New sorbet flavour for Istana guests unveiled by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at open house

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mrs Mary Tan distributing the Istana Harvest Sorbet to children at the Istana Open House on July 30, 2017.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mrs Mary Tan distributing the Istana Harvest Sorbet to children at the Istana Open House on July 30, 2017. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A new sorbet flavour called Istana Harvest was launched on Sunday (July 30) by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, in commemoration of Singapore's 52nd birthday.

The frozen dessert is based off a signature drink of the same name, which was created in 2016, and is served only to foreign dignitaries and guests of the Istana.

Both drink and sorbet use ingredients including roselle, lemongrass and ginger, which can be found in the Istana's Spice Garden.

During an open house event at the Istana, held in celebration of next month's National Day, Dr Tan and Mrs Tan unveiled an over-sized replica of the red-coloured sorbet in a white cup.

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Dr Tan said in a statement that he and Mrs Tan wanted to "share this unique flavour with more Singaporeans" and as a refreshing treat to visitors to the Istana Open House.

The Istana Harvest Sorbet will only be served to guests of the Istana, and likely to be made available to the public during future open houses.

It was created in a collaboration between Udders Ice Cream and the President's Office.

Between $10,000 and $12,000 is expected to be raised from the sale of the sorbet and other ice cream flavours by Udders at Sunday's open house. The funds will go to the President's Challenge, an annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign.

Those who tried the sorbet on Sunday gave it the thumbs up. Ms Jesilynn Luar, 48, a finance director, said: "It's like a sourish and sweet ice ball, and is very unique."

Ms Agnisha Ghosh , 31, a marketing manager, said of the sorbet: "The taste of ginger is very refreshing. As a sorbet, it goes very well with the warm weather."

During Dr Tan's final appearance at the Istana Open House in his capacity as president, he also watched a song and dance performance put up by children from the Thye Hua Kwan Child Care and Student Care Centre.

He also handed out prizes for an on-the-spot art competition for children aged three to 12, organised by the Singapore Art Museum and the National Heritage Board.

Dr Tan, who was elected president in 2011, will step down on Aug 31 .

Civil servant Alvin Xie, 28, said he was aware that this would be Dr Tan's last Istana Open House.

Mr Xie said of the president's term: "He has gone overseas very frequently to improve our diplomatic ties. And for Singapore, our relationship with other nations is very important, especially in today's security climate."

Ms Diann Loong, 32, a marketing director, added: "Dr Tan has a stately appearance and looks very fatherly. He represents Singapore very well as a president."

More than 11,000 visitors attended the open house at the Istana on Sunday, which was held from 8.30am to 6pm.

Istana open houses are also held in celebration of Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, and Labour Day.