Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Around the World With Food and Drink
More Switzerland. I do love the country and the mountains.
We had pizza last night and I started wondering what tea you could serve with it. I always think of pizza and beer or pizza and coke. We decided that hot tea would be too weird, that maybe a fruity tea would work, definitely a black. Maybe a Ceylon or Keemun or a very muscatel autumnal Darjeeling, although I’m not sure that would ever be sturdy enough. Assam is too malty, Lapsang Souchong made us both go eeuw. What do you think? Personally, I’m going to stick with cola, Dr. Pepper, root beer or beer, hide-bound traditionalist that I guess I am.
We have a Swedish recipe for pot roast that calls for a cup of strong coffee with cream and sugar for the liquid. It is delicious. I was thinking that this would be the place to try a strong cup of Assam or Lapsang with cream and sugar. I think next pot roast, I will try it. The tea would help tenderize the meat, just as the coffee does and the resulting gravy would still have a hearty flavor. I’ll let you know.
India is nearing completion of a billion dollar public/private endeavor to upgrade tea fields and factories. Wow, that is a lot of money! Some is going to help farmers replant, as many tea bushes are so old they are no longer as productive. Factories will be re-tooled and there will be an emphasis on better marketing. I hope there will also be an emphasis on care for their workers.
In that vein, Tetulia Teas has been recognized by the United Nations for its humanitarian and environmentally sound tea farming in Bangladesh. It runs the only USDA approved organic tea farm in that area. Their teas are very tasty, as well.
Today, however, I am trying some Pu-erh, from the Verdant Tea company in Minneapolis http://bit.ly/ss-verdant. This a new company to me and comes via my monthly Steepster Select program. Its official name is Diyi Cornfields Shu and comes in small nest like shapes called toucha. It is individually wrapped in small printed pieces of thin paper. The tea is grown between rows of corn, which gives it some shade and also imparts flavors of corn and butter, which new pu-erh drinkers, like me seem to enjoy. it certainly smells like earth and corn, with a sweet overlay, kind of like that combination at the movies of buttered popcorn and sweetness given off by the candy and soda. I brewed it with boiling water for 5minutes, one toucha per 12 oz. of water - perfect for my ever-so-English teapot. I probably shouldn't say it, but I keep wanting to call it Do-It-Yourself Pu-erh. Really bad, eh?
It is a very dark brew and smells wonderful. It tastes that way too, really buttery, earthy and of corn. It is almost overwhelming in the way it all comes together and lingers in your mouth. This results in the flavors intensifying as you sip. I like it, but for my personal drinking, I would like it a bit more dilute. However, I think it would make a wonderful liquid for the Swedish pot roast, but without the cream and sugar. This has enough going on to not need embellishment.