The epicentre of all things fashionable, whether it be fashion or cuisine has decided on a champion. Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge France came to a rather explosive conclusion as the acclaimed showcase for French know-how and etiquette, Institut Paul Bocuse proved its prowess once again by presenting the quintessential 21st century high tea that has been perfected to the ‘tea’.
It is no secret that France is the guardian of genuine know-how in gastronomy and hospitality as it is in excellent taste and fashion. Expectations were sky high as the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge was launched in France and it must be said that those expectations were not only met, they were immersed over and above in all things tea. Among the magnificent spreads of truly tea-inspired high tea fare to the wonderfully merging flavours and aromas, the judges were left spellbound by that typically French je ne sais quoi of it all. However, a winner must be chosen. And it was the spectacular high tea of Thibaut Idenn and Pierre Jean Arpurt from Institut Paul Bocuse that stood out from amongst it all.
They started off with a Rolled Season’s Asparagus, Morel Tartare, Quail egg and raw ham chips that was paired up with the Udawatte tea from the WATTE selection, the Pinot Noir of teas, which reflected the grassy notes of the tea. Their second dish, Scallops in Cannelloni, Orange and Carrot was paired up with the cocktail, Hindi Marnier based on the elegant and classy Earl Grey Tea. This was followed by Tea Steamed Bar Fillet, Assiette of Cabbage and Ceylon Souchong Tea Mayonnaise. The smoky flavour of the Ceylon Souchong tea gave a deeper resonance to the dish with its slight cinnamon notes.
The mocktail Serendipity composed of Dilmah Keemun Special Leaf Tea blended perfectly with a Grand Marnier and Dark Chocolate Baba. Granny Smith Apple and Rhubarb Spiral in a Tatin style pairs very well with the Green Tea Fizz made up of Lemongrass and Peppermint Sencha Green Tea and a mixture of rhubarb juice, lemon and elderflower syrup with the rhubarb in the food resonating with the rhubarb in the drink. Their creation Rose Saint Honoré, a tribute to Pierre Hermé, the sweet-toothed genius and inspired creator is created with Dilmah Rose with French Vanilla with its with delicate feminine notes playing with the underlying black tea notes until the very end. The judges for the event were Fabrice Sommier – Head sommelier of Georges Blanc group, Bernard Ricolleau – French Prime Minister’s former Maitre d’hôtel, Bernd Uber – Black Hat Chef and one of the most respected WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) judges and Dilhan C. Fernando – son of Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando
Thibaut Idenn and Pierre Jean Arpurt will be joining the exclusive ranks of high tea National Winners who are gearing up for the Real High Tea Global Challenge in Sri Lanka this July. They will be competing with 20 other National winners from 13 countries in the Toughest Tea Challenge in the world which has been creating great tidal waves in the global culinary tapestry ever since its inception in 2007. Will Institut Paul Bocuse show the world that France is as proficient in tea as it is in wine? Only time will tell.