On Sunday, March 24th, 2013, Sip Tea Lounge hosted an event with Mark Cassin from The Big Cheese. We paired five teas with five local cheeses. The result: AMAZING!
The fifth pairing was a surprise that included Red Rooibos, a delicious, homemade ginger bar from Sip Tea Lounge and fresh Chevre from New York State. A trio of goodness.
For those of you who missed the event, here’s a breakdown of how things went down:
Pairing 1: Makaibari Darjeeling Tea with Berleberg Cheese
It is estimated that Darjeeling produces about 9 million kilograms of tea annually, yet it is said that 40 million kilograms of tea end up at the market each year. The good news is that there’s nothing fake about this organic 1st Flush 2012 Darjeeling from Makaibari Estate. The sweet and spicy scent and fruity notes of this SFTGFOP 1 SPL grade tea are signs that it is the real deal.
The tea is paired with Berleberg cheese from Hoosick, NY. One of the few certified organic cheeses, this cow’s milk cheese is delicate with floral notes, and has a finish like buttered popcorn. When combined, the Makaibari and Berleberg create a symphony in your mouth.
Pairing 2: Japanese Sencha Tea with Dulcinea Cheese
This clean, vegetal premium grade Sencha green tea from Southern Japan is deep steamed after plucking, giving the leaves their emerald green color. With hints of seaweed and ocean, this delicious brew will transport you.
This tea is paired with Dulcinea, a raw sheep’s milk cheese from Danascara’s Cheese of Fonda, NY. The cheese is made in the “Manchego” style, yet it has some cheddar notes. A rare find in New York State, a cheese like Dulcinea is a treat. The light sharpness of this cheese pairs well with the seaweedy Sencha.
Pairing 3: Chinese Pu Er Tea with Redfield Cheese
This mini “Shu” or “Cooked” Pu Er Tea cube from Yunnan, China is a fermented, compressed tea. To make Shu Pu Er, the fermentation process is accelerated by mixing new leaves (almost compost style) with the previous batch. Once the tea leaves have completed their rotation from the bottom to the top of the covered pile, they are baked, steamed, compressed and packed. This earthy Pu Er will continue to get darker with each brew, making it a long-lasting tea to savor and share.
This tea is paired with Redfield, a raw goat’s milk cheese from Cranberry Ridge Farm in Williamstown, NY. A semi-firm, light and almost lemony cheese, Redfield is a nice combination with the barny, hay-like Pu Er tea.
Pairing 4: Chrysanthemum Tea with Alpage Cheese
According to traditional Chinese medicine, Chrysanthemum flower is known for its internal cooling properties, and its ability to clear the liver and help the eyes. This decaffeinated herbal infusion is flowery with a unique and appealing bitterness.
This tea is paired with Alpage, from Amazing Real Live Food Co. in Pine Plains, NY. Alpage is a raw, aged cow’s milk cheese made in the classic Swiss tradition of Gruyere. The cheese hints of grass and stout by itself. When combined, the Alpage and Chrysanthemum bring out the best in each other.
Pairing 5: Rooibos Tea with Painted Goat Cheese
Rooibos is an herb that is grown in a small area in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Not technically a tea because it is not produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, Red Rooibos goes through a process of oxidation that is somewhat similar to a single garden tea. As a result, the leaves become reddish-brown in color. The decaffeinated Rooibos herbal tisane has a distinct mellow yet earthy sweetness that makes it a lovely choice for the end of a meal.
This tea is paired with the season’s first batch of fresh Chevre from Painted Goat Farm in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.
The combination of the Chevre spread on top of a delicious, homemade ginger bar, and the Rooibos herbal Tisane, make this final pairing an unforgettable surprise.
Don’t be sad if you missed this pairing. We will do another tea and cheese event. In the meantime, check out the siptealoungeny.com “Events” section to learn more about our upcoming tastings and pairings.
See you at Sip Tea Lounge soon!