Teas to Pair With Hanukkah Foods

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The holidays are all about family, fun, and food. Kat is planning all sorts of events, including a big Hanukkah feast She is doing a pot-luck dinner with each friend bringing a different dish. I’ve decided I’m going to be doing the tea pairings. That’s right Dearies, each course is going to have a tea paired with it. Just call me Tippy the tea sommelier! Here’s what I’m planning to pair with each course:

Our appetizer will be freshly fried potato pancakes (latkes). Oh how I love these pancakes that are crispy on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside. Traditional toppings include apple sauce, sugar, and sour cream. It took me awhile to decide on a tea pairing, and I’m going to serve a second flush Darjeeling with the latkes. Darjeeling has natural muscatel grape notes, and this will pair nicely with the toppings. It’s also a tea with a bit of body too it, to cut through the fried latkes. A first flush Darjeeling would be too subtle for this strong flavors, so make sure you get a second flush!

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Our main course is going to be a luscious beef brisket. It’s savory with lots of sweet carrots and earthy potatoes. This is a comforting dish that’s on the heavier side, perfect for chilly nights. I’m going to pair a bright and bold Ceylon tea with the brisket. It’s very strong to hold up to the stewy flavors and will bring out the sweetness in the carrots.

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For dessert, Kat is frying up jelly donuts (sufganiyot)! This is a labor intensive dessert, but one that is worthy of the holiday. For Hanukkah it’s symbolic to serve things fried in oil. This represents the miracle that the Hanukkah lamp oil lasted for 8 nights instead of just one. For the sweet donuts, I am going to pair HyVee Chocolate Mint tea. I think this tea is the perfect thing for just about anything sweet! It has a lovely combination of chocolate and peppermint that your guests are sure to love. Kat finds it refreshing and quite perfect for wintertime. Since we’re just serving the donuts, this dessert-flavored tea will enhance the end to our dinner party. This is an herbal tea so everyone can enjoy it, even the little ones! Kat’s niece Camille just adores this tea for the sweet chocolate flavor. Kat often gives Camille a few bags of her own to take home.

Happy Hanukkah Dearies! I hope all of your festivities are delicious and fun!

Hanukkah Tea Party!

IMG_5633.JPGCrispy potato pancakes, warm fluffy doughnuts, and savory beef brisket.  I just adore the traditional foods served during Hanukkah!  Just thinking about it warms the bottom of my cup. Of course, tea is the perfect addition to any Hanukkah gathering. Here are some ideas I’ve gathered for a Hanukkah-themed tea party that no one will forget:

—Instead of a gift exchange, how about a tea cup exchange? Before the party, have everyone draw a name for the recipient of a teacup, and choose one lovely cup and saucer to bring your to the party. You can exchange cups, and then use them to drink your tea! Everyone gets to go home with a lovely tea cup to remember the fantastic party. It’s a unique way to do holiday gift-giving.

—Bake cookies for your Hanukkah tea! You can use Hanukkah themed cookie cutters, and get pretty blue sanding sugar for decoration. Butter cookies pair perfectly for a tea party, and I love this recipe in particular. They are a comforting homemade treat.

—Use your menorah as a beautiful centerpiece. It’s the star of the show after all! Be sure to light the candles together, and take turns telling your favorite hanukkah memories.

Don’t forget the tea to pair with your savories and sweets! I think a smoky Lapsang Souchong pairs perfectly with the savory flavors of beef brisket. The smoky and malty elements of the tea pair well with the meat, onions, and carrots. I particularly like Lapsang Souchong tea from Harney & Sons. It has a rich smoky flavor and subtle fruity notes that pair perfectly with the beef. The rich tasting tea will bring to mind a fine red wine.

For those earthy potato latkes dipped in tart apple sauce, a sweet and malty Yunnan black tea would be lovely. The roasted yam notes in the tea harmonize with the crisp potato. The malty flavor of the tea will also work well with the rich potato pancakes.

For the sweet desserts such as doughnuts and apple fritters, I love a good complex shou puerh. It’s perfect to cut through the dense sweetness of the fried treats. I love puerh after a meal, it helps to ease that full tummy. The sweet complex brew will enhance your desserts.

Don’t forget to have lots of chocolate coins ready for a game of dreidel! I wish you all a convivial Hanukkah celebration!

Tea Themed Holiday Gifts

vsco-photo-2.jpgIt’s starting to look a lot like Christmas in our house! Kat has started pulling out garlands, poinsettia plants, and there is silver and gold everywhere you look. The house looks so festive! She is also starting to create her holiday gift-giving list. Of course she’s adding tea themed items to as many gifts as possible. Here are a few tea themed gift ideas for the various people in your life!

For a significant other: If you have a significant other that enjoys tea, a special oolong tea is a wonderful choice. I love gift sets from Eco-Cha tea.These are high quality oolong teas personally sourced by the founders. The teas are produced by small farmers that ensures a high quality artisanal oolong tea.

For college students: Matcha is a trendy and delicious way to boost energy and concentration, two things that any college student can use! Fuel late night study sessions and early morning classes with the delicious green stuff. A matcha starter kit is a perfect gift to give the matcha newbie all of the essentials to making a great bowl.

For the little ones: Any child would be excited to get a little tea set and tea of their very own to put in it. Kat loves to comb the antique stores for vintage tea sets for her nieces and nephews. She also found the most wonderful tea to add to the gift, so they have everything they need for a tea party! Her local Sprouts market is selling a Candy Cane flavored herbal tea, that is perfect for this time of year! This tea is Christmas in a cup!  Kat went to the store to do some grocery shopping and noticed the festive candy canes on the box. She couldn’t resist such a fun Christmasy tea! When she brewed a cup at home, she was instantly hit with the peppermint aroma. It was as if she was sitting next to a tree decked out with candy canes. This festive tea is minty, with a kick of licorice root and cinnamon. Perfect flavors for gathering around the fireplace after a big holiday dinner. This is an herbal tea, so it can be enjoyed any time of day!

For friends: A lovely teacup of their very own, and a flight of teas would make an elegant holiday gift. You can choose different types of tea (Green, black, white, oolong) or pick different varieties of one type of tea (different flushes of Darjeeling tea, different types of green teas, various oolong teas, etc). For the teacup, Kat likes the visit antique stores and flea markets. A hand selected vintage cup has an extra special feel to it. Plus, us vintage cups have a great deal of wisdom and lots of stories to tell!

For co-workers: A DIY kit to enjoy tea in the office. A small teapot that fits about 16-18 ounces is the perfect size to enjoy at a desk. Various teabags in a beautiful box, a small jar of honey, and a teaspoon would round out the perfect gift for an officemate. I also like to include a small tin of loose leaf tea.

For parents and grandparents: A useful but beautiful teapot and cups. You can do a delicate vintage set, or a sturdier modern stoneware set. Kat is eyeing a beautiful glass teapot and cup set for her parents. They enjoy tea every afternoon, and a glass set would let them observe the colors of their tea while sipping and relaxing.

For teachers: Kat likes to select tumblers for iced and hot tea. These are easily portable items that can be taken to and from the classroom. An insulated tumbler keeps tea hot for an entire school day and is perfect to keep on a desk for a much needed reinvigorating sip. Or a tumbler for iced tea is the right choice for teachers that prefer sips of cool, refreshing tea.

Get creative and be sure to include tea with your holiday gifts! Be sure to visit my pinterest page for many other holiday gift ideas!