Monday, 18 April 2011

Tracking Down Top Quinine And Fighting Off Malaria

Fever-Tree Trekkers Take Time Out At The Chelsea Flower Show

While the co-founders of Fever-Tree have been risking life and limb to work with small specialist producers in the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Ivory Coast, visitors to the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show are offered a more theatrical and playful welcome from Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow. The first Fever-Tree garden comes complete with Tree House (made partly from reclaimed Chinchona Ledgeriana wood) – the perfect place for G&T drinkers to enjoy a summer cooler.

But there is little rest for Charles and Tim who travel to inhospitable and dangerous countries, ravaged by years of civil war, ethnic strife and widespread disease, to seek out a supply of only the highest quality natural ingredients for their range of premium mixers.

Proud to be the only drinks company going such lengths, Fever-Tree will showcase some of their inspirational ingredients in their ‘Tree House Garden’ at the Chelsea Flower Show, 24th–28th May 2011.

Six years ago, Fever-Tree launched their first product, an Indian Tonic Water, which has revolutionised G&T. In direct contrast to mainstream mixer brands, at Fever-Tree taste and quality have always been paramount.

The top priority for the Indian Tonic Water was sourcing the purest strain of quinine, the essential bitterness in tonic water. Tim traced one of the last remaining plantations of Cinchona Ledgeriana trees (whose bark produces the world’s highest quality quinine) to the Eastern Congo. Visiting the region he found a thriving plantation amid an area otherwise decimated by years of war. By blending this pure quinine with subtle botanical flavours, spring water and natural cane sugar, Fever-Tree have created a delicious, natural tonic with subtle citrus notes and a refreshing taste and aroma. Fever-Tree is now served in seven of the top ten restaurants in the world.

As well as creating the bitter flavour in tonic water, quinine is also known for its treatment of malaria. When travelling across Africa, Charles caught plasmodium falciparum - the parasitic cause of cerebral malaria and the biggest killer in Africa. Charles was treated with pure, natural quinine, probably from the same source that Fever-Tree now works with.

Fever-Tree’s Tree House Garden celebrates a selection of other plants that have been used over the years to treat fevers including Fillipendula Ulmaria (Meadow Sweet), a fever remedy administered after drying and grinding up the roots and adding to beverages. The leaves are reminiscent of strawberries.

Other key plants in the garden include citrus, lemon thyme and rosemary from the Mediterranean as well as a ‘chocolatey’ ginger from Cochin in India. These will be planted alongside a small spring which represents the natural spring water used in all of Fever-Tree’s award winning drinks.

The garden is situated at the bottom of a larger garden, set in a country village, and includes a reclaimed wooden post and rail fencing, an old wooden stile, sheep hurdle panels to mark the boundaries. Nearly all of the garden’s components have been sourced locally, reclaimed, recycled or borrowed and all of the materials will be reused after the show.

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