Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Pairing tea with food
First, let us note that Teresa got it right in her comment yesterday, and oolong is the tea sometimes referred to as "blue tea" because of the tint of the dried leaf. Add that to white tea, green tea, black tea, red tea (or rooibos) and yellow tea (dried similar to green tea, but with a slower drying time), and you can see we have a veritable rainbow of teas from which to choose! And speaking of choosing tea, I have a most interesting new book some of you may want to check out for its information on choosing which tea to pair with various foods.
It's called "What to Drink with What you Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea - Even Water - Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Since I care only about the tea, I was a little concerned about whether the book would be useful enough to add to my tea library, and it very much is. For one thing, I learned the author's three rules for pairing foods: 1) Think Regionally: If it grows together, it goes together. 2) Come to your Senses: Let your five senses guide your choices. 3) Balance Flavors: Tickle your tongue in more ways than one.
One concise chart in the book gives some very general but very helpful direction on pairing the right tea with the right food based on the food's volume. Here's what the authors recommend: Green tea - Pair with fish, shellfish, vegetables. Oolong tea - Pork, poultry, veal. Black tea - beef, game, lamb. And the six teas they say should be in the well-stocked tea cupboard? A breakfast blend or black tea, Assam, oolong, Chinese green, Japanese Sencha green, herbal. And pages 268-272 are entirely devoted to lists of teas and their suggested food pairings, so as you can see, I have found this to be a very useful book.