Last night, Lady Devotea and I put on an event.
A tea event, naturally!
As part of the Adelaide Wine & Food Festival, we have struggled to get noticed above the parapet of the festivals’s focus, which is wine and seafood, wine and beef,wine and more wine, wine, a bit more food with wine, and wine.
Nevertheless, we had a small but enthusiastic audience to what we believe to be a unique event.
We combined six teas, six tales, six alcoholic beverages and six tales, all on the theme of ‘The 1700s in Tastes, Teas and Tales’.
We did our research and we worked with quality people. Trawling through old cook books, we managed to put together six dishes that surprised our guests, from George Washington’s favourite ‘Ragoo of Asparagus’ to a dish called Beef Collops that the venue is now adding to their regular menu.
The venue, Café MESO in McLaren Vale just outside of Adelaide, is a specialist British restaurant that stocks 11 of our teas, so it was an easy pick. Having said that, we were stunned by the way they threw themselves behind the project. Everything was excellent from the food to the glassware to the service.
Each course followed the same basic outline. First the guests were served a half-sized drink of a cider, ale or wine. Then came a tale of the 1700s. As that was happening an unusual dish was put in front of them, and it was followed by a glass of tea.
In a meal where every dish was a sensation, all the tea and alcohol paired exquisitely, the weak point was always going to be the tales.
Luckily the 1700s make it easy.
With Queens and Prime Ministers and Kings and Smugglers and Tax and Revolution, so much of all of it revolving around tea, it was easy to find the six tales. OK, we briefly stretched back to 1674 and we hinted at 1840, but other than that, we kept it to the 170os.
The feedback afterwards was very positive, with keen interest in the 1800s version we are developing.
At this point, none of our 9 function in the forthcoming US tour are this exact show, but hey, if there’s a venue and a dynamic chef out there, talk to us.