This article is a paid partnership with Zealong and published by Cuisine as advertorial.

WATCH: Take a walk through the world of Zealong in this short video produced by Cuisine during our recent visit to the estate and in collaboration with tea harvesting and factory production footage supplied by Zealong.

The Zealong Tea Estate, located in Gordonton in the beautiful Waikato and just 15 minutes from the expressway, offers more than just tea. The high tea at Zealong Tearoom is not just a meal; it’s a celebration of tradition, elegance, and the artistry of tea.

Here you can Immerse yourself in a selection of finely curated teas with each brew telling a story of craftsmanship and authenticity. Paired with this is a selection of delectable treats, from delicate finger sandwiches to decadent pastries, all thoughtfully crafted to complement the nuanced flavours of Zealong teas.

The estate also boasts a range of visitor experiences, from guided tours that provide insights into tea processing and appreciation to an on-site guesthouse for a perfect escape; bookings are essential prior to your visit so make sure you check out the availability in advance.

Zealong’s tea journey is a testament to dedication and passion for cultivating tea in harmony with nature. Over 1.2 million tea plants, nurtured on a sprawling 48-hectare estate, showcase Zealong’s commitment to organic and traceable tea production. From the date and block of picking, Zealong tea stands apart with ISO 22000 certification at every step of the production process.

The uniqueness of Zealong’s tea lies in its meticulous production. Harvested three times a year, each leaf is hand-picked by specialist tea-pickers, following traditional practices developed over centuries. The result is a premium organic tea range that includes three oolong varieties – Pure, Aromatic, and Dark, a green tea, and a black tea. Zealong also uses its oolongs, green and black teas as foundations for its range of blends that use all-natural ingredients with no artificial flavours, oils, or additives. These teas not only captivate the taste buds but also offer vital antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for good health.

In 2023, Zealong achieved a triple win at the UK Tea Academy’s annual awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, solidifying its place among the world’s finest teas.  Their exceptional product has graced the tables of dignitaries and earned accolades worldwide. Served to former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, His Royal Highness King Charles and the Queen Consort, as well as President Xi and the First Lady of China, Zealong tea has become synonymous with quality and distinction.

A French Affair Amidst the Tranquil Tea Fields of Zealong

Nestled within the warm embrace of the Zealong Tea Estate, Camellia Restaurant stands as a beacon of culinary finesse in the heart of Waikato. The restaurant exudes a charm that seamlessly blends with the picturesque surroundings of tea bushes, birdsong, and butterflies.

What sets Camellia apart is the culinary magic orchestrated by the accomplished French trained chefs, Jean-Baptiste (JB) Pilou and Valentina Avecilla, whose backgrounds resonate with the sophistication of Michelin-starred kitchens. JB, with his experience at the Ritz and sous-chef tenure at Guy Savoy restaurant, brings a touch of Paris to the heart of New Zealand.

Camellia’s guests are treated to dishes that go beyond the ordinary. Complex sauces elevate and masterful culinary techniques showcase the chefs’ commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and add a Kiwi touch to the traditional French fare, creating a harmonious fusion that dances on the taste buds.

An example of their seasonally changing menu includes Mills Bay mussels and Cloudy Bay clams, adorned with watercress and foam. Or, the game terrine, a blend of South Island pork, hare and venison, offers an authentic taste of New Zealand.

Beyond the delectable menu, Camellia embraces the philosophy that dining is not just about food but is an immersive experience. The restaurant’s ambience provides a perfect backdrop for relaxed yet sophisticated dining.

The deck, with its incomparable views, invites guests to savour each moment, making the dining experience not just a meal but a memorable escape into a French-inspired culinary world.

PICTURED BELOW: Ora King salmon with Black tea gravlax – organic beetroot – crème fraiche – buckwheat blinis.

Zealong Tea Estate stands as a symbol of New Zealand’s dedication to sustainable living, producing not just tea but a narrative that resonates globally – from meticulously grown tea leaves to the French culinary mastery at Camellia Restaurant. In the competitive world of tea, Zealong not only exports its exceptional product but also shares the story of pure New Zealand tea, adding another feather to the nation’s global status with its award-winning feats.

The Camellia Restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday 11:30am – 2:30pm and for dinner, Friday and Saturday 6:00pm – 10:00pm.  For more information about Zealong or to book a table at Camellia, visit the website at