The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pair tea with chocolate for Valentine's Day!

image from
While tea and savory foods go together really well, most of us are more familiar with tea and sweets, like cookies and cakes, but chocolate is becoming more widely known as one of the best foods to enjoy with tea. As with wine, tea and chocolate have come to the attention of the experts in the food industry; some person, I don’t know who, had the brilliant idea to have tea and chocolate tastings! Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a really great idea.

Pearl Dexter, editor and publisher of Tea, a Magazine, says “there are three ways to look at tea and chocolate pairings. The first is as ‘friends,’ teas and chocolates with similar characteristics. The second is as ‘lovers,’ teas and chocolates that compliment each other through their differences. The third happens when both combine ... a ‘perfect match.’” However, lest you think that tea and chocolate tastings are only for professionals, it is entirely possible for a regular person (like you and me) to find a wonderful tea and chocolate pairing. Many experts have helped the ordinary tea and chocolate lover by making a list of some of the most popular tea blends and the types of chocolate that they think taste best together. Here are some tips to guide your own palate, and help you find your own “perfect match” of tea and chocolate!

Assam: Origin – India. Dominant flavor – malty. Pair with -- dark chocolate.
Chai: Origin – India. Dominant flavors – nutmeg, cinnamon. Pair with -- milk chocolate.
Darjeeling: Origin – India. Dominant flavor – bright muscatel. Pair with -- white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate
Dragonwell: Origin – China. Dominant flavors – nutty, vegetal. Pair with – white or milk chocolate.
Earl Grey: Origin – China. Dominant flavor – bergamot. Pair with -- chocolate macaroons, dark chocolate.
Gyokuro: Origin – Japan. Dominant flavor – sweetish. Pair with – dark chocolate, all chocolate desserts.
Hojicha: Origin – Japan. Dominant flavor – roasted/nutty. Pair with -- brownies.
Irish Breakfast: Origin – India, China and East Africa. Dominant flavor – malty. Pair with -- chocolate cake.
Jasmine: Origin – China. Dominant flavor – flowery. Pair with -- chocolate madelines.
Keemun: Origin – China. Dominant flavors – rich and fruity. Pair with – milk or dark chocolate.
Matcha: Origin – Japan. Dominant flavor – fresh grass. Pair with -- white chocolate.
Oolong: Origin – Taiwan, China. Dominant flavors – flowery, fruity. Pair with – white, milk, or dark chocolate.
Pu-erh: Origin – China. Dominant flavor – earthy. Pair with -- dark chocolate.
Sencha: Origin – Japan. Dominant flavor – savory vegetal/seaweed. Pair with – white or milk chocolate.
Silver Needle: Origin – China. Dominant flavor – sweet vegetal. Pair with -- white chocolate.
Yunnan: Origin – China. Dominant flavor – spicy or peppery. Pair with – white or milk chocolate.

Hmm. Chocolate scones sound like good things to have with tea!

“Tea Wheel I: Tea and Chocolate pairings”
“Tea & Chocolate: pairings” from the Urbana Tea and Tonics Blog
“Chocolate and Tea pairings” from The Nibble
The Tea Room (tea-infused organic chocolate bars)
“Coffee, Tea & Chocolate in Colonial America” exhibit

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)