Category Archives: food pairings

Cheese at the French Pavilion at the Food Show: Try these with tea!

Nathalie Barbier of Fromagerie Delin

Nathalie Barbier of Fromagerie Delin at the Fancy Food Show in SF.

If  anyone needed proof, a stroll around the  French pavilion at the SF Fancy Food Show was testimony to the  tradition, skill and care of French cheese makers. Here are a few: From Bourgogne between Beaune and Dijon, comes Fromagerie Delin’s line of meltingly runny, slightly tangy and utterly deliciously creamy bries – some with an herb coatings — that relegates all those rindy, spongy “bries” to cheese purgatory.

Sold under the label Brillant Savarin (after the famed French gastronome who wrote The Physiology of Taste), the cheese was developed in 1930 in Normandy; production later moved to Bourgogne. It has a soft creamy texture, slightly tangy and sweet nut-like taste and should be eaten young and fresh. Other labels in the line include Regal de Bourgogne, Cremeux and Prestige (in Canada). Packaged  in traditional rounds as well as small vacuum-packed tubs, they are enriched with creme fraiche and have a texture that literally melts in the mouth. Try this with a full-bodied darjeeling or tie-guan yin oolong. Surprise: You can buy it at Cosco as well as Whole Foods.

A delicious chèvre tart was on the menu at the Courturier booth where French chef consultant Gregory Cormanexpert chef (right) expertly  julienned leeks for a tart with goat cheese. Many of the smaller Courturier chèvre logs are made in Hudson Valley; larger, ripened ones are imported from France. Try plain or with herb dusting. The tart is perfect for a savory tea. Courturier cheeses are sold at Molly Stone and at Safeway, yes, Safeway, among other stores. 

From the limestone caves of France comes Roquefort – tangy, veiny, without the overpowering  taste you might have been put off by in the past. It’s  the specialty of Papillion Black Label  that’s been around since 1906. roquefort sliceThe process uses its own baked rye bread to cultivate Penicillium Roqueforti, which gives the Lacaune sheep roquefort its unique taste that’s assertive,  complex and literally melts in your mouth. If you’ve been put off by roquefort, but are still intrigued, try the one from Papillion. Pair with a strong tea- pu-erh, rock oolong, or Assam. Papillon is sold  on Amazon and fine cheese stores. roquefort

 

 

LTR goes to the Winter Fancy Food Show in SF: new kids in the market

winter fancy food showSo what’s new? Caramel everywhere and of course seas of gluten free everything. Salted chocolates seem to have reached sodium saturation. But what stood out at the huge fancy food show in foodie San Francisco were both the old-timers whose time may have come and a plethora of young-uns with good ideas and products.

What goes with tea? How is your imagination treating you these epicdays? How about an Epic meat bar – specifically a turkey/cranberry or lamb/currant mint or habanero/cherry bar made from grass-fed animals with ingredients you can actually understand. And no soy. No sugar. No nitrates. Think about pairing with a full bodied oolong or perhaps a strong black keemun or even a milder darjeeling. These are tastes that call for bold pairings.

IMG_3055Based in Austin, Texas, the company was started a year and half ago by Katy Forrest, a ironman athlete and Taylor Collins, a triathlete,  two  competitive – and vegetarian –  athletes, who, after trying a variety of diets from vegan to raw – found their energy waning, their performance lacking and their recovery time waning. They had already founded  Thunderbird Energetica, a line of vegetarian protein bars. But when they found that  protein in the form of meat transformed their energy level and performance, Epic, the meat energy bar was born. Even if you’re not planning on running a marathon, a turkey/cranberry  bar cut into cubes makes a great addition to a savory afternoon tea.

simple millsLow fat muffins may be more conventional tea fare, but for flavor and taste, Simple Mills, a new company out of Chicago, makes an innovative  baking mix that is not only low in calories, but is also gluten free, has minimal sugar and additives – and is also very tasty and no-fuss. Just add oil, water and eggs, and bake for 20 minutes. Ingredients include almond flour and coconut nectar for sugar.  Founded by a young biology graduate of University of North Carolina, who saw a need for a healthy,  no-additive, no wheat muffin, flavors include banana, chocolate, pumpkin, chocolate chip, and focaccia and sandwich bread mix.

