May 23, 2013

The East India Company

The East India Company

Yesterday I was invited to a networking event with a twist at the East India Company in London. An evening of tea and chocolate tasting whilst learning about the rich heritage behind an iconic brand that has shaped the world of tea.

The East India Company founded over 400 years ago was a trading company that brought back silk, cotton, tea and other exotic goods from the Indian subcontinent to Britain. The name is synonymous with royalty and its roots have firmly carved their name into British history.

Last night I attended their tea shop near Oxford Circus for a small female entrepreneur networking event that was all about forming new relationships as well as giving us food for thought, literally. I love meeting new people as much as I love learning about food and so last night was a pleasant surprise from all the other networking events I’ve attended in the past.

After the tea inspired cocktails were sipped and good conversations started flowing we were invited to learn about chocolate from an artisan chocolatier, Sudi Piggot. After working with well known names in the chef world she decided to open up a patisserie and cooking school in South London. Sudi talked us through the process of getting couverture from cacao, why you temper chocolate and we joyously finished with a tasting of infused chocolates.

Next on the agenda was tea tasting from master tea taster for the East India Company, Lalith Lenadora. We were taken through the stages of tea productions, from picking the buds and leaves to what constitutes white tea, green tea and black tea. They sell around 120 different varieties selected from some of the very best estates around the world – I certainly didn’t want to shout out when we were asked which tea we drink…I really don’t think the answer they were looking for was ‘PG Tips or Twinings’!

Their newest Chakra range particularly captured my interest. A range of 6 different varieties of infused teas that all balance the different energy sources in your body. Meant to be brewed and sipped at different times of the day so your body is completely balanced and calm.

After filling my inquisitive void for the day I wandered round the shop and learnt more about the foodie goodies they create – jams, chutneys, coffee, biscuits, salts, not forgetting to mention tea pots and beautiful crockery for the perfect cup of tea.

It’s not often I attend an event that moves me to write a blog post but this one was certainly a networking event like no other.

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