A little over a year ago I took a closer look at the issue of pairing tea and cheese. The topic was hot then and seems to be getting hotter every year. So, it’s time to take a look at more “cheesy” tea time pairings, for tea and cheese go together as naturally as cheese and wine.
One of the amazing things about cheese is that there are hundreds of different ones out there. Just as there are hundreds (and some say thousands) of different teas (we’re talking about true tea from Camellia Sinensis and without flavorings added). You probably know about some of the more readily available cheeses. These include: cheddar, Colby, cottage, brie, parmesan, Swiss, American, mozzarella, Monterey jack, ricotta, and Velveeta. You also probably know about the more common teas, such as: black tea blends (English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, PG Tips, Barry’s, Typhoo, etc.), generic green teas, and flavored classics like Earl Grey, Jasmine, and teas with cinnamon and spices added (often just called “chai”). There are many others that are not as well-known but that go well with teas.
Here I’m going to take the same tack that I did on tea and chocolatepairings recently, that is, I’m going to consolidate a wealth of suggestions found online. Saves you some time and a sore mouse clicking finger.
There were so many that I split the list into three parts. Let’s start with white, green, and oolong teas, and cheeses to pair with them.
- White Peony (also known as Pai Mu Tan or Baimudan) with Buffalo Mozzarella — A mildly salty cheese and a tea with a delicate nectarine flavor combine to give you a subtle and smooth pairing.
- White Peony with goat cheese blended with honey — The honey in the goat cheese brought out some really nice honeysuckle nectar-like notes in the White Peony.
- White Peony with Chevre, Marieke Gouda, Hooks 3-Year Cheddar, Hooks Blue Cheese, Sarvecchio, Carr Valley Mobay — The tea complements the very distinct flavors of these cheeses.
- Kukicha or Sencha with Asiago Pressata — A very mild cheese to go with green teas with a low amount of tannins.
- Sencha with Manchego — A delicate green tea that mellows out the sharpness of this hard cheese.
- Mao Feng Young Tips Green Tea and King Island Triple Cream Brie — This tea has a distinctly creamy aroma followed by a light grassy flavor. The cheese is soft white and creamy, making the pairing quite dramatic.
- Lung Ching / Longjing / Dragonwell with aged raw milk Gruyère (two-year), Walnut Cheese, Emmenthal — The nutty, sweet tea makes it a good match for Gruyère (fatty, salty), walnut cheese (nutty), and Emmenthal (nutty, salty).
- Gyokuro with Lost Lake — This spinachy, kelpy, astringent, and vegetal tea cuts through the fat of this goat cheese (from Fifth Town Artisan Dairy, Ontario, Canada). [my review of Gyokuro]
- Jasmine Green with Chevre, Marieke Gouda, Hooks 3-Year Cheddar, Hooks Blue Cheese, Sarvecchio, Carr Valley Mobay — Just like White Peony, this tea complements the very distinct flavors of these cheeses.
- Tie Guan Yin with Dutch Goat Cheese or Monte Enebro (Spanish goat cheese) — The tea, a lightly oxidized oolong, has a floral/fruity aroma that sets off the tanginess of both cheeses and brings out the lemony quality of the Monte Enebro while softening its more musty aroma.
- Milk Oolong with Manchego (Aged) — The tea’s smooth, slightly floral notes contrast with the cheese’s deep, rich pepper quality.
- Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) with Australian Blackjack Vintage Cheddar — The tea, a highly oxidized Wuyi Rock oolong with a flavor that is earthy, rich, malty, and mildly charcoal, goes well with the full flavored vintage cheddar, producing a ‘coconut’ flavor that the tea does not have by itself.
Part II covers Darjeeling and black teas paired with various cheeses!
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