to El Conquistador as a guest.  An early morning back at Las Casitas Café drinking Dilmah's Brilliant Breakfast talking with the ladies that served me so nicely.  Thank you El Conquistador for your wonderful hospitality. 


El Conquistador's Cruiser to Palomino Island

t-wall in the Golden Door Spa

First Session
Second Session
Gloria Smith and Gamal El Fakih Rodriguez- Director F&B


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dilmah Real High Tea- Lorriane Elliot-Part 2

Creating Afternoon or High Tea menus takes a little bit of work...... the end results are rewarding.  I had annual international tea at my home for close to a decade.  Summer International Bible Conference. An average of forty woman would come from Russia, Argentina, Holland, Zambia, Kenya, Czech Republic, Canada, Romania, South Africa, Australia, Great Brittan, India, Philippines, Mexico,  and national ladies. A different set would come every year.  
Naomi, my daughter,  at a friends afternoon tea.
   Planning the menu with the younger ladies and my faithful friends was my first step.  Dear friends every year would bring their chocolate covered strawberries, another scones, Madeleines, home made soup (yes, a soup with Southwestern flair, it was the favorite always), frittata, cheese and melba toast, oriental salad, tarts and those that lived in my hometown brought their love offerings of tasty, tasty morsels. I would spend all night making the tea sandwiches. I would choose 3 sandwiches and the fourth was open game.  The classic cucumber sandwich, curry egg sandwich, cranberry chicken salad with walnuts sandwich, and  the fourth would be the hardest one to decide.  Salmon, smoked oysters, gougeres and guilty of at the last second going through my cupboards and refrigerator and creating who knows what and pull it off successfully.  Following with the small details of lemon curd, jam and clotted cream, sparkling lemonade, chocolates, printed recipes and a tea gift to bring home.
Then the fun part and the easiest, is pulling out my china for presentation. The tiered and  cake plates, champagne flutes for the lemonade, tea cups and saucers, bowls, dessert plates, dinner plates, utensils, pressed napkins, tablecloths all done in the same night. Through the whole night I would have to drink Dilmah Tea.  An English Breakfast when I would begin to wane.  I would be alert again and  would be able to methodically finish thoroughly.  My last 2 annual Afternoon Teas were accompanied with Dilmah Teas.  Ceylon Supreme, Rose with French Vanilla, Earl Grey, Natural Green Tea with Lemongrass  and English Breakfast. Each teapot sat on a teapot warmer with a porcelain plate with the given tea. When the teapots were in place I could rest.
 I love working with young girls to teach them to be attentive to the guests needs, to serve properly, how to make a perfect pot of tea, to be responsible to bring something to the table and at their age I would expect them to keep their word if they were to offer their hospitality at the Afternoon Tea.  The most gratifying thing for me to see.  Is to see the younger girls and ladies having conversations with the older ladies listening to their stories of living over seas or mingling with the ladies visiting from represented countries.  I knew the Afternoon Tea was successful when all the ladies and myself were able to work together harmoniously that I was able to sit down myself and enjoy my cup of Dilmah Tea.  The tea would do its magic. I would recollect, relax and I was able to give my complete attention to whom I was speaking with.  I can almost feel its magic moment now; tea and conversation.  To many of these ladies that came to my home it was a highlight and they looked forward to the next Afternoon Tea.  

To serve tea in my home, you may walk in as a stranger but you will leave as a friend.

Lorraine Elliot on her 2nd Episode of Dilmah Real High Tea that will cover Tea Menus.  Remember to steep your Dilmah Tea before you begin your video and do not forget to go to the side bar and pause the Music Play list.                  

I hope this inspires your desire to open your home to serve and prepare an Afternoon or High Tea .  Nothing to be afraid of amongst friends to have it to be perfect.  Begin with good quality tea like Dilmah Tea.  The aroma, the taste of a garden fresh single origin Ceylon tea will have your guests coming back to Dilmah Tea.  Enjoy having your own Afternoon or High Tea and it will be great fun.

 Dilmah Australia will have an Dilmah Real High Tea Competition.  Please go to Real High Tea website to receive all the details.  Closes August 6, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hyderabad-Radisson Blu- Dilmah t-Bar

Newly open Hyberdad Radisson BLU Plaza was the first to launch a Dilmah t-BAR in India. The t-bar is designed to bring nature's healing herb in unimaginable variety to the 21st century tea drinker.  A tea experience that sets the mood, a great conversation, and music to make it memorable.   Dilmah designer t-Series launched the eighth t-bar of many ranges, origins and two from India's home land- Single Estate Assam and Single Estate Darjeeling.  The t-bar is an incredible avenue to enjoy tea in many variations served as cocktails, mocktails, t shots and t shakes.  An ancient herb with a modern twist.
Radisson Blu Plaza will be the rave.
Congratulations and Cheers!

Word was out that an eighth Dilmah T-Bar was going into India.  I contacted my colleague Robert Schinkel to get the details. Robert would be right there in the mix.  Robert Schinkel, tea sommelier, mixologist, bartender, trainer, speaker and representative for the MJF Charitable Foundation, Robert is a strong affiliate for Dilmah.  Becoming champion in 2009 in the The Sommelier competition in the Netherlands it opened doors to participate in 2010 Chefs and the Teamaker.  Robert has what it takes to take the ancient herb and create many variations of a classic cocktail or pure innovations.  Robert teamed up with photographer Izabela Urbaniak, Poland, and created the Dilmah Cocktails, Dilmah Mocktails, Dilmah Spa Tea recipe books.  Create for yourself and take a peek Dilmah Spa Tea Mixology.   Robert has had the opportunity to partner with Dilhan Fernando to launch Dilmah tea at various properties. Robert has developed a training program to equip the staff in proper tea preparation, training in mixology and tea and foodpairing.  It has led him to many fascinating locations as the like of such places as Phuket,Thailand, Jakarta,Indonesia, Czech Republic, Koh Samui,Thailand and of course Sri Lanka at the Dilmah School of Tea. Robert stated, "Tea is a great cocktail ingredient.  When you use top quality tea and brew it right you can make a great drink." You may follow him at Tea Gastronomy/Robert Schinkel
                                                           Pause Music Playlist on Sidebar                                                     
 Robert Schinkel - Chefs and the Teamaker 2010

Opening night.

Rajive Maduwela explaining the Dilmah professional tea set.

Rajiv explaining the importance of water.

Robert and Rajiv Maduwela
The Dilmah t-bar.

Purchase Dilmah Tea and receive a recipe book for free.