It’s a striking land, Shan State. Just across the northern border of Thailand lies a different world; a landscape steeped in beauty, a people with histories worth reading.
And tea. Fine, sweet, glorious green tea. When my Burmese students took me to dinner last month and I asked the origin of the tea on our table, one blurted out: “Shan State. The best tea comes from Shan State.” People around here know this as truth.
In this year’s Menu for Hope campaign, I am offering half a pound of green tea from Loi Mwe, an old British hill station nearly 5,000 feet up a Shan mountain. These are whole tea leaves, which produce a mild, smoky, flowery drink without the slightest hint of bitterness. It is the drink of the Shan world, served with every meal, offered to every guest. It warms the heart on cold winter mornings. I purchased this tea myself in Shan State, with profits going directly into local hands.
You remember Menu for Hope, right? It’s an annual fundraiser for the UN World Food Programme. Pledge $10 and you’ll get a raffle ticket that buys you a chance to win one of hundreds of tantalizing prizes offered by food bloggers around the world. In case you’ve been out of the loop for the last several years, here’s a bit of history, courtesy of Chez Pim:
Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by me and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired me to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2007, Menu for Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.
Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone â€“ and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of their choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.
So then, want a shot at that wonderful half-pound bag of Shan State tea? Or perhaps you would prefer another prize (check tomato for a roundup of Asia-Pacific goodies). This year’s campaign runs Dec. 15-24. All you have to do:
1. Choose one or more prizes from the complete list at Chez Pim.
2. Go to the donation page and make a donation.
3. Each US$10 donation will give you one raffle ticket toward the prize of your choice. In the personal message section of the donation form, please specify which prize or prizes you would like, and the number desired, using the prize codes provided. Shan State tea prize code: AP02.
4. For US donors, if your company has agreed to match your charity donation, please remember to tick the box and fill in the information so Menu for Hope organizers can claim the corporate match.
5. Please make sure to tick the box to allow organizers to see your email address so they can contact you if you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
Simple as that. Let the campaign begin!