Twining drops in for a cuppa
‘Tea anyone?’ took on a whole new meaning for guests at a Queenstown hotel when a 10th generation British Twining turned up, teapot in hand, ready to serve. Stephen Twining, director of corporate relations for Twinings Tea in London, enjoyed a true English ‘High Tea’ at Distinction Queenstown Nugget Point Hotel with staff and clients of Twinings New Zealand. His visit follows another by the son of Dilmah founder Merill J Renando, Dilhan Fernando. He attended a celebration marking 25 years of the brand in New Zealand at Millbrook in July. Mr Twining travels the world promoting the family’s hottest new teas and he’s well qualified . . . naturally, the man grew up around tea. ‘‘I didn’t become a regular, serious tea drinker until I was about 14 or 15. None of us had to join the company if we didn’t want to. It was important to have a passion for tea, which I have.’’ He drinks between 10 and 15 cups of tea a day typically starting with an English Breakfast, or now the newlylaunched Assam Bold. A Darjeeling may suffice mid-morning, followed by an Earl Grey or Lady Grey cuppa after lunch. Herbal infusions were his after-dinner preference. ‘‘It depends on the weather really,’’ Mr Twining said. Tea and the very British ‘High Tea’ are making a comeback globally, as tea, renowned for its antioxidant health benefits, now competes with coffee on the world stage. ‘‘Certainly in some countries we are seeing a revival, something of a renaissance of the High Tea and New Zealand is on that list.’’ The traditional High Tea turned on by Distinction Group executive chef Ken O’Connell two weeks ago, where Twining was guest of honour, featured scones, jam and cream, cupcakes, pecan slice and, of course, cucumber sandwiches. ‘‘More people are starting to explore the world of tea and celebrate its differences.’’ Just like a good wine served in the right glass, tea has a ‘nose’, which is very important to its flavour.
Taste for it: Stephen Twining, of Twinings Tea in London, enjoys a good Kiwi cuppa.