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Tea as a Fine Wine: Grands Jardins

By Katrina Wild




In a world of evolving tastes and preferences, where tradition meets innovation, Grands Jardins emerges as a testament to a new way of experiencing tea. Born from a creative spark and a desire to redefine the essence of tea consumption, Grands Jardins presents a revolutionary concept—a fusion of tea and wine-style presentation.


The Story


Grands Jardins is the creation of Edouard Malbois and Vincent Mesnage, visionaries with a passion for innovation and a keen eye for consumer trends. Drawing from their diverse backgrounds — Edouard's journey in world creative and conceptual innovation and Vincent's expertise in world consumer trends and food behaviors — the duo converged on a singular mission: to elevate tea into a contemporary and sophisticated indulgence, akin to wine.


Grands Jardins Products


The 2023 collection boasts a range of five exquisite teas, each meticulously curated to showcase its unique qualities. From the floral explosion of spring to spicy notes, citrus zest, and a roasted signature, every tea is a testament to craftsmanship and aromatic excellence. Packaged in 75cl "ultra fresh" bottles or 4L squares, the teas cater to diverse preferences and occasions, ensuring a delightful moment of refreshment without the need for alcohol.

- Jasbire | White Tea, Ilam, Nepal
- Phuguri | Black Tea, Darjeeling, India
- Da Hong Pao | Oolong, Fujian, China
- Kagoshima | Roasted Green Tea, Kyushu, Japan
- Meung | Black Tea, Bokeo, Laos
- Tay Con Linh | White Tea, Ha Giang, Vietnam
- Satemwa | Smoked Black Tea, Shire Highland, Malawi




Each tea, meticulously selected from high-altitude terroirs and cultivated with exceptional care, embodies its own unique essence. Take Indian Black Tea from Phuguri, for instance, where a floral symphony of rose and orange blossom delicately mingles with hints of mango or apricot, culminating in a fruity fig finale. Meanwhile, the Chinese Da Hong Pao oolong unveils a canvas of woody cedar, blackberries, mirabelle plum, muscat grape, geranium, and subtle mineral undertones. With Laos Black Tea, a captivating aroma of honey, tamarind, prune, cocoa, waxed wood, and leather tantalizes the senses. Japanese Kuki Houjicha presents roasted nuances akin to toasted cereal, caramel, and cooked fruit, while Nepalese White Tea enchants with its burst of florals and notes of strawberry, honeysuckle, lemon, bergamot, and an understated herbal essence creates a lively, subtly astringent experience akin to a splendid white wine. The list continues to expand with exclusive teas like Vietnamese White Tea from Tay Con Linh in Ha Giang, Thailand's oolong from Mae Salong in Chiang Rai and Satemwa's Smoked Black Tea from Malawi, each beckoning with its origins, character, and an infusion protocol perfected to captivate the palate.

Water is as important as the tea leaves, many tea sommeliers would agree with this statement. Grands Jardins has taken into an account that water requires the same amount of attention to detail as their carefully sourced tea leaves. The water profile was meticulously designed to be an ideal fit for the aromatic fusion - low mineral content, subtly acidic, with little salt and absolutely no chlorine. And even more so precision to capture the best bouquet of each individual tea.


Philosophy & Vision


The brand’s philosophy centers on reshaping the perception of tea, infusing it with elegance and sophistication reminiscent of wine culture. This innovative approach emphasises a meticulous selection of teas from renowned gardens around the world. Grands Jardins embraces a commitment to integrity—no sugar, no additives—offering a pure tea experience that transcends boundaries.

Grands Jardins not only presents a novel way of enjoying tea but also envisions a future where tea complements the table just as elegantly as wine. With strategic partnerships with renowned gastronomic establishments and a vision to establish a core presence globally, the brand aims to pave the way for a new category of gourmet drinks, encapsulating the essence of French art de vivre: tea in the style of wine. Grands Jardins masterfully offers tea tasting experiences akin to indulging in fine wines, marking a significant leap in the realm of non-alcoholic, refined beverages and tea pairing in fine dining.


