Gourmet Pairings: Tea & Chocolate

February 12, 2017
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The rich and delicate pairings between the creaminess of chocolate and the aromas of teas are enough to seduce anyone. On Valentine's Day, Émilie Poissant, our specialist in gourmet pairings, presents her recommendations.

How to taste chocolate with tea? The "sandwich" technique is used; first take a sip of tea, then bite a piece of chocolate, then follow with another mouthful of tea. This technique allows the chocolate to melt rapidly and evenly, in order to appreciate the respective flavours of the tea and the chocolate. For more intense chocolates, several sips of tea at the end of the tasting are recommended. It is also possible to melt the chocolate with the hot tea, which gives equally delicious results.

In the case of a fruity black chocolate with a medium cocoa percentage (Manjari 64% of Valrhona, Socconusco 66% of Chocolate Privilège) we choose a round, fruity, slightly malted tea, similar to the chocolate. Chinese black teas (Yunnan Da Ye, ZhengheHong Gong Fu, Feng Huang Hong Cha) or the more fruity and woody wulongs (Gaba Cha, Bai Hao).TIhese teas also accompany a chocolate with an olive oil ganache (for example, that of Geneviève Grandbois) with its fruity notes and its nutty finish.

For those fond of dark chocolates with nuts and dried fruits (Tanzanie 75% of Cacao Barry, Araguani 72% of Valrhona or Grand Noir 85% of Michel Cuizel), the pairings will be with the more woody and grilled wulongs (Shui Xian Lao Cong, Qi Lan Wuyi) to rival the bitterness of chocolate. Also worth trying in this case are earthy aged teas (Menghai 1992 or 2011, Haiwan2005). All these teas are perfect with chocolate desserts such as a chocolate fondant cake, a tart or a brownie.

With a milk chocolate with a lower percentage of cocoa (Tanariva 33% of Valrhona, Ghana 40% of Cacao Barry), the combination will be pleasant with more full-bodied and malty black teas (Ceylan New Vithanakande, Darjeeling 2nd flushor autumnal) which pair particularly well with the sweet side of the chocolate. In the mouth, the blend of tea with milk chocolate creates the impression of an English tea.

White chocolate, pairs well with a lightly roasted wulong tea (Dong DingMr.Nen Yu or Mr.Chang - roasted in-house).

Finally, if you are a lover of caramel ganache chocolates with fleur de sel, Emily recommends the more vegetal, buttery and fruity aspects of the Taiwanese wulongs (Dong Ding byMr.Chang or Shan Lin Xi) for a harmony of balance and sweetness, or a Japanese green tea (Sencha Fukamushi Kagoshima) for a more explosive pairing.

Intrigued by the gourmet pairings between teas and chocolates? Don't miss our workshop: a captivating sensory experience in a convivial atmosphere. Chocolates of various terroirs, exceptional teas, rich and delicate pairings. (in French only)

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