Real Chai and a giveaway!
Here’s another one of our favourites from the Capital Region Farmers Markets. Soy is the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and can function immediately, as if she has an ‘On’ button. I, on the other hand, take a while before I am fully functional. Imagine weekend mornings, though- Soy is up and bounding about, impatiently waiting for me to leave the warmth and comfort of my doona at what to me, is an ungodly hour for a weekend, so she can go to the markets. Don’t get me wrong, I love the markets- it’s always busy and once I get there I am always captivated by new finds. It’s the inertia when leaving my warm bed and getting out into the cold that’s the problem. Whenever I’m in that semi-conscious limbo of begging for 5 more minutes or dragging myself out of bed, what actually gets me out is the promise of a steaming cup of spicy, warming chai…. Mmmm….
Unless you live in a hole, you must have noticed the chai craze that has hit Australia. The word ‘chai’ means tea in a number of languages, and has become synonymous with a particular spiced milky tea- usually with ginger, cardamom and masala spices. Nearly every coffee joint offers a “chai latte” nowadays, and you can even get instant “chai”. Ok, so I am being a snob and putting inverted commas on those versions of chai, because to me, flavourings, powders and syrups are not real chai. After trying a couple of “chais” to see what all the fuss was about, I must say I really didn’t like it. The chais I had were cloyingly sweet and just tasted like heated milk with fake syrup. So when P and A told us about the chai they found at the markets early last year, I was definitely sceptical. But they gave us some of the chai they bought and I was really blown away by the aroma of the tea leaves and spices. I brewed the chai according to the instructions and… I loved it! Just to be sure, the next time I saw the Real Chai stall at the markets, I had to buy a cup of chai to know what it was really meant to taste like. And it was delicate yet flavourful, with just the right balance of spice without it being overpowering.
What was even better, was knowing that Real Chai is Canberra-born! It’s the brainchild of Anthea Cahill, who I had the pleasure of chatting with recently. Anthea told me that she discovered chai tea when she was travelling in the Czech republic. She was amazed… she hadn’t tasted anything like it before, and learnt how to make it. When she was back in Canberra in her public service job, she would make chai for her colleagues at work (like a real chaiwallah!), and played around with different blends until she perfected her very own chai recipe. Anthea said that she knew from the time she fell in love with chai when she was overseas, she wanted to make chai her job. And she finally did, in 2008, leaving her job and pursuing her passion for chai full-time. Remember when I said that I initially didn’t like chai? That’s cos that was the fake stuff! Anthea’s name for her chai, Real Chai, came about because when people expressed their surprise at actually liking her tea after having some other chai imposters, she would say, “Well, that’s because this is real chai!” Anthea also notices something funny- our website name- honey and soy- are essential ingredients in making chai! See, we’re meant to be
Anthea and her small team mix and package all their blends themselves, locally. And Anthea is always working on new flavours. Soy and I actually saw Real Chai stocked at a health food store at the Gold Coast when we were there last year, and we were really excited to see a local business going places. The Real Chai stall at the markets is usually my first stop every week, and I usually buy my cup of chai, bleary-eyed, from Jem, who this week asks if I want to try the chocolate chai. I actually wonder how that will taste, because I just cannot imagine chocolate and chai. I think that the chocolate would overpower the delicacy of the spices, but no, it is really good. The delicate spice flavour is still there, but the light hint of chocolate gives a full roundness to the aftertaste. It’s so good that I have a full cup of it that morning. There are very few things that Soy doesn’t eat. So when she dislikes something, she really doesn’t like it, and cardamom is one of those things. So unfortunately for her, she can’t drink more than a sip of chai. But fortunately for me, I don’t have to share!
Real Chai is the only chai that I will drink now. But don’t just take my word for it, you can brew it at home and try it for yourself, because we have 20 Real Chai samples to give away! And Anthea has graciously offered to post them anywhere around the world so everyone can participate!
All you have to do is leave a comment below and answer this question, “What is it that you like about chai?” and if you haven’t tried it before, “What makes you want to try Real Chai?” The competition will close at midnight AEST 18th August 2010.
Remember to retweet this post so that all your friends can have a chance to win as well.
Thank you to the lovely Anthea and her team at Real Chai.
You can find Real Chai at a number of markets in Canberra, a number of stockists around Australia, or buy at their online store. Real Chai ships internationally.