Originating from the Zen monks’ custom of drinking tea from a common cup, passing through the complex ceremonialism of Emperor’s court, at the end of the 12th century, a monk called Eisai introduced the tea ceremony to the Japanese people.
Dainty entertainment from its very beginning and to modern day it is still an elite art. During the Muromachi Period (14-16 centuries) the tea gatherings were extremely popular among the military aristocracy.
The Tea Ceremony is much more than simply preparation and tasting of tea. It is also related to the consumption of fine, exquisite food, prepared in a special manner and served in strict order. The “Kaiseki” food is a miniature model of Japanese cuisine. It is the criterion for judging of Japanese dishes. Every detail of preparation and serving is monitored with pedantic precision. The products are selected, according to the season.
The first tray contains rice, soup and raw fish or salad. There are sea-food dishes and mountain products, fish or meat, roasted on fire etc. These are beautifully arranged in especially selected serving ware, which isn’t repeated in terms of shape or design. The guests enjoy not only the taste of the served dishes, but also the way, in which these are served. In this way food is tasted in three ways – by eyes, mouth and heart. Of course, the sake is also present. There is a special ritual, where the guests drink from one and the same cup, pouring the sake to each other. The main leading factor during tea gatherings is the stimulation of taste perceptions. The five main taste perceptions – sweet, sour, bitter, hot and salty, are presented very delicately in such tea ceremonies.
The slight bitterness of tea contrasts the taste of the sweets; food, eaten with sake has a sour streak; the Japanese mustard, adder to the soup has a delicate hotness; the cooked seasonal fish is salty. As a rule the food, served at a Tea Ceremony, is seasonal.
At the end sweets and tea are served. The tea, used for such gatherings, referred to as chaji, is the unique tea, referred to as “Matcha” or „the amber of life”. Grown and reaped, according to special requirements, this is one of the most expensive types of tea worldwide.
The tea ceremonies at the Hamachi restaurant will be hosted by Krisi Prahova. Krisi is a certified teacher of tea ceremony, Urasenke – 3rd level and holder of an award from the Japanese government for the promotion of Japanese culture and tea ceremony.