Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MUST-READ: Polish Wine Guide, "Strawberries & Tea"

Here is your Tea Must-Read of the Morning:

Polish Wine Guide: Strawberries & tea

Nerval thoughtfully discussed tea and food pairings, specifically strawberries. I excerpt here:

Tea & food matching is a hugely underdeveloped research field. Given tea’s similarities to wine in terms of variety and terroir character, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t behave similarly to wine in the endless combinations with food. And unlike coffee or whisky, tea effectively refreshes your palate and quenches your thirst, so it can be served through even an extended meal in countless variations.

Yet it’s really rare to see a more systematic approach to tea as an accompaniment to food. (Read
here for one interesting article). It’s a cultural thing. When served with Asian cuisine, tea is subordinated instead of elevated, and is expected to give a discrete support instead of taking first stage. (At Chinese restaurants it’s often served free of charge, so what kind of quality can you expect?). Flavoured tea such as jasmine or Lapsang Souchong are classic mealtime teas. When that antique puer cake is called upon, it’s served between meals to be sipped in isolation.

Nerval (that's his apparently Garfield-inspired Blogger handle: his true name is the poly-consonantal Wojciech Bońkowski) systematically demonstrates how various teas can be paired, very specifically, with strawberries. I imagine and hope that pairings with other food groups will follow at some point. At any rate, Nerval compares strawberries with: 2009 Sencha Fukamushi Supreme from O-Cha (nope); 2008 Zhuyequing (okay-ish); 2008 Korean Matcha (uh-huh); and a few others. His favorite:

2008 Dancong Milan AAA
Brewed 45s @ 95C, resulting in a less bitter brew than expected. Showing very well. Something about that highly aromatic flowery bitterness is enormously attractive when matched with fresh fruits. Although if too tannic this is becoming a problem. A brilliant natural match and one of few to generate a sweet-lasting huigan. Perhaps my favourite.

Dan cong saves the day!

Nerval's descriptions are thorough and thoughtful, as you can see from this short excerpt.. If you haven't added to your daily tea read, you are missing out. As they say, Read. The. Rest.

Thanks, Wojciech, for yet another thoughtful and excellent post. At some point, I hope you'll write a bit about how you arrived at such an excellent understanding of both tea and wine.


Jussi Rautaniemi said...

Hi, check out this tea doc about green tea and a tearoom in Prague! Nice tea moments!

Unknown said...

Jussi, thank you for sharing your video! I just posted it on my blog. I enjoyed it very much.