An Unconventional Pairing
When you think of cheese pairings, you think wine, beer, crackers, preserves, chocolate or olives. Those are all amazing pairings. There is however, a new pairing that has many cheesemongers and other cheese fanatics very excited. Tea and cheese!
The idea of pairing tea and cheese is somewhat unconventional. The variance in temperature and flavors may be cause for concern but when taking a closer look at what makes tea so special, the reasoning behind this pairing doesn’t seem so far fetched.
Indeed, much like wine, many teas are high in tannins, have different degrees in astringency and even have their own specific terroir. The aromas and flavors of high quality tea will, similarly to wine, depend on the soil, weather and local climate as well as the methods used to dry and cure the tea leaves.
Tea and cheese: The pairing that works both ways
The one quality that makes tea stand out from all other pairings is the warmth. The high temperature of the tea will amplify the earthy, sweet, fruity, and pungent flavors of the cheese that other pairings might not.
The amazing thing about pairing tea and cheese is the fact that it works both ways. The smoothness of the cheese will often curb the astringency of the tea, and in turn awaken the complex floral, fruity and smokey notes that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Tea and cheese are very similar in function. Much like cheese, tea is more often than not the focal point of any “dégustation”. When pairing cheese, we often look for companions that will amplify, improve and sometimes exaggerate the flavors of the cheese. For example, it is unlikely to pair cheese and honey for the purpose of amplifying the flavors of the honey. It is therefore very uncommon to find a pairing that allows maximum enjoyment of both pairings individually. The reciprocity is what makes this pairing so wonderfully unique.
Black teas: Black teas generally have the most tannins. It is recommended therefore to pair them with soft and creamy cheese. This will balance out the bold flavors and astringency. A strong blue cheeses will on the other hand rival it’s strength (Hook’s Original Blue or Barneveld Blue).
Green teas: Green teas are less oxidized than black teas and therefore have fewer tannins. As a result, these teas are best paired with semi soft cheeses. You can also use your cup of green tea as an excuse to indulge in a soft goat cheese or a triple cream (Fresh Chevre or Humbolt Fog)!
Herbal teas: These teas are very mild and contain close to no tannins. Because they are made from berries, fruits, flowers, or roots, it is important to take their dominant flavors into account when pairing with a cheese. With such teas we recommend pairing them with young milky goudas, fresh goat cheese or a brie (Fresh Chevre, Little Lucy Brie or Marieke Gouda)
In order to provide Fromagination patrons with the best possible cheese and tea pairing experience we have partnered with Bellocq Tea Atelier out of Brooklyn, NYC.
Bellocq Tea Atelier is a little specialty tea shop tucked away in a quiet corner of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They specialize in whole leaf, organic and herbal bland teas. Tea is rapidly becoming the new Foodie craze and Bellocq is definitely leading the way in terms of quality, variety and flavor. Fromagination is the exclusive retailer in Madison, we will carry their full leaf teas in a variety of packaging (Kraft box, Bellocq Signature Yellow Box and Yellow Tea Caddies) in addition to their preserves and honey sourced from Hawaii.
The Teas we Carry
Black Teas: No 1 Bellocq Breakfast, No 18 Afghani Chai, No 22 National Parks Dpt, No 35 The Earl Grey, No 47 The Queens Guard.
Green /White Teas: No 10 Jasmine Silver Needles, No 20 Kikuya, No 38 Majorelle Mint, No 45 The White Wolf.
Puerh Teas: No 16 Golden Puerh.
Herbal: No 42 Little Dickens, No 121 Canyon Chai, No 31 Siam Basil Lemongrass.
Matcha: No 80 Green Matcha
We will be hosting an exclusive cheese and tea pairing class as part of our spring class series. Make sure to keep an eye out, date to be determined.
Our team of cheesemongers are passionate about this new pairing, and are excited to share it with you. Make sure to come visit Fromagination to experience this incredible new cheese pairing!!