Harbour City Hong Kong’s sixth annual Chocolate Trail 2015 (23rd January to 1 March 2015) offers more than just the consolidation of top chocolate retailers across the world. Besides a unique “Bean-To-Bar” chocolate appreciation journey, Harbour City will also host a schedule of chocolate workshops and seminars led by experts in their respective fields. One of the more unexpected workshop was the pairing of premium chocolates with traditional Chinese tea conducted by local chocolate lover Ms. Katie Chan and Tea Master-in-Chief of Chinese tea brand Fook Ming Tong Ms. Ji Yu Qin.
Chocolate Expert Katie Ka Yan Chan graduated from King’s College London with a degree in Nutrition and oversaw the developing of a range of mass market chocolate products for the renowned chocolate brand – “awfully chocolate.” With her passion for chocolate, she entered the realm of chocolate tasting, earning a certificate coutest of the International Institute of Chocolate Tasting in the UK before starting her own chocolate trading business – The Chocolate Club Hong Kong in 2013.
Tea Master-in-Chief of Fook Ming Tong, Ms Ji Yu Qin graduated from the Department of Tea at Anhui Agricultural University. Since she has been working as a tea researcher for more than 50 years at the Tea Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Master Ji has become an expert and familiar with tea cultivation, harvesting, manufacturing and validation process. She also taught at the Agricultural University, earning her title as a Tea Lecturer. Today, she is responsible for the quality control of Fook Ming Tong’s products, furthermore providing academic and operational advice to improve the quality of tea. We were served some of the top grade tea selections from Fook Ming Tong.
The pairing of Chocolate with wine is pretty common these days but the introduction of traditional Chinese tea added yet another way to savour our chocolates. It was a small but cozy pairing session with other tea lovers in Hong Kong. Given the warmth and open attitude exhibited by the participants, I felt really comfortable asking our experts (probably pretty amateurish) questions on tea appreciation and the deliberations behind some of the pairings.
They presented a total of 3 different pairing options but the one that really caught my heart was Wuyi Da Hong Pao (Great Red Robes) with Robuchon Passion Fruit Chocolate. Da Hong Pao is a prestigious Wuyi Oolong Tea. According to legend, the tea cured an illness suffered by the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that tea originated. Three of these original bushes, growing on a rock on Mount Wuyi and reportedly dating back to the Song Dynasty, still survive today and are highly venerated. Famously expensive, Da Hong Pao can sell for up to US$1,025,000 per kilogram or US $35,436 per ounce (20g of Da Hong Pao tea from one of the mother plants was sold for ¥156,800 in 1998). The sweetness from Robuchon Passion Fruit lightens the intense flavour from Da Hong Pao and gives its a refreshing hint of passion fruit in the aftertaste.
The pairing of Yunnan Supreme BLACK TEA (Golden Needle) with Leonidas Pineapple Butter Cream (White Chocolate) offered a unique way of achieving our favourite ‘Milk Tea’ flavour! The addition of Robuchon Yuzu Chocolate introduced yet another layer of fragrance to the Fuding Jasmine Silver Needle. Jasmine flowers was painstakingly bundled together to infuse floral fragrance to the otherwise mildly flavoured Silver Needle.
It is amazing how the pairing of two seemingly unrelated delicacies can create so much fun. If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong over the Chinese New Year long weekend, be sure to visit Harbour City Chocolate Trail with your loved ones and have fun bonding over tea and chocolates. Here are the full information for your visit:
Address: 7-27 Canton Road, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily
Tel: (852) 2118 8666
Facebook (Chinese): HarbourCity
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here.