To Celebrate Holi, our Creative Director Ann Louise Roswald shares with us her love India and how the country continues to inspire her.

My Love of India

Ever since a back packing trip to India at 20 years old, this country has inspired me. It has drawn me back over the years, both for leisure and professionally.

Whilst running my fashion design label, I spent a lot of time in India working with manufacturers, embroiderers and textile printers.

Last year just before lockdown, I was fortunate to go back to India with my four children in tow!

To be back in the country I have loved so much and missed having not visited for over 10 years gave me a new zest for life and crave those wanderlust urges all over again!

We visited coffee and tea plantations – a whole new experience to my previous visits. To watch my children soak up the culture filled with me joy.

What I most love about India is the daily feast of colour. This is exaggerated during any celebrations, and they do have a lot!

I have been fortunate to be there for weddings, witnessed pilgrimages, and even took part in the festivities for the Dalai Lama’s 60th birthday! However, one thing I do have on my bucket list is to be in India to celebrate Holi.

Holi, the Festival of Colour

Holi is an ancient Hindu festival, which has since become popular among non-Hindu communities as well. The festival celebrates spring, love, and new life. Many families hold religious ceremonies during Holi, following the Hindu traditions. For others, Holi is a time for fun – a two day colourful festival, with dancing and singing.

The first day of Holi is traditionally marked with a bonfire. People gather and celebrate triumphing over evil. It is the second day of the festival that most people recognise however. This is when the famous scenes of throwing powder paint, called Gulal, and coloured water happen.

Holi is also known as the “festival of colours”. It heralds the arrival of spring after winter and is celebrated as a day of spreading happiness and love.

I cannot think of better time to celebrate such things. It has been a long year and as we hope to see restrictions easing.

As a textile designer, India is all about colour. I think this is summarised perfectly in one of my favourite quotes from ex-vogue editor as Diana Vreeland “Pink is the Navy Blue of India”. To western eyes, Navy Blue is associated with conservative respectability and sensibility. In India, pink exemplifies tradition and balance.

Indian Tea Taster Kit

In our own ode to Holi, we have put together three of our much loved Indian teas to create a NEW Indian tea taster kit, a delicious seasonal selection, perfect for the spring and summer months.

meghalaya lakyrsiew

The first offering from our Indian Tea Taster Kit is Meghalaya Lakyrsiew. This deep, rich and decadent tea is perfect for after dinner or a dessert substitution.

The Indian province of Meghalaya lies between Darjeeling and Assam and has only recently been cultivated. Lakyrsiew estate is set in rolling hills between 3,300 and 4,500 feet above sea level.

Lakyrsiew means ‘the awakening’. This amazing black tea shares characteristics with Darjeeling being prepared in a similar fashion using plants of the same variety. The care and attention taken during manufacture is of the highest order and organic cultivation ensures a rich diverse soil quality.

The leaves are large and twisted, slowly unwinding during infusion to release the unique and complex flavours.

Since Holi is a celebration of Spring, we have chosen our very unique Peach Tea. This tea is sweet and refreshing, reminiscent of summer days.

A mixture of large leaf Indian and China white tea, our Peach Tea  is juicy and delicious, with peach pieces and sunflower petals. It can be enjoyed brewed hot as well as iced so is a perfect option for the warmer months.

Having tried this tea for the first time recently, I was totally blown away. Personally, I am not a huge fan of peaches or peach flavours so this tea would never have been my first choice. However, when I was offered a cup by David Higgins, I was shocked. It is now right there at the top of my favourite Higgins tea list. I shouldn’t be too shocked however, I haven’t had a Higgins tea I haven’t liked.

finest darjeeling tea

And of course, no Indian Tea selection would be complete without Darjeeling. For this taster kit, we have chosen Darjeeling Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Known as the champagne of teas, this is the finest grade of tea from Darjeeling. Masterfully cultivated in challenging conditions from Himalayan tea bushes and the resulting quality is outstanding. The tea delivers a rich cup with a delightful and prized muscatel aroma.

 

I hope you enjoy this trio of rather wonderful teas and let’s all celebrate ‘New Beginnings’ together.

Ann Louise Roswald