Tea and Food Pairing : Basic Rules
Tea and food pairing involve great deal of improvisation, yet I believe there should be some basic rules around which to improvise.
Here is some inspiration from the world of wine – Wine Folly, one of the best sources of information and infographics about wine.
Flavour matching happens in two basic ways:
(1) CONGRUENT: when pairings have many shared components that combine together and intensify each other
(2) COMPLEMENTARY: when pairings have few shared components; two sides of the pairing oppose and counteract each other to create balance.
Secret to create amazing pairings: use CONGRUENT pairings to amplify harmonious flavours and COMPLEMENTARY pairings to balance discordant flavours.
A few examples applicable to tea and food pairing too:
RICH FOOD: A high tannin red wine acts as a palate cleanser to rich, fatty proteins.
PUNGENT FOOD: Pungent flavors like Gorgonzola match with wines that have higher acidity and sweetness.
BITTER FOOD: Bitter foods magnify the bitterness of tannin. Try pairing bitter foods with low or no tannin wines with salinity and sweetness.
SWEET FOOD: Sweet foods often make dry wines taste bitter. Try matching sweet foods with a sweet wine.
BALANCE: Create balanced pairings by matching the intensity of the wine with the intensity of the food.