Cover photo by Jee
Have you ever had cheese and tea pairing? Not just wine but tea can also be well paired with cheese. I invited 2 tea specialists, Kathy and Jee for tea and cheese pairing at my place. Each brought one tea and one cheese and we ended up spending 5 hours of bottomless tea with endless cheeses! Without further adieu, let me explain what we had for 5 hours.
I prepared some finger foods: Iberico ham from Spain, castelvetrano olive, baguette and truffle butter from Eatly, two different colors of beet salad, cherry, some biscuit and cheesecakes
4 Different Types of Cheeses
We paired each tea with different types of cheese based on its texture and flavor. As you can see from the above photo, we had 4 different types of cheese. Both Fromager d’Affinois and Beaufort d’Ete AOC are from Murry’s Cheese Shop on Bleecker street in NYC. I got Rupert cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm at Union Square Green Market a day before. Lastly, Smoked Gouda is from Brooklyn Fare grocery shop. These 4 cheeses are all very different in terms of flavor and texture. Fromager is very creamy and soft. It is almost like brie but richer and smoother. Rupert is an aged cow milk and it is very similar to Gruyere. This cheese has won lots of awards from American Cheese Society. Since it is aged, it definitely has some unique fermented flavor but it is still very subtle and delicate so anyone can enjoy it. Beaufort is a hard cheese with a hazelnut finish. Smoked Gouda has a strong smoky bacon flavor
The First Tea, Bai Hao Yin Zhen (silver needle)
The first tea that we brewed was Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) that I brought from China
Silver needle is a very delicate and expensive white tea. It is made out of just buds with lots of silver hair. That is why it is called Silver Needle. White tea is really hard to make because it is made with just sun and wind
I brewed silver needle with my favorite gaiwan
Silver needle is a very lightly oxidized tea. It is very mild and nutty. We paired silver needle with our soft cheese, Fromager. It was just a perfect match to begin our long journey of tea and cheese pairing. This pair was so light and fluffy. It did not have any strong lingering taste that could hinder the next pairing
The Second Tea, Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe)
The second tea was Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), cliff tea or rock oolong from Fujian, China. Kathy brought Da Hong Pao from Silver Needle Company. Da Hong Pao is one of the most legendary teas in China. I love to drink cliff tea on a rainy day because of its unique mossy flavor. All true cliff tea leaves are collected from high mountains surrounded by a waterfall and mossy rocks. That is why indigenous tea trees absorb all rich minerals from the soil and thus it has its unique mossy flavor
I brewed Da Hong Pao with my yixing tea pot which I only brew cliff tea. Yixing is a city in Jiangsu, China and it is famous for producing yixing clay tea pot. Yixing clay teapot absorbs the flavor of the tea and it helps to intensify its flavor. That is why I use one yixing pot for one tea
We paired Da Hong Pao with Rupert and Smoky Gouda. Since Da Hong Pao has smoky roasted flavor, pairing with aged cow milk, Rupert and with Smoky Gouda was an excellent choice
I made Iced Oolong Lemonade for a welcome drink. If you want to check out the recipe from my previous post, click here
The Third Tea, Dong Ding Amber
Last but not least, Jee brought Dong Ding Amber from Tea Dealers. This Taiwanese oolong has fresh and green flavor. Although both Dong Ding and Da Hong Pao are under Oolong tea category, it has totally different flavors. Oolong tea (a.k.a Wulong or blue tea) has the widest range of flavors depending on its region and the crafting method. In general, Taiwanese oolong is lighter and greener than Chinese Min Bei Oolong
My 3 baby pigs (tea pet) are thirsty!
Dong Ding is greener than Da Hong Pao and it is also strong enough to offset sweet taste. First, we paired it with Beaufort cheese which has fruity and hazelnut finish, and then with a cheesecake from Francois Payard Bakery. It is always right to finish the meal course with a sweet, right?
Brew more tea, Drink more, and Eat lots of Cheese #happyjoo
Thank you girls for capturing my tea moments!
How did you like it? As you have seen, tea and cheese pairing can be very fun. Just like wine, depending on the region, crafting method, vintage, the flavor of tea can vary widely. I will write more about tea and food pairing. Tea can be very fun and versatile. Depending on what you drink and what you pair with, it can bring a whole different experience. Thank you Kathy and Jee for joining me for lovely afternoon. With right companions and good tea (even better with cheese), time always flies.