Whenever someone mentions “teatime”, images of the character from “Hogfather” are helplessly evoked in my head.
And that was what happened to me when blogger-friends Pam and Kei suggested that we head to TWG Tea because we’d surely make it in time for tea. Even though it was my first time at the restaurant, I was certain – even before entering – that there wouldn’t be anything Discworld-y there.
TWG (The Wellbeing Group) Tea, touted as a luxury brand of tea, hails from Singapore and has been around since 2008. They have branches in 16 countries in four continents. Through cooperation with the Rustans Group of Companies, TWG Tea opened their doors in the Philippines in November 7, 2012, which was the seventh international opening for the company. As of this writing, they have six branches in the Philippines, all found within Metro Manila. TWG is known for the specially handcrafted tea blends created from their collection of teas that range from 800 to a thousand.
Because it was still teatime (3-6PM), we could still order anything from their Tea Time Set Menu, all of which comes with either hot or cold tea. Kei asked for the Chic Set, which gave us three choices of their finger sandwiches. We chose foie gras, chicken with cream cheese infused with Comptoir de Indes Tea, and cucumber with cream cheese infused with Earl Grey Fortune. I loved the chicken sandwich; it had a good balance of meat and cheese.
Our tea was the recommendation of the maître d’hôtel: the Hypnosis Tea, which is one of the exclusive teas of TWG. It is a smooth mix of black tea with citrus fruits, made more flavorful by the addition of red berries and Japanese blossoms. I found it to have a calming effect.
Sometime after, I looked up “afternoon tea” and learned that, originally, there were two kinds: high tea and low tea. The former included sandwiches that had meat, fish, and egg in them and laid out on the usual table; basically, it was a light supper (or dinner, if that is what you call the evening meal) that was served among the lower classes of 18th and 19th century London who worked until 6PM. The meal gave them the necessary boost to make it through the rest of the working hours, just like the function of the Filipino merienda. The latter formerly had only tea served on low tables – like coffee tables – to the upper classes, who barely or rarely worked. High tea found its way to the houses of ladies and gentlemen when their household help were unavailable for days. And by then, tea sets weren’t limited to scones and crumpets but began to include Welsh rarebit, English muffins, and other sweet and savory treats.
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