The word tea evokes a myriad of images to blip across the mind’s radar screen from a cup of tea with honey to soothe a sore throat, or an English afternoon tea with dainty sandwiches, to thoughts of chicken chow mein, tea and a fortune cookie at the local Chinese restaurant. Now there is a new intriguing concept bursting on to the scene, Tea & Food Pairing.
Pairing food with deliberately selected teas, incorporating tea as a recipe ingredient and tea infused alcoholic beverages is on the cutting edge in the food and drink world.
For centuries food and tea have been enjoyed together. However, now the matching process is done with the same conscious consideration as is done harmonizing wine with food. The same theory applies. A compatible coupling enhances both the taste of the tea and the flavor of the food. This is where the fun begins. Inspiration and boldness are pushing aside old conventions such as only black teas can be paired with food and the equally fusty notion that tea is served solely as an after dinner libation.
This new culinary frontier has also spawned a new profession, the tea sommelier. The duty of a tea sommelier is the same as its wine counterpart, to manage the tea selections of the eating establishment and to guide the customer who is curious or unsure toward a more enriched dining experience.
For beginners it would be reassuring if there was a set of hard and fast rules. Alas there are none. But remember rules often tend to squash the adventure and creative fun from an event. Here’s the bottom line: Whatever tantalizes your taste buds is the ‘right’ pairing. Who other than you know what your tongue likes best? With a little personal sleuthing it will become obvious certain tea and food pairings categories are deliciously compatible, like white wine pairs well with fish dishes, green tea pairs well with fish dishes. As one’s palate is educated and developed, the quest for quality in both the tea and the food is accelerated. Time is taken to mindfully taste what is eaten, appreciating the delectable nuances. What an innovative yet simple path to expanding our delight in the everyday world.
Why not become a trendy groundbreaker. Surprise your guests and family with a delicious meal matched with tea. Tea is a tasty appropriate drink with every meal for all ages. So tea and food adventuring is as ideal for breakfast as it is for dinner. Plus the younger members of the family can join the fun of comparison tasting and offering opinions. For adults, no one has to be left out because of being the designated driver.
Wild Goose Tea has assembled some menus, recipes and tea suggestions to kick start the fun. See if you agree with the tea pairings suggested. If not, what do your taste buds recommend? Again there is no right or wrong just exploration and discovery.