Tea and Cheese Pairing

As a prelude to everyone’s Thanksgiving feast, we had a tea and cheese pairing at work last Wednesday. The cheeses were carefully chosen to represent a variety of offerings, from mild to strong flavor, representing different countries.

A variety of teas to compliment the cheeses were then chosen and prepared to offer each participant the opportunity to see which pairings appealed to them the most.

All of our cheeses were purchased at Wasik’s in Wellesley, MA.

Wang Pu-Erh, Formosa Oolong Spring Dragon, Hao-Ya ‘A’ Superfine Keemun, Organic Australian Lemon Myrtle, Organic Lapsang Souchong Gao Ji, Japanese Premium Fukamushi Cha, Sree Sibbari Estate SGFTGFOP Cl., Namring Upper Estate FTGFOP1 First Flush (EX-1).

Camembart Le Rustique (Normandy, France), Gorgonzola Dolce (Lombardy, Italy), Wasik’s Mountain Harvest Goat Cheese (Vermont, USA), Brie de Lyon (Lyon, France), Swiss Gruyere (Swiss Alps), Goudden Kaas (Holland), Vermont Cheddar (Vermont, USA), Wasik’s Equinox Goat Cheese (Vermont, USA).

Armed with my notebook, I fully intended on trying each cheese with each tea, all the while taking copious notes to share with you. Unfortunately, as it was during a workday, time didn’t allow for me to do this and the reality was that I tried all of the cheeses, 4 of the teas, in random order, and took no notes at all! That being said, here are my thoughts on my favorites.

The strong musky flavor of both the Wasik’s Equinox Goat Cheese and the Gorgonzola went very well with both the malty Assam and the smoky Lapsang Souchong. I especially enjoyed the mild, buttery flavor of the soft cheeses: the Brie, the Camembart and the Mountain Harvest Goat Cheese, with the crisp flavor of the Namring first flush Darjeeling. I also liked the combination of the salty, earthy Gruyere with the very earthy Pu-ehr.

For my very first time partaking in this wonderful experience, I found the prospect of 8 teas and 8 cheeses very daunting indeed. If you would like to try this, I would recommend starting out with only 3 or 4 choices. Perhaps a mild, a medium and a strong flavor, both in cheese and in tea. Try pairing the same flavors together at first and then mix and match to your own taste.

Here’s a great post from a tea lover who was much more organized in his approach than I.

I don’t think that there are any rules here, only room for a lot of fun and enjoyment!