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Foods that are just your cup of tea

Foods that are just your cup of tea

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.

Expert advice

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

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