katlin smithKatlin Smith (left) was working in Atlanta as a strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte when, suffering from joint pain, she changed to a gluten and dairy free diet. But scouring supermarket aisles for healthy food became an exercise in frustration. Soon Smith, an petite, energetic and can-do entrepreneur began experimenting with recipes. After a lot of trial and error – she also took chemistry at UNC –  Simple Mills as born. Starting out by herself, Smith rented a test kitchen, did all her own mixing and packaging, and was on her way. Her product is not only healthy, but moist and flavorful without the aftertaste of a lot of additive-laden mixes. Today, Smith has eight employees and is carried by Whole Foods online at Amazon and also in 500 stores nationwide.

Stay tuned for more from fancy food show….

 

Tea, Turkey plus Cranberry Chai Sauce

turkey teapot 19th centuryThursday, as you put the bird in the oven, why not consider using tea:

1. Put sliced onions on bottom of roasting pan, sprinkle with tea rosemary and onionleaves and rosemary sprigs and lemon grass, if available. Add bird, pour cup of your morning tea on bottom of pan to keep moist. If you don’t have a morning cup of tea, now is the time to start!

Rubs, tea and more from TeAlchemy founder Lynda Budd.

Rubs and teas from TeAlchemy’s Lynda Budd.

2.  Use tea leaves as a turkey rub with turmeric, curry powder  and good olive oil.

3.  Baste turkey with tea: oolong, good jasmine or pu-erh. Or baste with tea leaves mixture.(see #1).

 

 

canned cranberry sauceCranberry sauce: Canned? Forget it: Make  your own. It’s  easy and delicious. Try LTR’s:

Cranberry Chai Saucecranberries

1.Buy a bag of fresh cranberries. Wash.

2. On top of the stove, in a good heavy, small saucepan, pour brewed tea (no need to brew  afresh – just infuse again from teapot). Add tablespoon sugar, cinnamon stick, thumb sized slice of ginger, diced, cardamon pods (remove from shell) or powdered (½ tsp), ½ cup golden raisins, small amount nutmeg (¼ tsp) and  and bring all to a boil.

3.  Add cranberries, bring to boil again.  Reduce heat when you hear cranberries pop. Simmer for 20-30  minutes.

4. Let stand. When cooled and more gelled, pour into fancy dish. Voila!

a_minton_majolica_monkey_teapot_year_cypher_for_1875_impressed_factory_d5588277hNote: be creative with your chai ingredients. . If you don’t like ginger, don’t use. If you can’t find cardamon, use a few cloves. For an added kick, add a jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced. Or if you have a good dried pepper, add, but DON”T FORGET to take out before serving.

 

 

Plums and tea and cheese: Yes! And Earl Gray/bourbon recipe too!

"Plums," by renown American artist Tina Mion depicts John Adams plying Abigail with a tasty morsel.

“Plums,” by renown American artist Tina Mion depicts John Adams plying Abigail with a tasty morsel.

Say tahtah to cucumber sandwiches on crustless breads: Instead, why not think tea paired with fruit or cheese: Imagine a voluptuous, bright orange persimmon or ripe purple plum paired with the rich full mouth feel of an aged pu-erh or slightly astringent tie-guan yin, a deep green oolong with a lingering, complex aftertaste.

Or think about tea with cheese:  Why not sip a sweet spring green dragonwell while nibbling on a tangy Manchego sheep cheese from Spain.

Manchego, sheep cheese from Spain

Manchego, sheep cheese from Spain

Sweet, savory dragonwell from Imperial Tea Court.

Sweet, savory dragonwell from Imperial Tea Court.

