Scullery Made stirs Barossa flavours

Scullery Made stirs Barossa flavours

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BAROSSA BLENDS: There are currently 14 teas in the Scullery Made collection.

BAROSSA BLENDS: There are currently 14 teas in the Scullery Made collection.

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A PASSION for a country tradition quickly evolved into a business for Cherie Hausler.

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A PASSION for a country tradition quickly evolved into a business for Cherie Hausler.

"With tea, it was an absolute daily ritual that became a business," she said.

"I loved having cups of teas with my girlfriends.

"Whether you're happy or sad, whether something's gone terribly wrong or you want to feel nurtured, or you want to be social or have a celebration, it just works - everybody puts the kettle on."

Having grown up in the country, Cherie said it was just an "instinctual response".

"No matter what the conversation is going to be that sits around the teapot, the teapot covers all bases," she said.

"And tea is, as far as blending is concerned, just an extension of being really into food and loving creating menus; it's another way of putting great ingredients together to get a good flavour profile."

The freelance writer and TV presenter's interest in blending tea began at Eat Me, a restaurant she and her brother own in Bangkok.

When Cherie and her husband Damien Feuerherdt returned to the Barossa - their childhood stomping ground - to a "renovator's delight" 160-year-old bluestone cottage at Koonunga, she was not quite sure what she was going to do for work.

Then fate stepped in.

When she and Damien decided to move home nine years ago from Sydney, she was working alongside Barossa icon Maggie Beer on Channel 9.

"When the show finished, I was back in the Barossa doing (our home) up, and Maggie asked if I wanted to go and work for her; I thought okay, sure, I don't have a gig!" Cherie said.

She has been consulting to Maggie ever since.

Four weeks after starting work for Maggie, they were sharing a coffee in Maggie's Farm Shop at Nuriootpa.

"I said to Maggie, your coffee is amazing, but the tea's not anything that special - it's not at the same level as your other products.

"So she said, 'let me know what you're talking about'."

Cherie went home and made up four different blends for Maggie, "and she just loved them".

"Basically she said we're going to use these as our house teas, and we'll also sell them as retail packs."

Even though she had been blending teas for Eat Me, Cherie did not have a brand

"I had no brand, no idea for a name or how it was going to be packaged, but all of a sudden, I had a business," she said.

Today, Scullery Made has 70 to 80 stockists across Australia, an online store as well as a consistent presence at the Barossa Farmers Market.

"The farmers' market is such an extraordinary platform," Cherie said.

"To have the opportunity to talk to people as a producer - there's nothing that comes close to that," she said.

The tea blends are all inspired by Barossa flavours.

At the moment, there are 14 teas in the range, with another in the works to be released at the Full Moon Farm Gate, a market organised by Cherie and Damien.

Included are black tea-based blends, a version of English Breakfast called Barossa Breakfast, a version of Earl Grey which has local oranges in it, herbal blends and rooibus-based blends.

There is also a version of chai called Sunday Roast which uses roasted wattleseed sourced from Footside Farm at Eudunda, which also provides quandongs that are used in the Barossa Bushgardens blend.

"Obviously we don't grow tea here on our property, but we grow a lot of the herbal aspects and source a lot of produce locally," Cherie said.

The best whole-leaf teas available are sourced from single estates in India, Sri Lanka and Japan, which produce either organically certified or pesticide-free tea.

* Full report in Stock Journal, April 17, 2014 issue.

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