Two women, two businesses, one big idea â€“ and it all starts with a cup of tea.
The First Annual Pacific Rim Tea Festival kicks off Friday, the brainchild of Cheryl Graham of Tofino Tea Bar and Sharryn Modder of Thay Tea in Ucluelet.
From cooking to sipping, imbibing and just connoisseuring, the festival celebrates that tea has something for everyone in the bag, said Graham.
â€œItâ€™s nice to be able to do something that you love, and itâ€™s nice to be able to do something that can embrace everyone in the community. Weâ€™ve got a little something for every one, for every walk of life,â€ she said.
About to complete her certification as a tea sommelier, Graham said presentations range from pharmacist Laura McDonald talking about sipping tea for your health to a session by Cheryl Graham on tea as a culinary experience for use in recipes and pairings with things like chocolate.
Want something fragrant, relaxing or invigourating? A Tea 101 will give the overview in a tasting setting, where participants will learn to discriminate between green, white, black, oolong, and puerh, with Brendan Waye â€œThe Tea Guy.â€
Why settle for crumpets? Chocolatier Riadh Falvo from Bumble & Oak in Vancouver will host an evening of tea and chocolate and chocolate fondue.
The West Coast Afternoon Tea
will see Chef Ian Riddick joined by Certified Tea Sommelier Del Tamborini in a BYOTP- Bring Your Own Tea Pot event, with prizes for the funkiest or most interesting teapots.
A Kidâ€™s Tea Party Pre â€“ Screening party will provide bit and beverage before a matinee performance of Alice in Wonderland at Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre.
A Cocktails & Mocktails Reception
will combine appies and tea-infused beverages.
Other local businesses participating will include Norwoods, Long Beach Lodge Resort and Whiskey Landing Lodge.
Graham said interest in the event has already grown enough that more people are planning on coming on board with the event next year.
Sharryn Modder of Thay Tea in Ucluelet is on the board of the Vancouver Tea Festival, which just enjoyed its first annual event.
She is a certified tea sommelier, and she was eager to fill the gap left when the Victoria Tea Festival was cancelled this year.
Luring tea aficionados to the scenic West Coast for a tea break was a stroke of inspiration.
â€œPeople are coming from Vancouver and Victoria,â€ Modder said.
â€œCheryl and I both love tea and we want other people to love tea. We thought this was a great way to introduce people and deepen their knowledge of tea,â€ she said.
You can pick up a schedule at Thay Tea or Tofino Tea Bar, or visit www.pacificrimteafestival.com.