Food + Drink Pairings
Warm drinks and food have been paired together for ages; the amount of different flavor combinations is endless. A snack and a caffeinated drink are a combo that many people enjoy daily.
When I go shopping, I look forward to trying out a new snack to pair with something in my tea/coffee cupboard. I have had a lot of success in finding amazing flavor pairings, and I have had some combinations that were atrocious. It is a fun time testing out my palate on a regular basis.
One of my go-to snacks to enjoy with a cup of tea is fruit. Some teas seem to be made to enjoy with fresh fruit. Finding my favorite combinations has been a blast and has been a pleasant way for me to incorporate a bit more fruit into my diet.
Green tea's subtle flavors pair well with the sweetness of fruit. One of my favorite fruits to have with a cup of green tea is blueberries. A handful of blueberries with a cup of our Young Hyson green tea is one of my favorite snacks I have come across for hot afternoons. Eating a blueberry and following up with a sip of tea is refreshing, especially when the weather warms up.
One of my easiest breakfasts is a few strawberries with a cup of gunpowder green tea. The aftertaste of the berry mixed with the tea and tastes like candy. There is something about these flavors together that reminds me of my childhood. I can never put my finger on what it is exactly, but this combo is always paired with a dollop of nostalgia.
I have very recently found that grapes and green tea are also a match made in heaven. Particularly red grapes and our pan-fired green tea. A handful of grapes and a warm cup of tea is my favorite snack to enjoy with a book. Grapes are the perfect finger food.
While fruit is my go-to for pairing with green tea, something sweet is my choice for black tea. If I am going to treat myself to a couple cookies (or something similar) I always make sure I have a strong cup of black tea on hand.
I have always loved oatmeal raisin cookies. If given the choice between chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, I will choose the oatmeal cookies every time. Blasphemous, I know. My favorite type of tea to enjoy with oatmeal raisin cookies is English breakfast tea with a bit of milk. These two seem to be made for each other.
The best thing I have come across in my ventures into tea culture is the stroopwafel. A stroopwafel is a popular Dutch delicacy that is made to be enjoyed with warm drinks. It is two thin wafer cookies sandwiched together with a layer or caramel, or chocolate, in between them.
Stroopwafels are shaped specifically to be able to sit over a coffee mug. You prepare your warm drink and then set the pastry over your cup. If fits perfectly on the rim of a normal sized mug. The steam from your drink warms up the caramel center. After a few minutes, the center will be gooey while the wafers still have a crisp to them. It is dangerously good.
If you have never tried a stroopwafel be sure to look for them at your local grocery store. I have even started seeing them in Walmart this last year now that they are gaining popularity in the states. They are game changers, you can thank me later!
Some meals can complement tea just as well as snacks. It took me a while to find foods that I really enjoy with tea, but now that I have found some, I look forward to anytime I prepare those meals.
Sushi and a cup of green tea is something I could eat every day and never get sick of. Now that I am near the coast, I find myself eating sushi more often. It is hard to find fresh high quality sushi when you are living on a mountain. I have been to my fair share of sushi spots near the pacific coast, but I never had a go-to place for sushi near my home. One of the cons of mountain living.
A few California rolls with a cup of panfired green tea is something I will always enjoy. I put a dash of soy sauce on the sushi, and a few drops of lemon juice in the tea. The salty touch from the soy sauce brings out some of the more subtle notes of tea.
I adore fried rice. We did not have many good Asian restaurants on the mountain, so getting a good plate of fried rice would be an occasion. Shrimp, chicken, veggie, I love it all. Fried rice is a comfort food at this point. I have tried a few different teas when I make fried rice, and I have found I enjoy iced green tea the most. When I break out the wok, it is guaranteed I will drink at least a couple large cups of iced tea during the meal. It's very satisfying.
I have also found that iced black tea sometimes goes well with certain meals. I enjoy unsweetened black tea with extra ice anytime I am eating a hamburger. The bitter bite that comes with unsweetened tea almost acts as a palate cleanser with the burger, making each bite that much more savory. Summer BBQ sessions and pitchers or iced tea are a must when the weather gets this warm!
There are endless food and drink combos out there, half of the fun of drinking tea regularly is finding new combinations to experiment with. If you take anything away from this post, it is that you should track down a box of stroopwafels and give them a try with your morning cup of tea/coffee. You won't regret it!