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!

Pairing Tea + Ice Cream!

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Do you know one of my favorite things is about summer? Eating ice cream! Dearies, I know, I’m a teacup and I should really have a one-track mind. But I admit I’ve developed a taste for the creamy, sweet, icy stuff. Last night I had a revelation- I was steeping a lovely Earl grey tea for Kat, and she decided to scoop up a dish of chocolate ice cream while I was steeping. It suddenly occurred to me- why can’t we pair teas with our ice cream? There is something so comforting about luscious ice cream and warm soothing tea. Here are a few irresistible combinations we came up with. It was certainly fun doing all of this tasty research!

Matcha + Vanilla ice cream: If you’ve ever had a matcha latte, you know that matcha and milk are a perfect combination. Add in fragrant vanilla and it’s even more heavenly. The creamy sweet flavor balances out the vegetal slightly bitter matcha. This tea can pack an energy punch, so you may want to try this pairing earlier in the day. It’s never too early for ice cream, right Dearies?

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Ginger peach tea + mango ice cream: For a double dose of fruity goodness, try pairing mango ice cream with another fruity tea. Kat loves to pair the ice cream with HEB My Cup of Comfort Ginger Peach Black Tea. This black tea has a soft, sweet peach flavor. The peach isn’t too overpowering and combines perfectly with the black tea. One of Kat’s closest friends loves this tea, and recently served it with spicy ginger cookies. Kat loved the combination of spicy ginger and sweet mango so much that she started dunking the cookies in the tea! Her friend was so delighted that she insisted on giving her the rest of the box of tea to take home. Kat actually likes to pull this tea out when she wants a bit of soothing relaxation. The warm peach flavor is like a cozy fuzzy blanket. The ginger is tingly on the palate, and compliments the smooth peach. In the summer Kat likes to drink this tea iced. It’s quite juicy and refreshing. She adds a bit of fresh ginger to the iced tea to enhance the spicy flavor. The peach flavor in this tea harmonizes with the decadent mango ice cream pairing.

Sencha + strawberry ice cream: I just love a good, grassy sencha tea. It’s fresh, light, and quite energizing. The vegetal freshness pairs well with sweet, slightly tart strawberries. Of course, the ice cream is creamy and sweet, which makes a pleasant contrast to the sencha. Dearies, sometimes you want your pairings to compliment but also contrast each other a bit. It brings a more interesting flavor experience.

Masala chai + coconut ice cream: Recently Kat had a coconut chai tea at a local café and was floored by the flavor combinations. This pairing creates a symphony of flavors, sweet, spicy, and fragrant. The coconut will make you feel like you’re on a tropical island, especially combined with those warming chai spices. This is one of my most favorite flavor pairings!

Don’t forget about pairing iced tea with your frozen treats! You can cool down any of these teas if the idea of a warm tea and cold dessert doesn’t appeal to you.

Black iced tea + lemon sorbet: If you do decide to go with iced, our favorite is an earthy, bold black iced tea with sweet and tangy lemon sorbet. It will feel as if you’re drinking a lemon tea slushie! Hmm, that could be a fun summer recipe to work on!

I love the idea of cold teas and ice cream, but Dearies I’d suggest you try the teas warm at least once. Kat just loves the cold ice cream and warm tea! The warmth also changes the flavors a bit, and you’ll find new tasting notes you didn’t detect before.

Next time you find yourself scooping up a bowl of ice cream, think about what tea you’d like to try with it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the combination. Isn’t it fun to experiment with tea and food pairings?

Tippy’s Tea-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

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Dearies, it’s Memorial Day weekend and the grilling season is upon us! I thought I’d share my easy chicken tea marinade that Kat likes to use for an easy weeknight grilled meal. It’s also perfect for a crowd! It’s easy to double or triple the recipe. The tea creates a tender, juicy grilled chicken.

 Tippy’s Tea-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 cups strong black tea fully cooled (you will need 2 tea bags, we like to use Harris Tea Decaffeinated Black Tea)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated ginger

pinch of black pepper

 Boil water for tea. Steep 2 tea bags in 2 cups of water, for 15 minutes and set aside until fully cooled.

 Pound chicken breasts out until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. The thinner you pound them out, the faster they will cook.

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 In a medium sized bowl combine cooled tea, soy sauce, ginger, and black pepper. Whisk together well. Pour over chicken and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but can also be left overnight. Kat will often put the mixture together in the morning, and will let everything marinate while she’s at work.

