Cheese and wine nights have become something of a tradition for some people. They sit around and try the perfect pairings while discussing the fruity tannins of the wine and the creaminess of the cheese. However, there’s a new trend arising in Spain, and wine has been taken off the menu.
Now, many cafes and restaurants offer cheese and tea for foodies to try. Matching the rich and unique flavours of different makes of cheese with the refined tradition of tea is something everyone has to try. It broadens the market for non-drinkers and offers a social activity for anyone. Below is everything about the new trend and the perfect tea and cheese pairing recommendations.
The tea-cheese fusion
cheese and tea tastings have become a global trend, many businesses in Spain are pushing it to their consumers, such as Queseria Cultivo and Tetera Azul. The reason behind this is that the two delicacies have many things in common. Apart from them both being part of the traditional foods category, they each come with many varieties, and many locations offer tasting experiences where people can try them.
Trying a tea and cheese pairing unlocks new flavours that some may never have had the chance to experience before. Similar to wine, tea provides unique tannins that depend on where the leaves were grown. With the warmth of tea comes the opportunity to unlock flavours in cheese that would otherwise be hidden. Some drinkers may taste subtle hints of fruit and flowers and experience earthy and smoky undertones. Similarly, the creamy and fatty textures of the cheese deepen the tea’s complex notes.
How to pair cheese and tea
The general rules for cheese and tea are simple. When looking for a pairing for a strong tea, it should be matched with an equally robust cheese, with flavours that can be overpowering. On the other hand, lighter teas with soft aromas will complement smooth cheeses with subtle flavours. When it comes to sweet teas, they should be paired with salty cheese regardless of whether they are strong or not. Similarly, teas with high tannins are best matched with cheeses that have a creamy, smooth texture. Overall, a universal rule to remember is that the flavours need to balance each other out. For example, a heavy black tea is best suited with creamy camembert or smoked gouda yet a green tea balances out fresh goat cheese and brie.
Pioneering Spanish tea and cheese
As mentioned, Tetera Azul and Queseria Cultivo are two businesses promoting the pairing of cheese and tea. Both have amazing ranges on offer, with enough selection to choose for the perfect tea and cheese night.
Tetera Azul offers various collections of different teas for hot drink lovers to choose from. There are the usual suspects within the traditional range, like camomile made from the finest blossoms to a unique sweet rooibos providing a herbal infusion of red tea. The premium range boasts out of this world flavours like the digestive tea made up of chamomile, fennel, anise, and mint, or the Frutos del bosque that combines hibiscus, raisins, blueberries, and blackcurrants. Tetera Azul also offers a signature collection, ecological range, and gift range with more than enough to choose from.
When looking for the ideal cheese to match with Tetera Azul’s teas, Queseria Cultivo has it all. Choose a fresh washed rind cheese like the rush, which offers a firm and melting texture with mineral and animal notes. Or there’s always the Gubbeen, boasting a buttery texture, highly concentrated intensity in the rind, and a meaty texture when tasted. There are also some of the best-quality goat’s cheese ranging from the creamy Diego with hints of dried fruit to the Sierra Sur, which holds a washed rind, creamy texture, and notes of salt and meat. For a more extreme taste, Queseria Cultivo also offers blue cheeses like the soft and creamy Rifle or the buttery yet intense Savel.
Tea and cheese recommendations
With such a wide range of both cheese and tea, finding the best pairings can seem a little daunting. However, there are some well-known matches that many people enjoy together. Below are some tea and cheese pairing recommendations that everyone should try:
Black tea and blue cheese
Black tea is high in tannins and tends to have the strongest flavours out of all available teas. For this reason, mild blue cheese is perfect for balancing out its robust astringency. But be sure to stay mild, as if the blue cheese is too strong, it can overwhelm your palate.
White tea and burrata
White teas typically pair well with cheeses that complement white wines. Burrata fits this category as it’s light in both texture and taste, just like the tea. The milkiness softens any robust flavours, which gives anyone tasting this pairing the chance to detect any underlying notes.
Pu’erh and aged gouda
Pu’erh is a fermented tea with a very distinct flavour, typically producing aromas of smoke, leather, and earth. The ideal cheese for this tea is one that isn’t drowned out by these strong flavours, and aged gouda is sharp enough to do the job, where a taste tester can experience the undertones of both.
Herbal tea is slightly more difficult due to the wide range of different flavours on offer. To find the best cheese to pair it with, there may need to be some trial and error involved. However, fruity teas generally match well with mild and creamy cheeses, whereas teas with minty aromas are great with fresh, soft cheeses.
Discover the flavours
There are so many possibilities with a tea and cheese pairing. Remember that for one tea, there is always more than one type of cheese that can go with it. This will undoubtedly switch up the traditional wine and cheese nights and offer something more exciting to talk about. Spanish brands are pushing this trend to create something really unique, and in no time, it will become something people across the globe want to try.