It’s no secret (or at least it shouldn’t be) that tea goes great with just about any kind of food. As with wine, the trick is to figure out which teas and foods make the best match. In the world of wine, this function is typically carried out by an individual known as a sommelier. In the world of tea, this function may be carried out by…well, by a tea sommelier.
This is a relatively new concept in most circles, but with the increasing interest in “good” tea, more tea sommeliers are beginning to pop up on the scene.
Speaking of tea sommeliers, here’s an article about Cynthia Gold, a Massachusetts-based sommelier who plies her trade at The Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers. The article gives some interesting insights into what a tea sommelier does and also discusses Culinary Tea: More Than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World, a recently released book that Gold co-wrote.
Of course, as Gold’s book and a number of other tea-related cookbooks would suggest, tea is not just a great accompaniment to food, but it can also be used as an ingredient. It even serves nicely as an ingredient in chocolate, or at least that’s what Smile Chocolatiers, a California-based treat maker, is betting on. They recently came out with a line of chocolates that are infused with “the essence of finely crushed organic teas.” Works for me.
Tea infused prunes doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as chocolate and tea, but your mileage may vary. The contributor of this recipe recommends using Earl Grey or jasmine tea, but anyone eager to try out this recipe could doubtless use their imagination when it comes to tea selection.
If tea and seafood are more your speed, then you might be interested in this recipe for Tea-Smoked Clams And Mussels With Szechuan Mignonette. It calls for “loose tea,” which is of course a rather generic notion, given that there are hundreds or even thousands of varieties of such. Once again, a little bit of imaginative tea selection should go a long way toward making this a memorable dish.
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