By Robert Schinkel - Bartender, tea expert, storyteller and entrepreneur - www.robert-schinkel.nl
Not so much a recipe but more a little source of inspiration. This is one of my favourite examples of tea and foodpairing. Tea can be an amazing partner for food, especially for pastry, desserts and cheeses. There's a great variety in tea, first in different categories (white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh), thereafter in character. I strongly believe there's a tea to match every dish or ingredient and my go-to-example is often cheesecake, preferably with a raspberry topping. In this case I serve a Tie Guan Yin Oolong with the cheesecake.
Tie Guan Yin (or Ti Kwan Yin) is a shortly oxidized tea named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. This oolong tea is very close to green tea, having a very fresh character with both grassy and fruity notes. Ideally it is brewed at 85C for 2 to 3 minutes in clear spring water.
Oolong tea, like all teas, has the capacity to cut through richness, cream, fat, butter or oily textures. It literally dissolves the fats and changes the structure of food. When this tea is combined with cheesecake things are happening on mutiple levels.
The grassy character of the tea matches with grassy character of the cream cheese
The tea cuts through the rich, creamy texture of the tea, dissolving the fats on the pallete.
The fruity notes in the tea enhance the raspberry topping on the cake
The warmth of the tea enhances the melting-on-the-tongue effect, films the mouth and gives a stronger impression of all the flavours
The contrast between the hot tea and the cold cake creates an extra sensation
It's a very simple example of the amazing synergy you can find between tea and food. So go to your favourite pastry shop, or bake you favourite recipe, get yourself some Tie Guan Yin and begin to explore the delicious world of tea and food combinations.