No, you didn’t mis-read. It’s not wine and cheese I want to talk about, it’s tea and cheese! A wise Wisconsin gentleman, Bill Macier, owner of The Attic in Green Bay, made the great statement that we’ve been pairing tea with dairy products since the introduction of afternoon tea! Devonshire cream on scones, cream cheese on the cucumber sandwich, it seems to come naturally.
And if we want to get scientific about it, the common denominator between wine and tea are tannins. The mix of tannins is different in each type of tea. Tannins are what give wine and teas their complex and robust flavors and colors. They may cause these beverages to taste tart or astringent or give that feeling that the moisture is being wicked out of your mouth. Because they share this characteristic, they can equally be impacted by the right pairing of cheese.
Have some fun with this! Do what Kat did and host a tea and cheese tasting. There are no hard fast rules. It’s all about trying something new and enjoying the discover of how a taste of cheese can change the flavor profile of the tea you’re drinking, and vice versa. Here are some of her favorites from her latest gathering:
- Both Goat Cheese and Brie paired nicely with a hearty black tea like Irish Breakfast or an Assam.
- Cheddars vary between creamy mild and a crumbly sharp and everything in between. The milder cuts went best with flavored teas while the sharper bite paired better with White Teas and Oolong.
- Pepper Jack, with its creamy yet spicy bite went best with a refreshing glass of fresh brewed iced tea.
- Asiago paired nicely with her green tea selection.
Even though green and white teas have a different mix of tannins compared with black tea, they can still pair nicely with the lighter cheese. So go ahead! Give it a try. Tell me what cheese worked beautifully with which tea. We’ll compare notes!