If you enjoy tea and were in Last Vegas on Saturday, November 11, then you probably were at the 2012 Las Vegas Tea Festival at the amazing The Arts Factory. The Festival was a perfect demonstration of what is happening in today’s tea industry – sincere passionate people are taking an idea and thinking “out of the English Tea Cup” to introduce others to authentic tea. This festival was a perfect example of how tea is going beyond the norm to interest today’s consumers.
Naomi Rosen (Joy’s Teaspoon) and Louise Carruth’s (Little Candle Teas) definite passion for tea was confirmed through their efforts to provide all attendees an opportunity to learn about Japanese, Chinese, and Indian teas through tastings, pairings, and classes. The many, many months of preparation came together on Saturday and come together it did. Exhibitors displayed teas, tea accessories, tea gifts, and artistic tea products by Clay Arts Vegas.
Although the introduction of Japanese, Chinese, and Indian teas were interesting, more research needs to be done on the details of each country’s teas. For me the highlights of the day were the tea-infused lunch and dinner formulated, prepared, and served by Chef Beni Velazquez of Bar & Bistro (www.barbistroaf.com) on E. Charleston Blvd. in downtown Las Vegas. “Tea/foodie” people are always looking for ways to combine their passions – so – why not infuse, blend, season/smoke our foods with tea!!! Let your imagination run with this luncheon menu . . . .
Four Season Roasted Tomato Soup
(Not being a tomato soup fan, I was not looking forward to this course but WOW! Were my taste buds ever surprised with the amazing flavors beyond tomato and basil.)
Basil, Lemongrass, Ginger, Sofrita, Thai infused with Four Seasons Tea
Loch Duart Scottish Smoked Salmon Salad
(Salmon was smoked with the Lapsang Souchong Tea)
Baby Watercress, Tomato, Spiced Pecans, Grilled Pear, Lapsang Souchong Tea infused Citrus Dressing
Masala Chai Tea Flan
A Spanish Custard with Chai Syrup
Does that not sound like an outstandingly delicious lunch? And then to top all this off we were served a Tea infused Genever with pomegranate, molasses, and lemon juice. Personally, I found the molasses and pomegranate combination enhanced the tea while allowing the tea malty-ness to linger.
Now, just wait until you read what we were served for dinner by Chef Beni and Mixologist Scott I should note that the tea-infused meals were not part of the Tea Festival registration fee but well worth the additional fee. My recommendation to Naomi and Louise when planning another Vegas Tea Festival would be to concentrate on the “cooking (entertaining) with tea”
Early evening brought us the pleasures of Chef Beni’s Four Course Tea Cuisine paired with hot teas and Mixologist Soctt’s cocktail creations to delight any palate.
Bristol Bay Scallops Consommé
Pan Seared Scallops, Carrots, Leeks, Wild Mushrooms, infused with Lovingly Lavender Tea
Tea Inspiration – Lovingly Lavender – Black Tea blended with French Lavender
Loch Duart Scottish Smoked Salmon Salad
Baby Watercress, Tomato, Spiced Pecans, Grilled Pear, Lapsang Souchong infused Citrus Dressing
Tea Inspiration – Lapsang Souchong – Pine Smoked, Chinese Black Tea
Cocktail Pairing – Atop Old Smokey
(Triple Smoke Scotch, Lapsang Souchong Syrup,
Aztec Chocolate Bitters, Old Fashioned Bitters)
Pineapple Crusted Baked Chuleta
Pork Chop, Spanish Chorizo & Cabrales Cheese Stuffed, Mahalo Infused Honey Brandied Applies
Tea Inspiration – Mahalo – Pineapple Green Tea
Cocktail Pairing – Bonzai – Nolet Gin, Mahalo Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Hibiscus Syrup, Presecco
Masala Chai Flan
Spanish Custard, Chai Syrup
Tea Inspiration – Masala Chai – Black Tea and Spice Blend
Chaitini – Vanilla Vodkam, Chai Liquer, Chai Syrup, Bailey’s, All Spice
I believe you would have to agree, I certainly experienced a day of “tea overload” . . . tea, tea everywhere and tea to drink, eat, savor, and crave for the next time.
Until we again share a cuppa, try new ways to enjoy your enjoy tea!
The Tea And Hat Lady