So wrote Pablo Neruda, one of Chile's favourite sons in his Ode to a Tea Box. You can imagine him turning an exquisitely made box of tea in his hand as its unmistakable fragrance transported him back to that tropical country of elephants and lashing monsoons from whence it came. And now the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge sets the stage this October to bring all those stories and thrills to life.

Dilmah, the Sri Lankan family tea company masterminded the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge in 2007. Incidentally -real' is a reference to the way Dilmah is made. Dilmah tea is hand-picked and made the traditional way in order to retain its subtle yet authentic characteristics. Passionately committed to tea Dilmah saw that high tea was moving away from the cup of tea around which this indulgent and appealing social occasion was initially created. With the aim of putting tea back in high tea, Dilmah embarked on a quest for the ultimate 21st century real high tea.
The Challenge done in collaboration with the World Association of Chefs Societies has been conducted in various countries across the world like Australia, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and the Netherlands. Beautiful Chile with its dramatic history and unusual beauty is Dilmah's next Real High Tea Challenge destination.

A long ribbon that extends from the middle of South America's West coast straight down to its Southern tip, Chile is surrounded by every imaginable geographic terrain. The mighty Andes from the East, the restless Pacific from the West, the scorching Atacama from the North, and the blinding white of the Antarctica from the South marks it isolation from the rest of the world. It is perhaps this enchanting oddity that makes Chile markedly different from the rest of the region. Like its love of tea in the coffee heartland.
The only major tea-drinking country in Latin America, Chile has its own quaint tea ritual, affectionately referred to as-onces'.  A peculiar habit inherited from the British settlers in the 19th century, onces entails a light meal served alongside tea. Deeply rooted in the Chilean food culture this tea time tradition can vary from a simple cup of black tea and freshly baked marraqueta (Chilean French bread rolls) to a lavish affair which includes everything from elaborate pies, cakes, crepes, fruit tartlets and even ice cream. It is said that the tradition of onces originated from the workers in the saltpetre mines. Run by the English, the workers would have their tea time accompanied by shots of fire water called aguardiente in the local dialect. To disguise the word, they simply called it once, now referred to in the plural as-onces'.

Regardless of its origins, this tradition is a true reflection of Chileans' love for food. Chilean culture of gastronomy is an exciting combination of traditional Spanish and native Chilean cuisine, heavily influenced by the European food culture, especially those of France, Germany and Italy. This makes it a perfect destination for the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge.
Open to all culinary professionals the Challenge seeks to marry tea into the local traditions of gastronomy, inspiring them to look at new innovative ways to use tea in food and beverages. The panel of judges for the Challenge comprise of WACS reference judge and Black Hat chef Bernd Uber, Director Dilmah and Dilmah School of Tea Dilhan C. Fernando and well-known chef and Dilmah tea ambassador for Chile Mat

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