|Located in South Asia, and bordered by China and India, Nepal is home to some of the largest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest which is the highest point anywhere on Earth. Nepal is comprised of 75 districts, one of which is the district of Ilam. Ilam is located in the Mechi Zone in the easternmost part of Nepal. It borders the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India, and enjoys the same soil and climatic conditions as Darjeeling. Ilam is also the name of the town that serves as the headquarters for the Ilam district. It is well known for its lush, beautiful tea gardens and for the exquisite leaves that are grown there. The Ilam Tea Estate was started in 1864 with tea seeds that were brought from China. The teas grown here are recognized around the world for their excellent quality.|
Grown on the Ilam Tea Estate high in the Himalayan Mountains at altitudes ranging from 4,500-5,000 ft., these olive green and brown leaves contain numerous tips with an invigorating aroma. When brewed, this medium bodied tea has an ecru cup with a sweet orange taste.
Brew tea at 212º - steep for 3 minutes.
Try pairing Nepal teas with soft cheeses, curries, fresh fruit, fish, mushrooms, custards, chocolate and desserts with cinnamon or nutmeg.
Ben's Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Nepal Black Tea
One of the great benefits to having a Summer garden is being able to enjoy the splendor of your efforts in the Fall and Winter. We were able to put up potatoes, onions, squash, apples, carrots and garlic as well as lots of produce that we froze and canned. The apples that haven't been pressed into cider have been looking a little sad, so we found this fantastic recipe for Butternut Squash and apples that is heavenly. And when I say "we" I don't actually mean "me" since I had nothing to do with this for the most part. I simply brewed the tea for the recipe then went back to work and waited for dinner. It was worth the wait! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did. Oh, and if you can ... find someone else to make it ... I'm convinced it makes the soup taste so much better that way!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1lb apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup brewed Nepal tea (1cup water + 2tsp Nepal black tea)
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Toasted walnuts, for garnish
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften (approximately 3 4 minutes). Add the squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (approximately 8 minutes, depending on how large your squash pieces are).
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour over the 2 tsp of Nepal black tea. Cover and steep for 4 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves.
To the saucepan, add the apples, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, black pepper, stock, and the brewed tea. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very soft (again depending on the size of your pieces this can take approx. 25 minutes).
Turn off the heat and, with an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return to the burner and re-heat on low heat. Add more water or broth if the soup needs to be thinned.
Turn your broiler on low and toast walnut pieces.
Ladle the soup into bowls and put in a dollop of sour cream and some toasted walnuts. Perfection!
VARIATION: We tried this version as well and we LOVE it.
(above) with Roasted Vegetables
Preheat the oven to 420.
Chop vegetables into cubes (2" approximately). We usually use potatoes, squash, onions, garlic and carrots - but choose your favorites.
Place the cubed veggies in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and rosemary.
Choose a baking dish that is large enough to accommodate the veggies in one layer (8x8 or 9x12). Spray the dish with canola spray and arrange the veggies in a single layer. Cover with aluminum foil.
Cook for 30-40 minutes until soft. Remove the foil, turn the oven to Low Broil, and broil the veggies until crisp and brown (not burnt).
If necessary, thin the soup with a little extra veggie broth. Put some roasted veggies in a bowl and ladle the soup over the vegetables. This is hearty and incredibly delicious!
||What a find!
|My wife and I love this tea! Brew is medium in body; taste is sweet initially, with supple tannin on the finish. Aroma has a flowery (maybe honeysuckle) note with a nice Muscat flavor. Have tasted back to back with a number of other Himalayan teas from S&V and this more than holds its own, often at half the price. I prefer this tea to the Mist Valley, which I find overly woody in character, whereas this Ilam has more flower and fruit notes. I also find this vastly superior to the S&V darjeeling blend, at a similar price. Stacks up well against the more expensive Darjeeling Margaret's Hope 2nd flush. This is a tea to keep in stock at all times, the ideal everyday sipper.|
||Nepal Ilam black - a teetotaler's citrus IPA
|Brew method: 3 oz tea in 8 oz water fresh off the boil. Steeped in a lidded mug for 5 minutes.
This is my second tasting of this tea and both times I have gotten a subtle but very clear citrus IPA flavor up front. Citrus, pine, hops. Smooth, not astringent. Light floral aftertaste. I am going to brew my next batch of kombucha with this leaf due to its hoppy quality.|
|- Nick B, CT|
|Darjeeling tea is only the fuss and over marketing from India. Darjeeling tea was taken from Illam and planted. Ilam is the orginal hub for the finest of all tea and is best kept secret.|
||Mild, very drinkable tea
|This Nepal Ilam reminds me of a Darjeeling with its wonderful smoothness and light nose. I dont get the hint of orange from this tea suggested in the description.|
|- DOMINIC DEGENEFFE, PA|
||Nepal Ilam, Black Tea
|Some years ago, in Katmandu, I blindly purchased a Kilo of loose tea. The 2.2 pounds became my go to tea when wishing a black tea. When the end was in sight the only mention of Ilam was from sites in Nepal. Import my own tea?? What a joy to find it being carried by Simpson and Vail.|
|- Henry Petersen, NJ|
||My favorite for many years
|This is my favorite tea! I like a tea thats not too strong and tannic, but still has a wonderful flavor and aroma, and for several years I was drinking darjeelings, but then one year wasnt able to find a darjeeling I liked. I read on a blog that someone with similar tastes had started drinking a tea from Nepal, found this one and have been stuck ever since! I keep trying other teas and darjeelings, but keep coming back to this one.|
|- Zoë, MD|
|This was the first Nepal tea that I tried and I ordered a sample size. Am I glad I experimented and tried this tea. It has a taste similar to the Assams, but just a tad sweeter and not as earthy. The flavor grew on me as I tried several cups. I plan on ordering more and adding this to the growing list of teas that I enjoy.|