Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Chocolate and Tea Pairing
Members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association gathered at Tea by Two in Bel Air, MD for the fall quarterly meeting earlier this month. A portion of the meeting was set aside for a tea and chocolate pairing under the guidance of Lisa Boalt Richardson. She explained that pairing is an art and a science, that there must be a conscious effort and a deliberate process that involves being totally engrossed in the moment. You must learn how to taste. Having said that, it's important to know that there is no right or wrong answer.
We had a variety of chocolate in front of each of us. We were instructed to take a small bite of the chocolate and let it soften and melt from the warmth of the mouth. Then, take a sip of the tea. After noting the flavors, a sip of water was offered before repeating the process with the second tea. The Lindt white chocolate was paired with Sencha and also with Gunpowder, both green teas. Our group noted that the white chocolate overpowered the sencha.
The Cadbury milk chocolate with the highest fat content, thus coating the mouth, was paired with two teas that are opposites in astringency levels. Paired with a Ti Kuan Yin Oolong and a Glenburn single estate Darjeeling we noted that the chocolate sweetened the tea and made it smooth. The semi sweet was paired with Ceylon Kenilworth and also a hearty Glenburn Estate Assam golden tip. The Assam and the semi sweet created a balanced flavor combination, almost becoming one. And finally, the Lindt bitter chocolate with 70% or more cacao was paired with the Assam and a puerh. The puerh balanced well with the bitter chocolate.
This was definitely an enjoyable and entertaining afternoon, not to mention quite tasty, too!