Pairing Tea as you would fine wines. A seminar from the World Tea Expo.

I recently was once again traveling away from L’Espalier to attend the World Tea Expo where it was my great pleasure to again teach a seminar on Pairing Food with Tea.  This is one of my favorite topics to speak on.  Pairing tea and food as well as cooking with tea are areas which I believe deserve much more attention and exploration.  Camellia Sinensis is a flexible botanical with diverse culinary potential that is just beginning to be appreciated.
It was an exciting and hectic trip as this class overlapped with the certification level Specialty Tea Institute classes that I was also teaching, meaning that it was a mad dash back and forth!  The concepts in this class discussed tasting teas to deconstruct them into their basic elements in the same way you would look at wines to pair them.  Once you have looked at the teas flavors, aromatics and textures, you can then pair them for compatibility, contrast and/or balance.
Wine is of course an ideal complement to most meals, and L’Espalier is known for it’s exceptional wine list, but for a variety of reasons, you may not always want to be consuming alcohol.  Fine teas give you the opportunity to offer an ideal pairing of food and beverage to elevate the dining experience on the days that wine does not make sense for you. This class was a fun and tasty one where we nibbled on various fruits, cheeses, chocolates and even some tea cured salmon and talked about why certain teas paired well with some of these items and others did not.  Although my goal was for all the students to leave the class able to taste teas with an eye towards proper pairing, and develop ideal pairings on their own, this was still a much more relaxed and casual class than the certification level classes for STI.  There were no exams involved with this pairing class!

I’ve been away from L’Espalier quite a bit lately for various classes and conferences, not to mention a recent trip to Nepal, but I am not planning any more trips in the next couple of months as we have so many exciting tea events coming up here at home!  If you want to find out more about our upcoming tea events, you can look on our website, but for a quick summary of what will be keeping me here in Boston for the next couple of months, and happily steeped in tea:
November 18th, our monthly guided tea tasting focused on Darjeeling.  We’ll be enjoying some classic Darjeelings as well as some very rare and unusual ones.
December 2nd, we’re having ‘A Tea Blending Party’ where we’ll talk about how to blend teas and then get hands-on!  Each of our guests will leave with a pouch of their own signature tea blend.
December 9th, our ‘Princess Tea’ geared towards our younger tea lovers with a variety of special treats and tiara’s and crowns for all of our special young guests!
December 16th, the anniversary of the historic event that led to the American Revolution!  We’ll be tasting the teas that went into the harbor on that fateful day as well as a colonial style tea punch.
December 23rd and 24th our Holiday Tea Celebrations with a lively Holiday theme and special holiday treats.  A great family event.
December 30th, a Tarot Tea.  See what 2013 has in store for you!  Enjoy a classic Afternoon Tea experience, including L’Espalier fortune cookies many of which reveal special prizes, then have your cards read.  What a great way to finish off 2012.
January 6th, A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  Come unveil your favorite hats at a very special tea party for children of all ages!
Photos courtesy of Julian Landa.

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