Blast From the Past: Pairing Tea With Cheese

Blast From the Past: Pairing Tea With Cheese


One might well imagine wine being the perfect pairing with cheese.  However, while at a cheese-and-wine tasting recently, I had a cheese expert tell me that cheese is much better paired with tea than wine.  So, I decided to host a cheese-and-tea tasting.  I purchased six cheeses and six teas, each with different flavor profiles and textures, and then proceeded to pair each cheese with each of the teas.

Cheeses

Chevre
Marieke Gouda
Hooks 3-Year Cheddar
Sarvecchio
Carr Valley Mobay
Hooks Blue Cheese

Teas

White Peony
Jasmine Green
Houjicha
Feng Huang Dancong “Ba Xian”
Golden Yunnan
Cinnamon Plum

Tasting Highlights

  1. It is best to taste the tea when it has cooled.  When tasting tea and cheese, put the cheese in your mouth and spread it all the way down your tongue and then take a sip of tea.  The tea coats your mouth and the cheese.  Next, breathe and inhale the aroma lingering in your mouth.  A nice tip that helps bridge the flavors in the cheese and tea is to crack fresh pepper onto the cheese, mix with honey, or add cocoa nibs.
  2. The Jasmine Green and White Peony went with just about every cheese.  They both complemented the very distinct flavors of the cheeses.
  3. We added cocoa nibs and honey to the fresh goat cheese (Chevre).  It was amazing!  That paired really well with Golden Yunnan, bringing out the sweet caramel notes of the rich black tea.
  4. White Peony went really well with goat cheese blended with honey.  The honey in the goat cheese brought out some really nice honeysuckle nectar-like notes in the White Peony.
  5. We cracked fresh pepper onto the Marieke gouda and paired it with Golden Yunnan.  The pepper brought out really nice spicy and malty notes in the Golden Yunnan.
  6. We tasted the Hooks Blue cheese at the end of our series.  We knew the flavor would overwhelm any other cheese tasted after it.  Blue cheese is often paired with port or a very thick, juicy, and sweet wine, so it made perfect sense to choose Cinnamon Plum for this pairing.  It was amazing.  We scooped up blue cheese into porcelain tasting spoons and drank the sweet notes of Cinnamon Plum that coated our throats with deliciously rich fruit.

Image provided by author.

This article was originally posted in February 2011.



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