Thursday, November 3, 2011

Writing this blogpost on a Via Rail train heading from Windsor to Toronto to Ottawa. Still can't believe they offer FREE wifi in economy :) Thanks VIA!

Hard to really pin point how this trip originated. It has been at least 3 years since my first and only trip to the nation's capital. Last time it was politics, this time it is food and friends (of course a bit of politics too). 

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I have recently started up my own coffee and tea company-- One Earth Coffee & Teas. My tea importer is from Ottawa and had advertised on Twitter about their participation in the Ottawa Tea Festival. I began investigating. The Ottawa Tea Festival is taking place this weekend Saturday November 5th 2011 and November 26th 2011. The festival celebrates not only tea but the cultures and ceremonies surrounding the many, many types of tea.  The first day will have all sorts of things happening including tea ceremonies by the Japanese, Korean, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and Indian communities, exhibitions, and tea tastings. The festival is taking place at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W. Admission is $15, and not only includes all the free tastings and festivities but is also a donation to Ashinaga, a  nonprofit organization based in Tokyo, Japan, which for over 40 years has been providing education focused financial and emotional support to children who have a parent/guardian with a serious disability, or who have lost one or both parents/guardians due to illness, accident, disaster, or suicide. Considering the tragic tsunami that struck Tokyo, I couldn't think of a more deserving cause.

The second day of the festival strays away from Ottawa City Hall, and takes place at two different venues: Maison Chaloin and Wasabi Restaurant. The day is scheduled around various workshops which you must register for in order to attend. There is everything from Tea Blending, to Tea and Food Pairings, to even Chocolate and Tea pairings... who would have thought. Haven't decided which session to attend yet. Perhaps you guys can help me decide. The workshops include:

  • 12:00 - 14:00 Tea 101 and Tea Beyond the Beverage
A fun and interactive workshop presented by visiting guest speaker, Yoon Hee Kim, where you will learn all about tea outside of a tea cup. You can use it as apotpourri and will discover many other uses for your every day life at this workshop! Location: Maison Chaloin, 256 Dalhousie Street.
  • 14:30 - 15:45 Tea and Chocolate Pairing
In this workshop we will provide 3 ganaches and 3 teas over the course of the tasting. A new selection of teas and chocolates will be prepared. Location: Maison Chaloin, 256 Dalhousie Street.
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Tea Blending 
This is an interactive blending workshop focused on the medicinal properties of teas and herbs. Location: Maison Chaloin, 256 Dalhousie Street.
  • 18:00 - 20:00 Tea and Food Pairing 
This new and exciting workshop will offer suggestions of what tea matches which types of food. For example, how the tannins in tea affect the flavour of food we  eat. Location: Wasabi Japanese Restaurant, 41 Clarence Street.

As mentioned above, the tea festival is only part of my reason for heading to Ottawa. The other part being two of my fellow foodie friends: Russ and Sara live in Ottawa. Last time we seen each other was last year when they met up with me in Melbourne, Australia. We went all out on the dining experience, enjoying a dinner degustation menu at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen followed by delicious cocktails at the Spice Market. Oh, the amazing memories. Can't wait to see where we go this time :D I know for a fact they won't let me down ;) I'll keep you all posted of course.

For more on the Ottawa Tea Festival click here.


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