Tea was the name of the game, and the taste of it, when an AUT University senior lecturer and student went to Sri Lanka this month.
Senior lecturer in Culinary Arts John Kelleher and Bachelor of International Hospitality Management student Nicole Gomes spent a week in Sri Lanka with Dilmah Tea, after finishing the runners up in the 2012 Dilmah High Tea Challenge New Zealand.
The action packed trip included visits to tea plantations, sightseeing, learning about how tea is made and visits to Dilmah Tea factory.
Kelleher said the group, which included the competition winners and winner of a consumer competition, tasted plenty of tea on the excursion, but also had the chance to see other facets of the Dilmah business.
One of these excursions included a visit to the MJF Charitable Foundation Center in Moratuwa (south of Colombo) where the chefs and tea-drinkers were able to leave their mark by painting on a mural.
A highlight for Kelleher was travelling to the tea bungalows on the Ceylon Tea Trails. While there he said they had high tea and tea every morning before breakfast.
He also got the chance to visit the New Paradise Spice Garden in Mawanella, seeing pepper, clove and nutmeg trees, being able to see, touch and smell these spices at their first stages. He can now bring this knowledge and photos home to share with his students to help with their learning.
The final day of the trip saw the pair presenting a snippet of their gold medal deserving contemporary high tea. They chose to serve Manuka smoked trevally quiche and a frappe of green tea with jasmine petals, ginger and lemon in the new Dilmah T-lounge.
They were the first people to use the brand-new Dilmah T-Lounge and served their high tea to Dilmah Tea founder Merrill J Fernando, his son and other guests.