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A name synonymous with tea

Saturday, March 03, 2012

IF you had been at the Leela on Thursday as an invitee to the special tea tasting conducted by Stephen Twining, here’s what you would have enjoyed at the High Tea (capitals intended!) that accompanied  the interaction.

With Darjeeling  
English Cheddar and Pineapple, Ciabatta Smoked Turkey and Caramelised Onion Curry marinated Chicken puffs

With Green tea
Tea Poached Chicken Sandwich, Focaccia Bread Sun dried tomato, Broccoli, Pitted Olives Quiche Green tea and candied fig cake

With Earl Grey
Scones with crème Chantilly and homemade strawberry jam

Green tea tiramisu
Earl Grey tea poached pears with sherry zabaglione

He is the tenth generation of the famous family that introduced tea drinking to the Brits years ago and this is his first visit to the country from where much of his product and a considerable portion of the Twinings market is located.

When he was 8 years old, he was asked by his geography teacher to talk about one of India’s largest exports, tea. His father Sam, a director in the company, briefed him and ‘armed’ him with samples, and so he held his first tea tasting for small philistines completely unaware of what to him was second nature.

We don’t know whether his schoolmates thought he was a prat, but Stephen himself is a director in the company started by his illustrious ancestor Thomas. In 1837, Queen Victoria appointed them official suppliers of tea to the Crown and this has continued with every British Monarch to date. Not surprising then that last year, tea lovers enjoyed more nearly 49 million cases of tea all over the world.

As for the scion of the line, this time it will be just Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and   Bengaluru. But with Classic Assam, Green Tea, Chamomile and Peppermint flying off the shelves as the factory in Kolkata, only its fourth in the world, struggles to keep up with demand, it will certainly not be his last.

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Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
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