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Teapots And Conversations
Published: Volume 21, Issue 12, December, 2013

On the occasion of the opening of its new store at Lower Parel in Mumbai, arttd’inox partnered with Verve to host a tea ceremony for select invitees

What better way to celebrate the fundamentals of life (read food) than in a state-of-the-art modular kitchen with a tea-tasting ceremony and healthy hors d’oeuvres for accompaniments. And that is exactly how Verve made merry at arttd’inox at Lower Parel in Mumbai.

The select guests were an eclectic mix of bankers, jewellery designers, artists, event planners, stylists and fashion divas. Manju Bhende, Priyanshi Mehta, Anupa Mehta, Ritu Prakash Desai, Ruchita Mittal, Amrit Rai, Chanda Choudhary Barrai, Prachi Joshi and Khushboo Patodia were some among many in attendance. In between greetings and introductions, many were heard applauding the cutlery, bar range and cookware showcased on the shelves of the attractively designed boutique. Some even requested items to be tagged as sold, for them to take back home.

Just as the guests began to settle into the groove of the evening, Radhika Batra Shah of Radhikas Fine Teas, tea sommelier and curator of the day’s tea ceremony ushered them to experience what she had to offer. The little snacks that were paired with the drinks were created by her partner, chef Chetan Washikar, Mars Group. Standing on the model kitchen counter of arttd’inox was an attractive assembly of infusions from white to green to Oolong to black. Placed in a variety of transparent teapots, through which one could see and appreciate their colours, the display beckoned a trial.

Before taking the ladies on this stimulating journey of tisanes, Radhika insisted on polite behaviour, one that demanded slurping the brews. Silent sipping would only be rude! Not only this, it could very well be a futile attempt at absorbing its notes. With everyone’s attention at learning tea etiquettes, the theme – ‘Tea For Each Part Of The Day’, was introduced to the ladies.

Turns out, five of the 24 hours strike a calling for tea. The first of the pure, organic brews served was Longjing, known as the ‘Brite and Early Tea’ because of its wake-me-up properties. Each lady held up her shot-glass sized cup, ready to slurp and share her notes. It was just like a wine tasting session, with a different set of inverted manners.

The second, DarjiOolong tea was advised for those lethargic mid-afternoons. Taking in a noisy mouthful, the steward encouraged notes to be shared. ‘Roasty’ and ‘smokey’ were hollered and the tasters were rewarded with smoked chicken salad on multi-grain toast for inferring correctly; demonstrated by chef Washikar himself.

By now the people were stirred up to continue with this game of tea tasting. Perhaps it was the revitalising properties of the brews. And that’s when the Butterfly Blue Pea tea amazed everyone with its peculiar blue colour. What was even more interesting is how the pot of the blue-coloured liquid, very visibly turned darker by the minute. Being rich in anti-ageing properties, it won the hearts of everyone present.

As the sun made its way west, the DarjeelingRose, an evening meal tea was the next pick. It stood pretty in its exotic blend of Darjeeling leaves with rose flecks. And then the The Silver White Needle from Laoshan Chin followed. It is known as the perfect brew for quiet moments, something like a lullaby.

As a final point, and in all its glory, the ceremony ended with the Blooming tea one that unfurls into a flower from a bud right before your eyes. It was paired with a quick demonstration of a date and walnut cake by executive pastry chef, Sunil Vaishampayan, Mars Group that was sumptuous to say the least. And what a finale it was!

The ladies seemed delighted with this new knowledge. Many requested for a proper cup of their favoured brew from those sampled. An extravagant spread of dilled cucumber sandwiches, smoked chicken and cottage cheese on multigrain bread, amaretti and chocochip cookies, pizzettes and marble cake kept the lot occupied over conversations, that continued way after the last sip of tea was finished.

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