 Once marinated, we like to grill our chicken, and serve with fresh jasmine rice, and steamed broccoli or green beans for a healthy and light meal. But you can also cut the chicken up into pieces and stir fry with assorted veggies.

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Kat likes to use Harris Tea Decaffeinated Black Tea in this marinade. The tea is simple, brisk, and perfect with the chicken. She always has it in her pantry for the times that she wants a quick, easy, tasty cup of black tea at any time of the day. It also makes a lovely cold brewed iced tea! This would be a refreshing pairing with the chicken breasts. Kat likes to add lots of lemon and a touch of honey to this iced tea. Serve this meal for your family or your next outdoor gathering. It’s super simple and tasty.

Get ready for grilling season with this delicious tea themed recipe! I do hope you enjoy it.

DIY Infused Sugars + Tea Pairings

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Dearies, Kat and I have a little secret to making our tea times extra special. We serve infused sugars to give an extra dose of flavor to our teas! Flavor infused sugars are perfect for your next tea party, little gathering, or even for a special moment for yourself.

Our infused sugars are easy to make, and you can package them in a beautiful jar or canister for gift giving. You can use all sorts of flavors, and they take no time at all to create. The only time needed is a little bit of rest for the finished blend, to make sure the flavor fully infuses into the sugar.

 Basically all you need is a ratio of 4:1 of sugar to flavor. We usually do about a cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of mix-ins. For a strongly scented herb like lavender, you’ll want to use a little less herb. You can always start with a smaller amount and then add as needed!

Some of our favorite sugars to create are:

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Citrus Sugar: take your citrus of choice (Kat likes meyer lemon), wash, dry thoroughly and grate the zest only. Mix in with your sugar. We like to peel a few larger pieces of zest for displaying on top of the sugar bowl for guests.

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Vanilla Sugar: I like to use a fresh vanilla bean for this recipe. Open one vanilla pod, use a knife to scrape the seeds, and add the seeds and the empty pod to your mixture. Mix well, as those tiny seeds like to stick together! This will need to sit for a few days or up to a week for all the flavors to meld before you use it. But once you do, oh my the vanilla flavor is amazing!

Lavender Sugar: Simply take lavender petals and mix in with your sugar.

You can even do matcha sugar! If you’re doing one of these, you only need about 2 tsp of matcha per cup of sugar. Kat likes to sprinkle matcha sugar on morning oatmeal and pancakes. It’s also a delicious finishing sugar for baked goods hot out of the oven.

Once you have your infused sugars, be sure to pair them with lots of different teas! Here are a few of our favorite sugar and tea pairings to get you started:

Citrus Sugar + Earl Grey. Since earl grey has the lovely bergamot flavor already infused we like to add the citrus sugar for even more zing. Kat likes to serve Wegmans Earl Grey to her guests. The blend is well balanced, and you will still be able to taste the black tea along with the fresh citrus flavor. Kat picked up a love for earl grey from her great uncle, who always had some in the afternoon. The citrus scent still reminds her of spending the afternoon playing chess with him while he sipped on his tea.

Vanilla Sugar + Black Tea- The vanilla sugar is so delicious, we like a malty, sweet black tea to pair with it. I like a good Ceylon or Assam. Wegmans English Breakfast is the perfect accompaniment. It has a blend of bold and sweet black teas, and that vanilla sugar will complement the brew perfectly.

Lavender Sugar + chamomile tea. I love combining floral flavors in tea. As you know, I wrote an early post about it! The Wegmans Chamomile has a honey sweetness that blends with the lavender. One sip and you’ll feel like you are in a sunny field of French lavender!

I do hope you like my infused sugar ideas! Gift them for Mother’s Day, and serve them at your next tea party. Or just save them for a special moment all your own!

Pairing Tea And Pie

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You know I always look for reasons for celebration, and I’ve noticed that March 14th (3/14) is Pi Day! Yes, there is an entire day dedicated to celebrate the mathematical constant 3.14. Dearies, I’m more interested in tea and treats than mathematics so I’ve decided to celebrate with pie! Pie and tea, to be exact.

