Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mexico, Silver and Tea

It's really Wednesday January 12.

I love old stone work. I like to think about the people who shaped it and the strength of it and the age. Pretty impressive stuff.

We've been having some meals with a Mexican/Southwestern twist and I got to thinking about how you could do a Mexican themed tea party. Certainly there are enough foods that can be scaled down to do well as courses in a tea feast.

I was thinking of black bean soup, pureed, served with a small dollop of sour cream and a few of those corn chips that are long and skinny: A tropical fruit salad composed of pineapple, kiwi, mango or papaya with some raspberries or blueberries for color, drizzled with honey and lime juice: Taquitos, which are small and you can now get frozen, served with fresh homemade salsa: Homemade tortillias made from Masa Harina - small ones with Mexican style chicken and avocado slices and maybe grape tomatoes. You could also do small fried plantains or the ones made with peanuts and sour cream, or serve the tortillas with jam and butter or mock Devonshire cream. A small salad would be a pleasant addition.

For dessert there is flan or bunuelos or Tres Leches Cake, Mexican cookies or Jamaican bread pudding, made with a hefty dose of rum. For tea, I would definitely serve a good strong black. You could serve lime slices instead of lemon ones. With dessert, however, a nice chocolate tea with a dash of cinnamon would go very nicely. Mexican hot chocolate has cinnamon in it.

Okay, I have now heard enough about this and read enough that I can tell you. The best black tea is made in sterling silver teapots. Yup. Apparently this is a well-kept secret among the cognoscenti. It has something to do with chemical reactions and DOES NOT work with silverplate. Apparently black tea made in silverplate is absolutely awful. The only catch is that if you haven't inherited one or don't have beaucoup bucks you are out of luck, as sterling is astronomical in price. I have some teaspoons, but I don't think they'd do much for brewing the tea. Ah well, just one more reason to go junking. Such a sad thing to be forced to do. If you have a sterling teapot, please try it and leave me a note.

I do have some nice ceramic pots, however and I used one to brew up some of Culinary Teas Keemun Panda Grade 1 Black Tea. I used a little more than a teaspoon and did the usual 3.5 minutes with boiling water. The dry leaves had sort of an odd sharp smell I couldn't put my finger on. They were small and mostly black. As it brewed there was an aroma of old wood and a sour, but not unpleasant note, mixed with that fresh wash on the line scent. The taste was quite full and was something of a cross between hot toast and something deep and dark, but again, I can't think of the right word to describe it. Very frustrating. On the whole, it was a quite decent cup of tea.

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

I often find language fails to give me words to describe tastes and aromas like you describe happening here...but it doesn't happen with food and drink as much as it happens with emotions, social situations, and qualities of people.