Dilmah Tea New Zealand
Dilmah Tea hosted a series of high teas around New Zealand, promoting its socially responsible message along with the rising interest in tea mixology.
Its Wellington stop on Tuesday, hosted by Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando and his son, Dilhan C. Fernando, the company’s chief marketing officer, and in the presence of Her Excellency Zodwa Lallie, South African High Commissioner, was a particular treat, with a menu designed by Dilmah Real High Tea Gold Medallist Laurent Loudeac, executive chef of the Museum Art Hotel.
Held at the hotel’s famed Hippopotamus restaurant, guests were treated to everything from ora king salmon sashimiâ€”which we would label as our favourite of the afternoonâ€”to lap sang souchong yoghurt panna cotta and a lychee-infused jasmine tea and rosewater caviar, complemented by various Dilmah teas.
The selection included Dilmah’s Ran Watte Single Region Ceylon tea, its green tea with jasmine flowers, and its rose tea with French vanilla.
The highlight was the address given my Merrill J. Fernando, after a video looking back through the history of Dilmah and how his famed catchphrase, ‘Do try it,’ was created by a New Zealand agency.
He spoke of how Dilmah goes beyond the requirements of Fair Trade with its ethically made tea, because those who grow the tea share in the equity. The value-added components of Dilmah are not done by international traders, but by Sri Lankans, and the company constantly puts money back into the community, funding education, health care, cultural and even business activities.
Some rivals force down the prices that tea farmers can sell at, keeping them poor, while profiting from the value-added components in the marketing and production chain.
Mr Fernando also stressed that Ceylon tea is the finest, and that Dilmah, to preserve that integrity, does not mix its teas with those from other countries.
Through a Trade Me auction, the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation is also raising money for a culinary centre in Sri Lanka which will train people living with disabilities or have been disadvantaged, so that they can find employment to support themselves.
They can be found on Trade Me, with the auctions closing on July 27. Items include Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve 2007 wine, valued at over NZ$1,250; an individually numbered caddy of a very rare tea, FBOP 1, from the Dilmah Opapa Estate in Sri Lanka; a night for two at the Langham Hotel in Auckland; and two nights for two at the Museum Art Hotel in Wellington.
In other New Zealand news, new label Trish Peng is running a Fresh Face modelling competition as part of her New Zealand Fashion Week dÃ©but next month, with the help of Lâ€™OrÃ©al Professionnel and Vanity Walk.
New Zealand women are invited to enter via the Trish Peng Facebook page. Peng and Vanity Walk, a modelling agency, will judge from the uploaded photo and details.
Entries close August 2. The winner becomes the face of the next Trish Peng campaign, opens Peng’s fashion week show, receives a modelling contract with Vanity Walk, and wins a year’s supply of L’OrÃ©al Professionnel products.â€”Jack Yan, Publisher, with Lucire staff
Felicity Anderson/Trio Communications
Top Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando with Lucire publisher Jack Yan. Centre Dilmah chief marketing officer Dilhan C. Fernando and South African High Commissioner, HE Zodwa Lallie. Above Museum Art Hotel proprietor Chris Parkin with HE Zodwa Lallie.