Pairing Teas with Fall Food Favorites

Earl Grey Cream Tea (ETS image)
Earl Grey Cream Tea (ETS image)

Pairing tea and foods in the way that brings out the best of each can be tricky. Add to that the strong flavors that burst on the scene during the Fall season.

If your teas can’t hold their own and work with, not against, those strong flavors, you’ll be in for a horrific “battle of the tastebuds.” Keep the peace by making informed choices.

Pairing with Fall Breakfast Foods

Cooler temps call for pancakes with butter and maple syrup and a side of crispy bacon or sausage links. Some of those nice fluffy flaky biscuits with a nice milk gravy are another option. Add in some hash brown potatoes, warm fruit compote with cinnamon and brown sugar, and we’re talking a major meal event. So what tea will join the party, not spoil it?

A couple to try:

Pairing with Fall Spicy Foods

Cloves, ginger, allspice, anise, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, mint, thyme, sage, and other spices and flavorings come out of the cupboard and into recipes with more frequency and in higher quantities than during Spring and Summer. From the tangy and vinegary tomato aspic that my mom always served and that I love to this day to traditional treats like mincemeat and gingerbread to cranberry salad and heavily spiced stuffing, your tastebuds won’t know what hit ’em.

A couple to try:

Pairing with Fall Heavy Foods

Turkey is said to make you sleepy. Bread stuffing can sit heavy on your tummy. Sweet potato casserole with lots of real butter, brown sugar, and mini-marshmallows (an annual tradition at our house) can make you gain weight just reading about it (sorry!). And then there is goose, duck, ham, mashed potatoes (the potatoes aren’t fattening but the butter and gravy and whole milk are), macaroni and cheese, and other foods that tend to be heavier and having a higher fat content are front and center this time of year (no wonder most New Year’s resolution lists including taking off those “holiday pounds”). Tea can be very helpful for digestion, as discussed in this article, and help counter-balance those foods as well as helping you feel more alert.

A couple to try:

  • Ceylon Black — A classic Ceylon tea with a light colored liquid and hints of delicate floral notes. The cup is bright, tending yellow, delivering a superb classic tea. For the best brew, Ceylon should steep for 2-5 minutes in water that has been brought to a rolling boil.
  • Lapsang Souchong China Black Tea — A smoky flavor that stands up to those strongly flavored foods.

Pairing with Fall Dessert Foods

That gingerbread and mincemeat (usually baked into mini-pies) are part of this category, too. As are pumpkin and pecan pies and breads. Then there’s cinnamony apple pie and peppermint ice cream. They all need the right tea with them to have that happy dance in your mouth and tummy.

A couple to try:

  • Ti Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong Tea — A premium grade tea delivers a light cup with a pale green-yellow liquid that tastes first bitter, then sweet, finishing with a fragrance that lingers on your palate. Enjoy it hot. For the best brew, steep for 1-3 minutes in water that has been brought to a light boil (165-190° F).
  • Earl Grey Cream Tea — A smooth taste with vanilla overtones that stand out above the premium bergamot flavor – the signature taste of Earl Grey. An excellent all day tea with a superb finish.

May all your feasts be wonderfully satisfying and all your teas be tasty!

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.

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