Tea Is a Trifling Matter

Just a sampling of the trifle varieties out there. (Photo source: Yahoo! Images)
Just a sampling of the trifle varieties out there. (Photo source: Yahoo! Images)

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Tea is a trifling matter, but only when it is served with that totally decadent dessert called “Trifle.” In fact, trifle at tea time is becoming quite a standard. So, what is trifle and what teas pair best with it? Easily asked and answered.

Trifle is basically a dessert dish made from thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or gelatin, and whipped cream arranged in alternating layers. The variations are almost infinite and recipes abound. I even came across one that used a double-strength steeping of a flavored tea in place of the fruit juice. And another recipe used spiced tea (chai). Yes, creativity abounds when it comes to trifles.

You can also take the easy route (the one I often prefer when it comes to cooking) and buy a mix. Just add milk and voilà! You’re ready for tea time — well, almost.

Here’s where things get a bit tricky. Which tea you serve with your trifle can depend on how fruity you got with it, or how you got fruity with it, if you know what I mean. The more fruits you put in, the wider selection of teas will pair with it. Or if you stuck with a particular fruit, you will want teas that go with that fruit, but the selection is still pretty broad. Keep the milk content in mind, too, since some teas don’t pair well with it.

Some teas to pair with your trifle, based on fruit and other content:

  • Strawberry — undoubtedly a common fruit for trifle (that mix I mentioned contains strawberry) — pair with Dragonwell, Ti Kuan Yin, or Darjeeling; if you’re avoiding caffeine, go with a nice rooibos (red bush) tisane.
  • Raspberry — being allergic to strawberries, I and others often substitute this fruit — pair with Ceylon black, Ceylon green, Darjeeling, Vietnamese Green.
  • Vanilla — what’s dessert without a dash of vanilla? — pair with Ceylon, Keemun, Darjeeling, Nilgiri
  • Apples — a ton of types to choose from and which you use is up to you — pair with Dragonwell, Ti Kuan Yin, Darjeeling, Oolong (any).
  • Bananas — go ape with your trifle by adding lots of banana slices — pair with Ceylon, Ti Kuan Yin, Tung Ting Oolong, Pouchong.
  • Peaches — my fave dessert fruit — pair with Tung Ting and other oolongs, especially ones with a peachy/nutty flavor, and Ceylon black tea or Pai Mu Tan; if you’re avoiding caffeine, go with a nice rooibos (red bush) tisane.

These are just a few of the possibilities, but they do show that, indeed, tea is a trifling matter. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 thoughts on “Tea Is a Trifling Matter

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Happily, there are many recipes that exclude alcohol. Great for us teatotalers! They may not be official, but for us they are preferrable. 🙂

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