If you have ever been to a traditional tea shop, you will find that the most commonly served foods are scones, biscuits, assorted pastries and light finger sandwiches. Today, teas are becoming more common in cafes, casual and fine dining restaurants, which allows for some more creative food pairings. Below is a food pairing that I recently experienced and wanted to share:
If you have ever had green tea with lemon and ginger, you know how light and refreshing this tea can be and that it goes well with just about any food. However, I recently found that Vietnamese or Thai food, specifically stir-fried rice noodles or rice vermicelli with shrimp or pork, pairs up very nicely with this tea. The lemon and ginger in the tea really complemented the pungent flavors in the noodle dish. The slight bitterness and earthiness of the green tea also truly enhanced the Asian flavors.
I will be sharing more food and tea experiences in subsequent posts.
One thing I have noticed since I began sampling tea varieties and blends from all over the world is the distinct difference in body. I have also always wondered why most flavored teas I tried tasted a) watery and b) over flavored. What I came to discover is that 99% of flavored teas use either Sri Lankan tea as a base or some combination of Sri Lankan tea, South American tea and Kenyan tea. All of these teas are extremely light bodied and do not stand up to added flavoring very well. Because these teas have such little body, they are consumed by any added flavoring, and therefore taste like they have been over flavored.
Assam tea, on the other hand, is a very full bodied tea. Because of the full bodied nature of Assam tea, a major misconception involving this tea is that you automatically add milk to it. While some Assam tea blends go well with milk, others do not. Also, what most tea consumers don’t realize is that Assam tea provides a great base for added flavoring. The reason is that the full bodied nature of the Assam tea holds its own flavor when other flavoring is added. The end result is a flavored tea that allows the consumer to taste the tea and the flavoring.
Think of Assam tea in comparison to a full bodied wine or beer. You wiil find that the full bodied varieties will hold up much better to added flavoring and ultimately produce a much more balanced taste.