Monday, February 1, 2010

Tea-Food Pairings: Spicy Food Enhances an Otherwise Undesirable Tea

I'm no tea connoisseur, and I've only begun to explore some of the most basic aspects of tea-food pairings. I recently found an interesting illustration of how important tea-food pairings can be.

I am constantly sampling teas from Upton Tea Imports (they're my favorite tea company), and among them was TD22, a Darjeeling tea from Steinthal Estate. (Link is to my review). It's a relatively inexpensive, broken-leaf tea, first flush but out of season when I sampled it. It was on the low side of what I have sampled from Upton, in terms of how much I liked it. I found it bland but when brewed more strongly, it had a heavy quality that I disliked.

More recently, however, I drank one of the last cups of it while eating a rather salty, spicy chicken and bean soup that I had made. I was astonished at how much I liked the tea now that it was paired with the spicy, salty soup. It had a clean, fresh quality and some complexity in the aroma that I hadn't noticed when drinking the tea on its own. I found this fascinating, as there are many teas, including some broken-leaf Darjeelings, that I like better, but that I find do not go well with spicy and salty foods!

I finished the soup, cleared my palate by eating some veggies, and then sipped the tea again. It seemed bland again! It was remarkable!

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