David Burton of the Evening
Post (New Zealand)
takes a sip of the Pinot Noir of tea
Johannes van Dam, Dutch
Food & Wine Critic talks about Watte
Like Chateau Bottled Wine, Single Region Tea
First commercial production
A dream come true
The Launch of Watte Single Region, Boutique Tea in
It is the 30th October, 2002, a cold and moist Autumn
morning in Amsterdam, as we enter the intimate atmosphere of the
Blakes Hotel, beside the Keisersgracht Canal. Patricia Cleveland-Peck
wrote in The Observer (London) of this luxurious hotel I've
never stayed in a more stylish hotel. This morning, the understated
elegance of this Anouska Hempel design Boutique Hotel, is complemented
by an event of equal elegance : an appreciation of Boutique Tea,
the Watte Teas from Sri Lankan family tea company, Dilmah.
J. Fernando, Founder of Dilmah is joined by Dutch wine connoisseur
and writer, Hubrecht Duijker
who together raise their long stemmed wine glasses and sip - not
wine, but tea. Johannes van Dam - gourmet, tea aficionado and food
writer exclaims, these teas are like single malt whiskies,
each with very individual character, as Hubrecht Duijker joins
Merrill in commenting on each of the four Teas.
Watte (pronounced run-wat-the), meaning Golden Gardens,
from tea estates set high in the mountains surrounding Nuwara Eliya,
is compared to fine champagne, and commended for its elegant structure
and hints of spiciness.
(u-der wat-the), the Pinot Noir of tea comes from the Dimbula region,
and is admired for its lush, supple nature.
(mad-er wat-the), our Shiraz picked on tea gardens near the last
Kingdom of Sri Lanka, in Kandy, is labeled firm, full, lively with
hints of caramel.
Last, but certainly not least, Yata
Watte (ya-ter wat-the) is grown at sea level in the region
around Galle, thought to be the biblical city of Tarshish. Yata
Watte is acclaimed for its expressiveness, just like a good Cabernet
Sauvignon, with spiciness and hints of bayleaf.
then the appreciation of these four unique teas moves to a different
form. The Chefs at Blakes evidently enjoyed the teas as much as
the audience today for here was an assortment of gourmet fare, each
dish complementing a Watte Tea. Salmon sushi, tea smoked Duck, Crème
Brulee, chocolate Truffles and a buffet of other creations
a meticulously planned repast fit only for the finest teas on earth.
The Dilmah Tea Appreciation in Amsterdam marks the
first launch in the world of an unique range of Teas Single
Origin, Single Region, Boutique Tea. The Watte Teas are original
garden teas from selected Dilmah Tea Gardens in Ceylon.
Their launch marks the culmination of a 5-year programme
of research and development, major investment and expertise with
the objective of delivering to consumers around the world, a selection
of truly exceptional teas. It also marks a dream come true for Founder
of Dilmah, Merrill J. Fernando whose 50 years in tea were driven
by a desire to bring quality, real tea back to consumers.
is the Dilmah Tea site. An information-driven tea site, with reviews
of research on the health benefits in tea, Dilmah Online has a wealth
of information about the wonderful world of tea.
is the website of The Blakes Hotel, Amsterdam. One of the few hotels
in the world which can claim to be boutique The Blakes
Hotel was designed by Anouska Hempel to reflect the heritage of
the Dutch. The dramatic black & white theme is softened by flowing
fabrics in oriental tones, representing the seafaring past of the
Dutch. The cuisine it has to be experienced to be believed.
Each room is different, and unlike most designer hotels, this is
one which by its warmth, can genuinely be called home
in Amsterdam. Blakes Hotel Keizersgracht 384 Amsterdam (+31 20 530
is the website of The Observer newspaper (UK) whose edition of Sunday,
September 1st 2002 featured a review by Patricia Cleveland-Peck
of Blakes, Amsterdam.
pdf version of this article