Da Lat festival brews up perfect cup of tea
Vietnam's first Tea Culture Festival kicked off last night with a dazzling cultural performance in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat.
More than 2,000 artists from Ho Chi Minh City and Lam Dong Province - where DaLat is situated - took part in the two-hour performance which was accompanied by a pageant in which 35 famous tea brands were highlighted.
Ngnyen Kim Phong, chairman of the Vietnam Tea Association, said at the ceremony: "Vietnam has a long history of tea production and ceremonial drinking. Tea is also a major agricultural export."
"Through the festival, we would like to promote tea production."
Two large fairs opened last Saturday to showcase the nation's traditional, tea-related ceremonies and business activities. Visitors could enjoy local tea ceremonies as well as those from China, Japan and South Korea.
A small exhibition with 200 rare and old teapots displayed by an individual collector was also held.
The festival offers visitors a chance to make tours to local tea farms and processing plants like the factory in Cau Dat and tourist sites like Tra Tam Chau and Tra Tien.
Opened in 1927, the Cau Dat tea factory was the first in Lam Dong to make high-quality tea products for export. Displayed in the plant are rare pictures of tea production 50 years ago.
It also has on display 80-year-old machines and old tea gardens while long-serving workers will take visitors down memory lane to the early days of tea-growing in the province.
Competitions are scheduled to be held to nominate Che Viet (or Vietnamese Tea), the national brand, and award the Golden Tea Trophy for quality tea.
The Tea Culture Cup will be given for displaying best knowledge of tea ceremonies with points awarded for garments, equipment, and performance.
The four-day festival will end on Sunday night with a parade of a giant teapot and ceremony in which 2,000 participants will drink tea.
Festivities are also scheduled to be held in other places like Bao Loc Town which grow tea.
Vietnam has some 125,000ha under tea in 33 provinces with half a million farmers making their living from the crop.
Lam Dong is considered the tea basket, accounting for 27% of the national output.
The Vietnam Tea Association hopes to achieve exports of US$300mil by 2011, three times the current figure.
(Source: Viet Nam News)
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