Unique, cool treat at Istana open house

Visitors enjoying the greenery at the Istana during the open house yesterday. Left: President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, distributing Istana Harvest, a sorbet in celebration of Singapore's 52nd birthday, to children. Above: People
President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, distributing Istana Harvest, a sorbet in celebration of Singapore's 52nd birthday, to children.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Visitors enjoying the greenery at the Istana during the open house yesterday. Left: President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, distributing Istana Harvest, a sorbet in celebration of Singapore's 52nd birthday, to children. Above: People
Visitors enjoying the greenery at the Istana during the open house yesterday.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Visitors enjoying the greenery at the Istana during the open house yesterday. Left: President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, distributing Istana Harvest, a sorbet in celebration of Singapore's 52nd birthday, to children. Above: People
People snapping photos of the President and his wife.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

New sorbet made with ingredients from Istana's Spice Garden

Created with ingredients found in its Spice Garden, a sorbet in celebration of Singapore's 52nd birthday was launched at the Istana yesterday by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan.

Called Istana Harvest, the frozen dessert is based on a signature drink of the same name which was created last year and is served to foreign dignitaries and guests of the Istana.

The ingredients in both the drink and the sorbet include roselle, lemongrass and ginger, which are tended in the Istana's Spice Garden.

During an open house yesterday at the Istana to celebrate next month's National Day, Dr Tan and Mrs Tan unveiled an oversized replica of the red sorbet in a white cup.

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 for visitors to the open house, who got to buy a scoop of the confection at $6.

Created in a collaboration between Udders Ice Cream and the President's Office, the Istana Harvest sorbet will be served to Istana guests, but may be made available to the public at future open houses.

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 yesterday's open house.

The other flavours, such as cookies and cream, milky chocolate and salted gula melaka, went for $5 a scoop. Funds raised will go to the President's Challenge, an annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign.

Those who got a taste of the sorbet gave it the thumbs up.

Ms Jesilynn Luar, 48, a finance director, said: "It's like a sweet and sour ice ball, and is unique."

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

In Dr Tan's final appearance at the Istana open house in his capacity as president, he watched a song and dance performance 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 it was Dr Tan's last Istana open house.

Appraising Dr Tan's term of office, he said: "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 well as a president."

More than 11,000 visitors attended the open house.

Other occasions on which the Istana opens its grounds to the public are Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa and Labour Day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2017, with the headline 'Unique, cool treat at Istana open house'. Print Edition | Subscribe