Last week, Victoria traveled to Chaozhou City, located in eastern Guangdong Province and not far from Phoenix Mountain, most famous for producing Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong teas.
Chaozhou boasts an extremely rich cultural history, drawing thousands of tourists to the city every year. From the supremely unique Phoenix Dan Congs (for us tea enthusiasts) to crafts, arts, and cuisine, Chaozhou culture has made unique and distinctive contributions to the arts.
The above photo captures an angle of a landmark known as Guangji Bridge (or "Floating Bridge"). Located along the Han River, Guangji Bridge was created by Zeng Jiang in the 12th century, naming it floating bridge because eighty-six boats connected it and made it possible. There are some really fun legends surrounding the bridge that are worth reading.
In Chaozhou City, there are seven city gates, and perhaps the most famous one is the one above, Guangji Gate Tower. This gate was constructed in the 14th century, and has recently been restored to its Ming Dynasty condition. You can read a little more about the gate here.
As mentioned above, Chaozhou is especially famous for the Phoenix Mountain teas. Some of the best Phoenix Dan Cong oolong teas that are served gongfu style will be found here. You definitely don't want to pass it up.
Here is a closeup of some fresh Phoenix Dan Cong oolong tea. It is supremely and intoxicatingly aromatic. It is very difficult to find some high quality Phoenix Dan Cong, as many vendors opt for cheaper, inferior quality, usually grown at lower elevations or harvested after the ideal time.
Victoria decided to treat herself to a gongfu session, one of the perks of searching high and low for the best teas she can find. Isn't this serving table stunning? The golden inlays are truly elegant and make for a nice contrast with the marbled look encased by wood.
Victoria pointed out that you should pour three cups together, for when you have three together, arranged in this fashion, they look like the Chinese character for "taste": 品. What do you think? Coincidence or cosmos? We like to think it was divinely orchestrated.