Pairing tea with food is half-art, half-experiment and 100% our thing.
Of course, we love tea, but what makes pairings so interesting is that it’s about more than just the brew. It’s about balancing textures and finding complementary or similar flavour profiles to enhance the food experience.
This holiday, skip the usual wine and cheese for a different type of get together. One that allows guests to experience and explore tea in a different (and more inclusive) way with a tea and cheese party.
We cannot tell you how much fun we had putting the pairings together for this special holiday project. It’s not the first time we’ve paired tea with cheese (and a host of other delicious foods), but it’s the first time we collaborated with an expert to explore new flavours.
To find the most delicious combinations, we worked with Montreal cheesemonger Mahmoud Malik, aka @obelixthecheesemonger, who helped us navigate the vast and savoury world of cheese.
We’re sharing our top four pairings below, but to get there, we spent a whole afternoon in the tea lab tasting over 16 different varieties of cheese. Tough job, but someone had to do it.
So put the kettle on, invite your friends and celebrate the season with a totally unique flavour journey. You can find most of these teas in our aptly named Discovery Kit or at your local DAVIDsTEA store.
Here are our top four:
Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro and Aged Goat Cheddar
The pairing of our umami-rich Gyokuro Yamashiro with a sharp goat cheddar was one of the favourites from the tasting. The sweetgrass and delicate roasted chestnut notes of our organic Japanese green tea were highlighted by the sharp and bold flavour of the cheese.
Firm but crumbly, the texture of goat cheddar melts to a creamy feeling in your mouth and is refreshed by the crispness of the tea.
Alternative: Firm Goat Cheese or Strong Aged Cheddar
Tie Kwan Yin and Vermeer, an Aged Gouda
This wins for the most fun pairing. The synergy of the textures and flavours reminded us of the first time we tasted Pop Rocks, that tingly burst of flavour on your tongue! That feeling is the result of the crunchy crystals in the aged gouda mixing with our lively oolong, which accentuates the sweet peachy notes of the tea. The nutty flavours present in both the tea and the cheese act as the bridge for this otherworldly match.
Alternative: Gouda or Aged Gruyère
Honey Black and Dauphin (Prince of Brie)
A luxurious match. Our sweet and complex Honey Black tea is the perfect companion to this ultra-creamy and silky cheese with tender rind. Legend has it that the son of King Louis XIV enjoyed the buttery sweetness of this particular cheese so much, that it was named after him. (Dauphin was a title given to the eldest son of the King of France.) The taste is decadent, smooth and has a lingering dainty sweetness.
Alternative: Creamy Brie or Triple Cream Cheese
Sheng Pu’erh and Tomme de Savoie
Playing with the earthy flavour of our year-old Sheng Pu’erh and a Tomme de Savoie, we created a warm and grounding pairing to end the journey. The supple pu’erh mingles with the semi-soft cheese with notes of nuts, wet straw and a refreshing tang, thanks to the natural rind of the Tomme. Uncomplicated, chill and easy going.
Alternative: Gruyère or Comté