Consider how the fresh savory taste of dragonwell brings out the creamy tang of Manchego.

humboldt fog Or think about piquant, fluffy, just about runny /ripe room temperature Humboldt Fog goat cheese (left)from the rocky Pacific Coast paired with the minerality of rock oolong from the Wuyi Mountains. Or try a full-bodied pu-erh with a ripe brie. Consider how the brie becomes richer when paired with the velvety  (and non-astringent) pu-erh.

tea festivalThese were some of the pairings tasted at the San Francisco International TeaFestival last Sunday during a talk given by Lilac Tearoom founder, aka, me.

Why not have your own  tea/cheese/fruit  party?  Use suggestions above or make your own.

A word on persimmons: To avoid the pucker mouth of an unripe persimmon, make sure they are almost bletted, or past ripeness just before rotten. Bletting increases sugar and reduces tannins, (cause of cotton mouth feel). The word comes from poire blette, French for overripe pear.

Southern Earl Grey with bourbon and prosecco.

Southern Earl Grey with bourbon and prosecco.

And for those who asked at the Tea Festival – or for a delicious buzz – try Cynthia Gold’s Southern Earl Gray recipe . Cynthia Gold is a tea sommelier in Boston and the author of Culinary Tea.

·Southern Earl Grey;

 1/2 ounce Earl Grey infused Bourbon

1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

1 teaspoon Oolong and ginger syrup

dash of Orange Bitters

Prosecco

 Add first four ingredients to a champagne flute. Fill with Prosecco or your favorite champagne. Optionally garnish with a curl of orange zest.

 lInfused Bourbon

 1 liter Makers Mark Bourbon

1/4 cup of Earl Grey tea leaves

 Place 1 liter of bourbon in non-reactive container. Add tea leaves, Taste periodically until desired strength is achieved. Probably around 2 hours. Strain multiple times through cheesecloth or coffee filters until completely clear. Store at room temperature or chilled.

 Oolong Tea and Ginger Simple Syrup

 2 cups white sugar

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger

1 wedge lemon or orange

3 tablespoons Oolong tea leaves

 Place sugar and water into a saucepan. Stir sugar up from the bottom, squeeze in citrus and add ginger. Place over medium-high flame and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and let simmer until a clear thick syrup is formed, about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add tea leaves and let sit until cool. May be left overnight at this stage. Strain.

Cheers!

 

Food pairings: tea is not coffee

question mark wine labelWould you go to a restaurant that offered wines from only one label? Of course not. But that’s what been going on in fancy and not so fancy restaurants for ages.different teas

glenburn estatesWhile a fancy eatery can make Blue Bottle Coffee a selling point, tea is in another realm. Why don’t restaurants take the time/energy/delight in offering a darjeeling, from, say, Glenburn Estate, which regularly sells out of its first flush crop and produces a delicate, flavorful, floral product? Or a pu-erh from ImperialTeaCourt. imperial tea court logoOr dragonwell from Silk Road Teas? You get the picture.

humboldt fog chevreAnd who sez you have to pair port with cheese? Imagine sipping a spring-like, slightly astringent tie-guan yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) with a California Humboldt Fog chèvre.   Or a delicate Darjeeling with a mushroom risotto.  Or a creamy chocolate chef concoction with a full bodied Assam or deeply flavorful pu-erh.

The combos are endless. Point is to think tea as well as wine. If you need guidance,  ask for the tea sommelier. Really, they exist and if they aren’t at your local posh fork, they should be. Soon.

Or, as tea sommelier, chef and cookbook author Cynthia Gold says, think of pairings as matching or contrasting food with tea. Pair light appetizers with slightly astringent green tea. Or a steak or Culinary tea by Cynthia Goldheavier entree with a full-bodied tea.  Or contrast flavors with teas.

So instead of settling for a pot of meh leaves, stretch your taste buds and your geographic/sensory idea of what food pairings are all about. And if the idea of tea – even if it’s mind-bending in complexity and taste bud awakeners – doesn’t rock your need for an alcoholic buzz, there’s always delicious mar-tea-nis or rum and Earl Grey. Or a killer punch with the secret ingredient – you guessed it.

For more on tea/food pairings, check out tea sommelier Cynthia’s Gold’s groundbreaking book.