Tea is the oriental beverage par excellence, but who says tea can not also be Made in Italy?
The history of Italian tea
Located in the Piedmont region, in the provinces of Novara and Verbania, on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the north-west of Italy, near the border with Switzerland and at the foot of the Alps, this area is renowned for its exceptional camellias. This is particularly significant as the tea plant belongs to the Camellia genus, specifically the "sinensis" species.
For the past two decades, experiments have been conducted on cultivating fully Italian, organic, and 100% locally sourced tea in this region.
The unique geographical position and the moderating influence of the lake contribute to a microclimate in the coastal area, especially on the Piedmont side, remarkably similar to that of the world's most renowned tea-producing regions.
The project for experimental tea cultivation in the coastal area of Lake Maggiore dates back to 2004 when the Tea Association of Italy (AssoTè Infusi), the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Turin, and the Province of Verbano presented an elaborate and ambitious project to the Piedmont Region. This initiative was part of a regional program focusing on research and experimentation of alternative crops with promising market prospects, meant to integrate into traditional cultivation systems.
Italian Tea from Lake Maggiore
Today, approximately ten entities, including private individuals and floriculture companies, have embraced the cultivation of tea plants, guided by the expertise of Marco Bertona, a leading Italian authority in the field. This cultivation is predominantly concentrated along the Piedmont coast of Lake Maggiore, spanning the provinces of Novara and Verbania.
The first Italian Tea
Derived from leaves carefully harvested from various small plantations in the region, and subjected to meticulous and appropriate procedures, Mr. Bertona has successfully produced three distinct types of tea in recent years.
His efforts have garnered recognition through two awards in international competitions exclusively dedicated to tea producers. In 2019, the "Verbano Black Tea" secured the prestigious Gold Award in China, while in 2020, the "Verbano White Tea" not only clinched the gold medal in Paris but also made history as the first Italian tea to enter commercialization.
Marco Bertona is the sole European holding a Chinese ministerial certification as a Tea Taster. He serves as the Italian delegate at the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Tea (IGG/Tea), acts as an advisor at the International Union of Tea Industry Cooperation in Beijing, and holds the position of co-founder and executive director at the Italy Tea & Infusions Association (AssoTè Infusi).
Which is the best Italian tea?
Find out by watching the video
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