Toronto Tea Festival

3 Feb

Tea enthusiasts in the city have never had more choice than they do right now. The Toronto Tea Festival (Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library) showcased an impressive display of vendors each offering their unique spin on blends or classic black, white and green teas. We were impressed with their use of the small space of the Appel Salon though it did feel congested at times.

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The fun of a festival like this is the talks and demonstrations. There’s only so much shopping one can do and it’s nice to get to take in some of the history and ritual that comes with tea-drinking. We’re bummed to have missed the Japanese tea ceremony. We did see the teacher walking around during the event in full traditional costume. We’re coming back next year just to see that!

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I can definitely see this event growing in the next few years and needing to move to a bigger venue (showcasing teas from around the world) though that probably depends on whether we will ever see a day when tea usurps coffee as the beverage of hardworking business people.

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It’s encouraging to see tea be the focus of such creativity and diversity. There was a bakery (Sugar Peony) that made tea flavoured macarons. Not especially unique, we know, but their take on flavours/ combinations was outstanding. Perhaps in addition to vendors of teas, the show would consider featuring more chefs and bakers who work with tea flavours in food next year. Up in Markham, for example, the Ten Ren chain infuses their entrees and desserts with tea flavours. There must be other restos doing something similar in TO. Also, what do hardcore tea-drinkers think of the Bubble Tea phenomenon? Quirky or bastardization? And, how have the Europeans changed tea-drinking? We really only saw the Asian approach to tea. What about beauty? We see a connection between the rise in popularity of tea as people strive to lead healthier lives. We think there’s tons of potential for this show. It’s an expanding market. We’re excited to see how this show will grow in the years to come.

 

 

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