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Harvest 2020: A Jesuit's Tale


The design of our 2020 cakes was inspired by a great journey of discovery, a bridge between East and West, a connection through travels, and through the exploration of nature. 

The inspiration for this year’s design comes from the masterpiece Flora Sinensis, an enchanting insight into the beauty of Chinese flora and fauna, as seen through the eyes of a Jesuit missionary from Poland.
Michael Boym came from a noble family and had a ready made path decided by his father, in the medical field. However, his religious faith and his admiration for the East, led him to enter the monastery life, with the mission of converting the Chinese to Christianity.
At that time, China was facing the fall of Ming dynasty - that was slowly converting to christianity - and the rise of Qing dynasty, that would rule until the beginning of the 20th century as the last Imperial dynasty. It was a time of changes, internal wars and turmoils, and during Qing dynasty the missionaries were not welcome. Boym wandered around Asia, never losing his faith, but falling for the beauty of those unknown plants and the magnificence of animals he never saw before.

The book, written in Latin and published in 1656, is a visual narrative of Boym’s astonishment at the sight of new and unknown wildlife, a whole world that was yet to be discovered. He collected 23 illustrations of plants and animals, creating an enchanting illustrated encyclopedia.

Boym also had to deal with Chinese writing, and tried to report the Chinese characters and medicinal properties of the plants described, illustrating them in detail. From the illustrations one can perceive Boym's amazement at the curious Chinese plants, and the wonder at their benefits, richly reported in the descriptions that follow each illustration.

The wonder and amazement of Chinese nature is the same that accompanies us at every harvest, and connects us deeply with Boym and his travels. We have decided to dedicate some of his illustrations to the cakes of the new 2020 harvest, to describe the wonder of Chinese flora starting from the paper that wraps and protects our precious leaves, and that you can keep for years to come, waiting to open them again and taste the flavor of the years of aging, and of the centuries of history of our ancient trees.

A majestic leopard, surrounded by a colorful landscape, is the protagonist of our Ancient Trees cake, sweet and complex.

Fenghuang, the phoenix, is the quintessence of the Emperor. The first character, Feng , indicates the female part, while Huang is the male of the phoenix. Just like our Yueguangbai of ancient trees, full of pure silver buds, contrasting with the jet black of the leaves like the moonlight in the night sky.

Waves of soft branches are the main pattern of our Wild Forest Pu'er Shengpu, recalling the most floral part of its aftertaste, and the slight astringency typical of such a young pu’er, lingering in the palate.

An unknown tree with large leaves represents our Single Tree Shengpu. A harvest of the highest quality, which comes precisely from large leaves, specifically from the dayezhong cultivar of the 11 oldest trees in Lunan.

The same large leaves paint the surprising flavor of our Huangjinye, Ancient Trees old leaves. This stone-pressed cake is made using the older leaves instead of young buds, giving a unique minerality, and a pleasant astringency that is only evident in the aftertaste, creating the most complex flavor.

Finally, the fruity notes that characterize the Nannuo forest yueguangbai are expressed by the bright colors of the jackfruit (Indus Giaca), a wonderful and unknown fruit, reminiscent of the sensations of wild forest triggered by the infusion of our most versatile white tea.

 

Five special illustrations for five unique cakes, leading to an adventurous discovery of the beauty of China, and its flavors.


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