A rare tea and artisan chocolate soiree curated by The Tea Squirrel
Last week, I had the pleasure to curate and host an exclusive tea-centric experience as part of the Ground Floor Project at Alchemy by Alta in San Francisco. The Ground Floor Project includes a variety of cultural art endeavors, where music, food and art become the starting point to understand the DNA of cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle.
I’m on a mission to transform tea into an approachable and fun experience. I love tea and food pairings and I’m fascinated by the great potential tea has in bringing people together and bridging cultures. This was the perfect opportunity to turn my vision into reality.
Tanya Bello, Cultural Development Manager at Alchemy, believed in my vision and helped me turn it into a rare tea and artisan chocolate tasting journey.
We started off the evening with tea infused cocktails. Later, I demonstrated gong fu cha, the Chinese tea ceremony. We talked about the difference between brewing tea in a gaiwan as opposed to a western-style tea pot and I demonstrated and explained how a gaiwan works. We talked about tea pets and I introduced my own, the tea squirrel. I pointed out that the most fascinating thing about the Chinese tea ceremony is not its formality but the experience of slowing down, enjoying good tea and connecting with others.
The highlight of the evening was a flight of rare Chinese teas sourced by Silk Road Teas which we paired with award winning, artisan chocolates by Jade Chocolates. We had the pleasure of having Daniel Berkman, a renowned Bay Area electronic musician, composer and producer, who performed live during the event.
We had a white, a green and a black tea from China, all three from Fujian province, one of the main tea producing regions, located in south eastern China. They are small-batch, artisan teas, made to local custom. I encouraged everyone to focus on how each tea made them feel and what it reminded them of. I introduced the chocolate pairing with some tips on how to better enjoy it, by sipping tea, tasting chocolate and sipping tea again to allow the chocolate to melt and all the flavors to combine. Everybody was blown away by the experience of something new on the palate.
Here is the tasting menu:
And here is a photo gallery from the event.