Tea in the camp kitchen: enjoying an al fresco tea-party with Dean (right) and Paul.

Drinking tea in paradise is the perfect start to the year.

The tea-drinking year starts with a bang: in the Far North of this beautiful country drinking tea by a brook in a forest clearing.

And it’s no billy tea we’re swilling at our riverside rendezvous; my dear friend Dean comes up trumps with a spread that features tea-pot tea, fine china cups and superb cakes.

Such quality tea-partying is a grand way to see-in 2021. The old year was not a good one. In September, cancer claimed my Beloved – the man who, for nearly three decades, brought me my first cup of tea of the day and enthusiastically accompanied me on my tea-drinking travels.

Right about now, we should have been drinking our way around the South Island. Instead, though, I am at home in the North, introducing my brother to our sun, sand and culture.

And Dean’s forest feast is our first stop.

My Marks out of 10

Royal Albert Canterbury cup and saucer, c1939, courtesy of Dean’s granny.

Cup scores 10: Royal Albert Canterbury. Belonged to Dean’s grandmother, and he’s got it out especially for my visit. Superb.

Tea scores 9: Dilmah English breakfast, teabag made in pot. Dilmah is an old favourite and a staple of our house for many years (I never did break my Beloved of the habit of making tea with bags). Recently, though, I’ve thought it tasted a little flat. This brew, however, is made with pure forest springwater and is delicious.

Dean scores bonus points by making his own teapot, which, as you can see, is a great little pourer.

Setting scores 10: What could be better on a hot day than a camp kitchen beside a babbling brook and shaded by native forest? I bring fruit-mince tarts made by the chef at the delightful Le Bistro de Paris cafe in Whangarei, and another guest produces a loaf of genuine Lincolnshire plum bread, sent in a Christmas care package from home (it’s wonderful, rather like an old-fashioned tea loaf, and an excellent way to use up any tea left in the pot, should such a thing ever happen).

Dogs welcome? No, this is kiwi country, and they’re particularly vulnerable to our furry friends. Dean says a pair of kiwi often take a night-time stroll along the stream his water comes from.

Location: This spot is by invitation only, but the world is full of ideal places for you to create your own outdoors high tea.

Matt serves the fruit-mince pies while Dean is pleased to have found the milk jug – a hand-thrown pottery one from the 1970s.

One thought on “High tea in the New Zealand bush

  1. I love the way Dean is pouring your tea while looking straight at you Adelia, priceless and awesome teapot I want one. Have fun in the forest.

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