The Team


The The team made by Edouard Malbois and Vincent Mesnage is strongly equipped with innovation baggage. They decided to partner with Carine Baudry, aromatician and world-tea expert, to boost their unique sensory capabilities. With both Noémie Villard - artistic director, and Mélanie Deloze - experience director, they elevate further Grands Jardins mission along bringing a new tea art-de-vivre in the world. team's synergy, coupled with Edouard Malbois and Vincent Mesnage's own innovation baggage, found its guiding light in Carine Baudry, aromatician, expert tea taster and creator of Nunshen, as well as president of the jury for the world teas and infusions competition AVPA. Noémie Villard, artistic director, and Mélanie Delozé, experience director, elevate even further team's creative drive, mirroring Grand Jardin's ethos—where tea meets a symphony of taste and discovery.

Grands Jardins' gastronomic ambassador for 2023, Mallory Gabsi, a semi-finalist in Top Chef season 11 and co-host of 'Cauchemar en Cuisine' on M6, is a culinary prodigy from Belgium who has recently earned his first Michelin star and the title of best young chef. Collaborating closely with Mallory and his sommelier, Andréa, their partnership brings tea into the scene of fine dining and masterful pairing.


Where to find in France


- Restaurant Mallory Gabsi, Paris (Google Maps)
- Alan Geaam, Paris (Google Maps)
- Restaurant AM by Alexandre Mazzia, Marseille (Google Maps)
- ONOR by Thierry Marx, Paris (Google Maps)
- Restaurant NHOME, Paris (Google Maps)
- La pâtisserie du Crillon “Butterfly”, Paris (Google Maps)
- Alléno Paris (Google Maps)
- L’Auberge de Nicolas Flamel, Paris (Google Maps)
- Restaurant Ventrus - Parc de La Villette, Paris (Google Maps)


Collaboration with WanderlusTea


"As the founder of WanderlusTea, I am elated to announce my collaboration with Grands Jardins, ushering in an era of innovation and sophistication in the world of tea. These groundbreaking products, cold teas served wine-style in ultra-fresh 75cl bottles and long-life 4L squares, are poised to redefine the tea experience. This unique offering, free from preservatives, sugar, and with minimal theine, is a first-of-its-kind ritual that caters to the discerning tastes of consumers in Belgium. What sets them apart is not only the exceptional quality of the tea but also the foresight to tap into the world of high-end dining. Grands Jardins is set to establish an unparalleled connection between tea and gastronomy, elevating the experience of food and tea pairing in the most prestigious restaurants. This collaboration aims to introduce a distinguished product to the refined palates of connoisseurs and revolutionize the way tea is enjoyed in the culinary world. Together, we are poised to make a lasting mark on the tea industry, marrying innovation with the sophistication of high-end dining."


Grands Jardins. Grands Jardins - Les grands thés à la manière du vin. Available HERE.
Grands Jardins | LinkedIn. Available HERE.

References:


6play. Grands Gardins M6 Reportage. Available HERE.

BMF Business Reportage. L’Iconic Reportage : Grands Jardins, Du Thé à la manière du vin. Available HERE.

Claeys, S. (2023). Alexandre Mazzia lance un nouvel accord Thé & Champagne au restaurant AM (trois étoiles) à Marseille. La Champagne de Sophie Claeys. Available HERE.
Fine Dining Lovers (2023). Noël 2023 : trouvez le cadeau idéal pour un foodie. Available HERE.


Grazia (2023). Sans alcool les fêtes de fin d’années seront-elles plus folles ? Ces nouvelles boissons des plus innovantes risquent de vous convaincre ! Available HERE

Influencia. (2023). Le nouveau terrain de jeu du thé : le vin. Available HERE.

La Quotidienne. (2023). Du Thé comme un grand vin, qui l’eut cru! Available HERE.
Madame Figaro Cuisine. Le Thé prend de la bouteille. Available HERE.
Zepros. Grands jardins se mesure au vin. Available HERE.

Photos of Grands Jardins are by Victorie Terrade


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