Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tea and Cheese

Cheese does not just go with wine; a cheese platter is a lovely addition to high tea.
...Most often, we think of wine as the perfect companion to cheese; the wine and cheese party is an established theme when it comes to entertaining. I had taken an interesting workshop on tea and cheese pairing while at the World Tea Expo where this was first introduced to me. Tea, can also pair very well with cheese, as it also contains tannins. Tannins are a substance that exists in grapes and tea leaves among other things and produces that tart, astringent taste that you may experience after drinking a deep red wine or black tea. It also lends to the color of the tea. Without tannins, both wine and tea would lack that complex taste and beautiful color. Not all teas are tannin-rich; exceptions are White and Green teas, which contain very little tannins, while Oolongs are in the middle, and Black teas have the most. When thinking of teas to pair with your cheese plate, sticking to Black or Oolong teas are good, but including a Green tea with a grassy or vegetal note will round out your selection wonderfully.

The idea of building a cheese plate may seem intimidating, but it's a great exercise in learning about different varieties of cheeses and exposing your palate to something different. Cheese and tea have a lot in common if you think about it: both vary when it comes to the region they are grown or produced as well as yield different tastes depending on the amount of or lack of processing. There are many good guides that have come out in the last few years that can also be helpful, if you think it'll be baffling. Though there might not be a cheese shop in your town or nearby, many supermarkets are expanding their cheese sections to include a diverse selection, going beyond Cheddar and Swiss. If you are fortunate enough to have a gourmet market with an extensive department or a cheese shop nearby, your cheese monger can help you make a selection and answer your questions.

And an article on the health benefits of tea. Share


Anonymous said...

Sounds lilke a wonderful afternoon repast.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! I would suggest very strong and sweet teas, and a variety of different ones, served cool to cold!