As the Tea and Cheese Pairing Class drifts into history, the flavors are still lingering in our minds. On the afternoon of October 26th, Steven Levine, a local cheese Guru, showed up at the Eden Prairie TeaSource with eight exceptional specialty cheeses. Class attendees took their seats as regular customers looked on with curious expressions tinged with jealousy.
The fragrance of cheese was threatening to overwhelm the aroma of tea, so I got the first tea steeping and the class commenced. The pairings ranged in flavor, intensity, and complexity. Some were smooth, decadent, and buttery like the Delice de Bourgogne Brie with Milk Oolong, Traditional. Others sharp and brisk like our ‘Everyman Pairing’: the Collier’s Powerful Cheddar with the classic breakfast blend style tea, Ceylon Lumbini FBOP.
The favorite tea of the evening was the new Fujian black tea, Jin Jun Mei, for its rich depth and unique bold character. This is not an inexpensive tea, but it would make a fabulous holiday gift. The cheese that stole the show, and my personal favorite, was the beautiful Humbolt Fog. This cheese literally tasted like fog. It was so complex that every tea we paired it with pulled another layer of flavor out of the cheese.
Our final pairing was St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese with the exquisite 1999 Sheng Puer, both aged and riddled with active microbes. This Puer comes as compressed cake of tea, a tea-making method new to the West, but with deep roots in China. This tea reminds me of something Aragorn would have carried across Middle Earth and steeped up for the Hobbit’s breakfast on the road to Mordor!
All of the incredible cheeses for this workshop were purchased from Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop - my favorite place in the Twin Cities to buy cheese (and wine). Their variety and quality is fantastic.
Everyone went home full of calcium and caffeine, making it a tea and cheese success story. I speak for both Steven and myself when I say the class was exceptionally fun, filling, and informative. We hope we can teach it again for the spring class cycle.
|Chevre Goat Cheese||88th Night Shincha|
|Collier’s Powerful Cheddar||Ceylon Lumbini FBOP|
|Delice de Bourgogne Brie||Milk Oolong, Traditional|
|Bent River Camembert||1995 Aged Pouchong|
|Spanish Garrotxa||Jin Jun Mei|
|Humbolt Fog||Tung Ting Light Roast|
|Five year Gouda||Assam, Harmutty Estate|
|St. Pete’s Select Blue||1999 Sheng Puer|