Victoria Tea Festival heats up
By Jessica Woollard
Tea is trendy right now. Somehow in the last few years, the stuffy English staple has been wholly made-over into a hip libation, attracting a cult following of connoisseurs who can distinguish rooibos from oolong as quickly as a wine dilettante knows gris from grisio.
No doubt, walking around downtown Victoria, you’ve noticed there are more tea shops here than in most cities. All within a few blocks of each other, you’ll find smaller enterprises like century-old Murchie’s and Victoria’s own Silk Road and Special Teas, as well as one of three Victoria locations of the über trendy David’s Tea.
Having established itself as a centre for tea enthusiasts, Victoria proudly hosts North America’s largest tea exhibition, the Victoria Tea Festival, running this year on February 18 and 19 at Crystal Garden. Now in its sixth year, the tea festival has evolved from a small, one-day exhibition, to a two-day event featuring more than 40 exhibitors and 200 volunteers and attracting more than 3,300 people, some making Victoria a yearly destination holiday because of the Tea Festival.
Walk the aisles and taste hundreds of black, green, white, oolong, and herbal teas produced by local, national, and international vendors; learn from various tea talks, covering how soil and preparation technique affect taste, how to cook and make cocktails with tea, and how tea benefits your health. Best of all, shop for all your tea essentials—pots, cups, and cozies of all colours and characters. Like many tea enthusiasts, I’m thrilled that tea’s new trendiness has prompted the production of adorable tea-ware—a different cup for every flavour, I say, just as Belgian beers each have their own glass!
The Victoria Tea Festival is a non-profit festival, with all proceeds benefiting Camosun College Child Care Services. Weekend tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Purchase tickets at: Silk Road, Serious Coffee, Murchie’s, and Camosun College Child Care Services Office.
While you’re in town for the Festival, take advantage of a few other tea-related attractions: blogger Holly Rose covered some hot spots for tea in town, and I blogged about beating the winter blues with a simply tea-licious.
Victoria truly is a town of tea—come celebrate the tea renaissance with us!