Wine and food pairing. Whiskey and food pairing. But tea and food pairing? You bet.
Choosing the right tea to pair with a meal is an art. The subtle flavors and aroma of a tea need to enhance the food, but not overpower it. Kathy Heck, owner of The Talking Teacup, understands this well. For the past ten years, she has delighted customers with high teas, fresh lunches and desserts in a 250-year old restored farmhouse in Chalfont. With a selection of over 100 teas, Kathy knows how to pair good teas with good food.
Like wine, tea is meant to complement the meal and enhance flavors, while keeping the food the centerpiece of the meal. “Tea pairing is very similar to food and wine pairing,” said Heck. “As with wine pairings, you typically start with lighter wines, such as white wine and switch to a red wine with the main course. This is similar to how I plan tea pairings.”
When choosing a tea for a meal, consider the food first. Some teas offer robust and vibrant flavors, while others have subtle flavors and are a better match for lighter food.
Think too about the time of year. In the fall and winter months, teas that are full-bodied pair well with most cold weather foods. During the fall and winter, “Chai teas are also very popular” said Heck, “these can either be black tea blends or decaf blended with an assortment of pieces.”
While warm and robust teas are well balanced with hearty winter meals, lighter teas go well with warm weather and lighter foods. When choosing a tea during spring and summer, try a white or green tea. Light salads that include fruit will pair well with white teas, especially if they are flavored with a fruit such as white peaches.
When deciding which tea is the best match for your meal, Heck suggests that you develop the menu first, and then decide which teas are most suitable. Concentrating on the flavors of your meal and how you can use tea to enhance them, will help you choose the right tea for the right food.
The Talking Teacup is also a proud supporter of the annual Gourmet Getaway: Cuisine for a Cause in March. The event, organized by the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business group, provides scholarships for deserving Bucks County women.
This post is part of a series of articles about local food establishments who will be participating at the Gourmet Getaway: Cuisine for a Cause. Our thanks to all of them for supporting such a great cause.