Food pairings

What sort of food, sweet or savory, do you like to pair with your favorite teas? I know I like to pair a butter cookie with some of my desserty black teas. Every so often I have friends over and do a full afternoon tea spread with finger sandwiches and scones and macaroons. I just tried a recipe for Indonesian Nutmeg Cookies. They’re basically butter cookies with nutmeg, but they were pretty good! How about you guys?

20 Replies

Great topic Leah. My wife and I love Darjeeling with peach cobbler…don’t ask me why! :)

That sounds really delicious, actually!

Utopia Tea said

that sounds amazingly good! I think we’ll try that too!

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teataku said

I have ALWAYS wanted to have friends over for afternoon tea or something, but my problem is not that I don’t have time, or that I can’t ever get it together, but that my friends are, for the large part, not interested. I think it’ll have to be done for my family one day, or perhaps my fiancé’s friends. (Believe it or not, they might be more likely to humor me than my own friends…)

Anyway, I think I tend to prefer savory foods with full-bodied teas, like pu-erhs or blacks, and sweet foods with light teas, like whites and greens, flavored or otherwise. The reason I do that is that savory foods tend to leave such a strong aftertaste in your mouth, you need a strong tea to balance it out and wash it down. With sweet foods, all they need is a little swish of clarity that doesn’t drown out the delicate sugary flavors. It’s kind of the same principle as pairing red wine with red meats and white wine with fish and pasta and the like.

Now, I do break my own rules when it comes to flavored black teas that have more of a dessert-y flavor, like you said, Leah Claire. My Ciao Amaretto black tea, flavored with cherries and almonds, is the tea that I pair with scones. It has a fantastically smooth finish, which is just perfect with really any baked good. So, if it’s a flavored tea, the type of flavoring definitely factors into pairing it with something.

As far as my favorite tea/food pairing, it would have to be my Emerald Bamboo Forest white tea (from Teavana) with sugar cookies, iced or un-iced. :) Play with your own palates, though. Some people might prefer completely the opposite of mine.

And Indonesian Nutmeg Cookies sound really good… :)

I’ve found that I have to selectively invite. I mean, I don’t keep it a secret or anything, but I only invite the 5-10 people I know would enjoy a tea party—who will come dressed up and ready to do damage to the plates of cookies.

I think you’re definitely right about savory foods and strong teas. I don’t usually think of drinking tea when I’m eating something savory because for so long, tea has occupied the same status in my head as “dessert” so I think of it as an after dinner thing, but I’ve been trying to change that. Especially since I always like it when it’s served with a meal at a restaurant.

Mmmm, amaretto + scones sounds delicious!

Teataku, I agree with almost everything you’ve said. Good reasoning. My only difference is I think iced sugar cookies go with just about any kind of tea. Wish I had one right now!

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Tamm said

White tea is really not my favorite, but pairing it with melons is quite nice.

I think I once had a melon-flavored white with a slice of cantaloupe. It felt like a good decision, haha.

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Along with Tamm I think that pairing whites with fruit is quite nice, part of my Sunday morning ritual consists of a bold tippy Assam and dark chocolate almond biscottis. :)

Also not sure why but I crave chinese food whenever I have a Darjeeling.

Yessss, those both sound like excellent combinations. Now I’m hungry, damn it.

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Hey! We have some info about tea pairings here, if you’d like to check it out! :)

Thank you!

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Here are some of my favorite pairings:
Black tea (strong, non-flavored): with any type of breakfast food, but particularly with pancakes or waffles. Also great with any type of chocolate or cookie.
Black tea, flavored (example: Harney & Sons Paris): goes very well with shortbread cookies or a toasted, buttered English muffin with or without jam/jelly
Oolong tea: Good by itself; exceptionally good with spicy or creamy Thai food, like panang curry
Green tea: Excellent with sliced fruit of any kind; good with any type of Asian food or rice; surprisingly good with popcorn and sweet/salty snacks
White tea: Best consumed without food, as the flavors of white tea tend to be delicate and food overpowers them. However, white tea and berries can be a good combination.

I have a coconut oolong that I’m totally going to drink with my next curry! Thanks for the suggestion!

Nicole said

Paris & shortbread – yes, yes, yes!

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Nicole said

Earl Grey with dark chocolate.

My dear, you’re a bloody genius!

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Alishan said

Pot of high mountain tea with a sidecar of Gran Marnier rocks.

Nice! I’ve had a very hit-or-miss time with mixing liquor and tea, but that sounds excellent!

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Pekoe said

I always have scones with my earl grey

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