Patiently waiting to let the cheese come to room temperature, I distract myself with the art of the steep. Water bubbling about is then gently cooled as the steam wisps dance about in late afternoon sunlight filtering in through leaf covered branches just beyond the window. I hear the soft sound of the leaves being grazed by the spoon as I gently scoop the tea leaves from the tin and sprinkle them into my tea pot. While pouring the water over the leaves with one hand I set the tea timer with the other. It's become a familiar dance and I wonder if could set it to music. Minutes begin to quickly tick away my gaze shifts from cheese board to tea pot. The sound of the timer wakes me from my trance of the dance of the tea leaves. I tilt the strainer in every direction in hopes of coaxing each splash of steeped liquor left hiding in unraveled leaves. Cozying up to the kitchen table, I run my knife through the cheese as I sip from the cup letting the steep wash over my taste buds. This is my happiest hour. Pairing tea and cheese. You can read my thoughts on the art of pairing in my article on Fresh Cup Magazine's blog, here.
Peek at my video below to learn about three of my favorite pairings at Di Bruno Brothers in Philadelphia. Rocco Rainone (certified cheese professional at Di Bruno Brothers) invited me into the historic Italian Market shop. We nibbled our way through wedges of cheese until we found the ultimate creamy companions that stood up to and always enhanced the brewed tea, quieting tannins, highlighting sweetness or seeking out notes deep within the tea that were once hidden.
Tea & Cheese Pairings
- Japanese Genmaicha Green Tea & Ewephoria sheep’s milk gouda from Holland
- Chinese Pu-erh Tea & Reading Raclette cow’s milk cheese from Vermont
- Chinese Rou Gui Wuyi Oolong Tea & Tome D’Aydius goat’s milk from France