You’ve heard of wine and food matching, but did you know that different styles of tea can equally enhance the dining experience?
With a growing number of consumers choosing to abstain from alcohol, tea offers the ideal accompaniment at the dinner table. It can be served as a palate cleanser between dishes or mouthfuls, or as a flavour bridge from one course to the next.
Unlike with wine, the rules are pretty simple: Whenever you’re preparing a recipe or choosing a dish, think of its main ingredients and choose your tea based on them. The idea is to complement or contrast the tastes found in tea/food.
The experts at premium tea brand Dilmah Tea have created this helpful guide to help you ‘bag’ the best pairings:
COMPONENTS: You might pair a sweet dish with a sweetened tea or seek to contrast the sweetness with a tea that has bitter elements.
FLAVOUR: Imagine a fruity tea that works to contrast and highlight the herbal flavours in a dish.
TEXTURES: What would you pair with a creamy cheese? A tea that has some astringency that will ‘cut through’ and reduce the richness of the cheese, so that you want to take another morsel of the cheese – somewhat like how wine interacts with cheese.
SENSATIONS: If your dish features chilli, perhaps you might opt for a tea that is rich as the tea can handle the piquant sensation and will not be overcome.
TEMPERATURE: You can get playful with temperature contrasts – for example, serve a hot tea with a cold dessert; serve an iced tea with a warm salad and so on.
BODY: Increase or add body to your tea with milk or honey and perhaps it might just stand up to heavy foods such as stews.
Some of the best pairings occur when you have a complement or contrast of 2-3 constituents.
Pairing (complement or contrast) for 1 constituent = acceptable match
Pairing (complement or contrast) for 2 constituents = good match
Pairing (complement or contrast) for 3 constituents = excellent match
Take a leaf out of our book
Here are some of our favourite pairings using teas from Dilmah’s Vivid and t-series ranges:
Dilmah Vivid range
• Ceylon breakfast: bangers and mash
• Ceylon tea with apple pie & vanilla: apple pie, apple crumble
• Ceylon tea with pomegranate & mint: Persian rice and kebabs
• Ceylon tea with chocolate & mint: chocolate mousse, dark chocolate
• Fragrant jasmine green tea: feta cheese or piri piri chicken
• Naturally pure green tea: bacon and eggs or strawberry jam
• Springtime oolong with ginger: chicken masala
• Pure peppermint leaves: chocolate brownies, vanilla desserts
• Gentle chamomile: apple pies, salads, mint ice cream, BBQ, roast turkey
• Natural lemon verbena: poached or scrambled eggs, cheese fondue
Dilmah t-series designer gourmet teas
• Sencha green extra special: delicate green and creamy salads, seafood, sushi, white chocolate, pistachio
• Moroccan mint green leaf tea: chocolate and chocolate desserts, mint flavoured dishes
• Ceylon young hyson (single region green tea): grilled seabass, mozzarella, brie, reblochon, gorgonzola
• Brilliant breakfast: beef burger, steak, rich fatty meats, desserts
• Original earl grey: green curries, spicy meat
• Ceylon cinnamon spice: creme brulee, chocolate, apple pie
• Rose with french vanilla: light cake, berry fruit, gruyere
• Italian almond: sweet cakes and pastries
• Mango and strawberry: sweet cakes and pastries
• Blueberry and pomegranate: chocolate cakes and pastries
For more tips and advice, download Dilmah’s new Tea & Food Pairing Guide https://issuu.com/dilmah/docs/tea_food_pairing_guide