DILMAH Tea CEO Merrill J. Fernando and one of his two sons, Dilhan, was in Cebu City to formally open the first Dilmah t-Bar in the country at the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu Lobby Lounge. Not your ordinary brand of tea, Dilmah prides itself with the single original 100 percent Ceylon tea passed down from generation to generation. Mr. Merrill J. Fernando has been a tea grower since 1950. A unique brand that sees business as a matter of human service, Dilmah Tea is manufactured the traditional way to ensure the delicate flavors are retained, and believes in producing “tea with a soul.”
Going beyond one’s daily cuppa, innovative events have been designed by Dilmah with tea at the core of it, designed to enhance the guests’ experience and introduce them to a new level of tea such as the Tea Mixology, Tea Gastronomy, the Culinaire and several more, bringing a paradigm shift in the way the world looks at tea. And to give Cebu the unique experience of using fine Ceylon tea in the preparation of various cuisines, as well as pairing food with tea, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu General Manager Silva Nishan, a Sri Lankan himself and Dilmah Tea father and son owners, Merrill and Dylan Fernando hosted an evening of Tea Gastronomy at the hotel’s elegant Santa Maria Ballroom with Executive Chef Roberto Kunitz creating the dishes. Singer Kate Torralba serenaded the guests to enhance the dining experience.
German Executive Chef Roberto joined Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu only last January, bringing with him his culinary credentials as a Certified Master Chef from Heidelberg and his globetrotting experiences as well as a number of culinary awards. His cooking skills are deeply rooted, having grandparents who owned an ice cream café and parents who are excellent cooks. He is married to a Filipina, who hails from Baguio City.
The impressive five-course Tea Gastronomy Menu opened with Green Tea with Jasmine Flowers Sous Vide Cured Salmon with Black Tea Caviar. The pink salmon was infused with the green tea and cooked sous vide (method of cooking with the food vacuum sealed in plastic in temperature controlled steam bath) rendering the fish with incomparable taste and texture. The black tea caviar used molecular gastronomy technique of rendering liquids into spheres (spherification). This was paired with Green Tea with Jasmine Flowers.
I was privileged to sit beside Dilhan Fernando who graciously answered all my queries. Two- colored Ravioli with Braised Beef Cheek with Rooibus Butter Glaze followed and served with pure natural organic Rooibus tea. Rooibus is a healthy, rich flavored earthy tasting tea grown only in the mountainous region of Cederberg in South Africa. Mango-Strawberry Tea Sorbet refreshed our taste buds for the main course, Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Dilmah Moroccan Mint Green Tea Béarnaise Sauce and Sauteed Mushrooms. The robust flavor of tender beef tenderloin was easy on the palate with the hint of mint green tea in the Bearnaise sauce and washed down by hot Moroccan Mint Green Tea. Dessert was a dramatic creation of Earl Grey Chocolate Maracaibo Cream and Dilmah Lemon Tea Ice Cream inside a Chocolate Sphere perched on Rose with French Vanilla Orange Cake. Hot Chocolate Syrup was poured over the sphere to melt and reveal the fillings. Seasonal Flush, Dilmah’s most exclusive of all teas and a true connoisseur’s delight was served last. Twice a year, if weather conditions are perfect, the rare indulgence of Seasonal Flush is enjoyed. These teas are limited edition and a launch event, such as the Dilmah Tea Gastronomy for discerning guests and invitees, is an ideal platform. The golden-rose colored liquid was light and mild to the taste.