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Australasia’s First Dilmah T-House

Australasia’s First Dilmah T-House Has Been Opened At Ballantynes Department Store In Christchurch.

When Richard Ballantyne and Merrill J. Fernando met in Christchurch in February this year, they soon agreed the family owned businesses would work well together to create a special place for people to be able to indulge in teas paired with tea inspired foods, cakes, pastries and sandwiches.

Rapid development of the project followed, including training in Sri Lanka for Ballantynes Chef Perri Saunderson and manager Sharron Ballantyne and the crafting of some of the fixtures for the elegant first floor venue at the central city store.

Named after the ‘t-series’ in the Dilmah range of teas, the t-house offers 23 of the series. The teas range from indulgent varieties of gourmet black teas to green tea, handmade white tea and infusions. The t-house will also offer Dilmah’s boutique Watte teas – four distinctively different teas from the premier tea growing regions of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), which demonstrate the beauty of terroir in tea.

Dilhan C Fernando, who is in New Zealand with his father Merrill J Fernando, says the variety and the authentic manner in which the teas are presented at the t-House are entirely unique in New Zealand and represent Merrill’s desire to bring ‘real tea’ to tea aficionados in New Zealand.

“The t-House opens at a time when there is a ‘renaissance’ in tea – driven by the identification of antioxidant derived health benefits in tea and a desire amongst a younger generation for natural goodness,” Dilhan says.

“Watte represents Merrill’s desire to share the special pleasure in tea for the teas offer an insight into the unimaginable variety in tea. Crafted on the similarities between wine and tea in mouthfeel and structure, they are Merrill’s tea ‘version’ of Champagne, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.”

Merrill J Fernando, the Founder of Dilmah, says Ballantynes is an ideal partnership for the venture because like Dilmah it is a family firm that supports the principles of ethical business and has strong ties to its community.

Dilmah fulfils the pledge that Merrill made in the 1950s, to make share the success of his business with the underprivileged, through its commitment to making business “a matter of human service”. The MJF Charitable Foundation, established by Merrill for this purpose, changes the lives of thousands of poor people each year.


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