Saturday, March 20, 2010

Huang Shan, Yellow Mountain surrounded by a sea of clouds

Huang Shan is probably the famous mountain in China. It has inspired poets and artists for centuries and even the Yellow Emperor, mythical founder of China and Taoism was said to have become a recluse here. The peaks of the mountain jut up into the sky and are often surrounded by clouds, giving it a mystical, heavenly feel when at the top. There is a phenomenon known as Buddhas light which can occur, where a persons head can become surrounded by a rainbow of light, resembling a halo. This is caused by a refraction of light. The mountain is also famous for its sunrise scenesand hot springs.

Of course the moutain is home to a variety of teas, most of which are listed in the 10 famous teas of China. Huang Shan Mao Feng is a light green tea with a slight smoky aroma. Mao Feng translates as furry peak, describing the appearance of the processed leaves. Taiping Houkui is another green tea,, grown around Taiping Lake (ultimate peace lake) which has extremely long, large leaves. It has a stronger flavour and can be brewed up to 8 times. Qimen Hong Cha is a black tea grown in Qimen village close to the mountain, and has a rich, brandy like flavour.

One that i didnt mention in the 10 famous teas, but is also well known is Liu An Gua Pian, a very light green tea. This isnt from Huang Shan itself, but a nearby area called Liu An county. Gua Pian translates as Melon Seed, referring to the appearance. The tea is unique in that doesnt use the top leaf, but the second one down, the central vein is remove and it is pan fried to dry.

The surrounding area is known as Huizhou and has a strong local culture and identity. It is famous for its calligraphy and inkstones (above), as well as its unique architechture of white washed houses with ornate wooden carvings inside. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was filmed in this area, in both Huang Shan and a Huizhou village called Hongcun. Teapots, carved from Huang Shan rock are also produced locally, photos below.

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