Let’s start off with sweet pies and teas. I like pairing a first flush Darjeeling with lighter tasting fruit pies such as peach, lemon, and strawberry. The earthy, grapey sweet muscatel notes in the tea work very nicely with these delicate fruit flavors. A light green tea such as sencha or nuttier dragonwell would also be a good choice. A lightly roasted oolong such as a Lishan would be a lovely choice. It is sweet, floral and a little bit grassy. These teas are light enough to let the delicate fruit flavors shine through, and their sweet and floral notes will complement the fruit.

For stronger fruits like blueberry, and cherry I like heavily roasted oolongs such as Tieguanyin and Da Hong Pao. The strong toasty notes, stone-fruit sweetness, even caramel notes compliment the pies and let the darker flavors come out. The fruit have bold flavors and need a stronger tea to compliment them. You could also try a nice Chinese black tea such as Dian Hong, which will be sweet, malty, with hints of dried fruit. The brightness of the tea will bring out the tart fruit notes.

You could also go for a savory pie! How about a shepherd’s pie with a dark puerh? The puerh will work well in cutting through that savory meaty goodness. It also helps with the digestion! Or I think a second flush Darjeeling would be lovely with a chicken pot-pie. It’s just the right amount of earthy, floral, and a little bit astringent to complement the chicken and veggies.

Instead of pairing teas with your pie, how about putting tea in the pie? I found this scrumptious recipe for Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie. This sweet, buttery, lemony tea-filled pie would be the perfect way to celebrate pi day! I’m printing this recipe out right now and leaving it on Kat’s desk. I’m not too subtle when it comes to hints, especially tea-related ones!

So my lovelies, will you be celebrating pi day with some pie and tea? I can’t think of a better reason to indulge. Can you?

Pairing Sweets With Tea

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Dearies, I’ve been studying our calendar in the kitchen and noticed there are two days in October dedicated to sweet treats! National Dessert Day (Oct. 14th) and National Chocolate Day (Oct. 28th). Throw in the candy-loving holiday of Halloween, and I think October should just be called Sweet Tooth Month!

These sweet celebrations reminded me of a trip I took with Char to Vienna. Such a beautiful, historic city, and gorgeous pastries of every size and flavor! Daydreaming of celebrations and Viennese pastry led me to an idea- wouldn’t it be fun to a have a tea and mini dessert party!? I think it’s the perfect excuse to have at least one tea and dessert get-together, so I mentioned it to Kat this morning. She of course agreed. We got right down to business and started thinking about the sweet treats to serve and what teas to pair with them.

When you are pairing teas with the sweets, there are two main directions you can go in- you can try to pair the sweets with teas that have similar flavor notes (floral, honey, fruity, spicy, nutty, etc). Or you could pair by strength- lighter desserts with lighter teas and rich desserts with bolder teas.

Kat and I have greatly enjoyed doing our ‘research’. Here are some flavor combinations we are dreaming (and drooling) over:

Dark chocolate desserts are strong with a slightly bitter sweetness. We enjoyed pairing these with a malty bold Assam that stood up to the strong flavor. A full bodied floral and sweet second flush Darjeeling also complimented the chocolate. My favorite is serving an Earl Grey with that dark chocolate dessert. The bergamot enhances the sweet bitterness beautifully. We figured this out when Kat brought home a box of artisanal chocolates a co-worker gave her as a thank you note. When she tried the dark chocolate early grey truffle, the flavors were singing on her tongue.

For a milk chocolate dessert, try a gentle and vegetal sencha green tea or a lightly roasted floral oolong. The flavor of the chocolate is a bit mellower, and the sweetness will pair well with the green tea. The floral and honey notes in the oolong are lovely with the milk chocolate.

For a super-rich dessert like cheesecake, go as bold as you can with your tea. Smoky flavors also work well, to cut through the richness. Try keemun, or lapsang souchong for strong flavors, a bit of astringency, and the smokiness. The layers of flavor will add new dimension to your dessert. Our favorite tea to pair with a decadent treat is an earthy, sweet pu-erh to cut through the richness and soothe the tummy.

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Since it is apple season, bake up an apple cake, or mini apple tarts and serve it with Darjeeling. The grapey fruit flavor of the Darjeeling will complement the apples quite nicely. The floral notes will make you feel as if you are sitting in an apple orchard!

For milder desserts a white tea would be lovely. For something nutty, try pairing with hojicha, a roasted green tea. Have a dessert with caramel? A medium-roasted oolong would pair nicely.

What would you serve and a tea and dessert party? The best way to decide is to get out there and get tasting!