Chocolate and tea can make for a delicious and luxurious pairing. A pairing can bring out new flavors in your tea and take a simple tasting to the next level. So how do you know which chocolates to enjoy with each tea? The truth is, it's all about experimenting.
The first step is to use your sensory intuition. Can you anticipate how your tea will taste? For example, if you think of a green tea, you can anticipate some grassiness and maybe a nutty flavor as well. Think of a couple dominating flavors in the tea you want to pair.
Then, start with some thoughtful guesses (experimental hypotheses) and ask yourself how you can bring out those flavors or compliment them with something else. Just like in cooking, when you're thinking about what to add to a dish, you imagine how each addition will change the dish. For example, you can guess that adding butter to green beans would taste good but green beans and raspberry, less so.
The final step is to test your hypotheses! Sip your tea with 3 or 4 different chocolates and find out what you like.
Here are some suggested pairings to get you started:
1. Dragonwell green tea and white chocolate: Dragonwell is a green tea that has some nutty and creamy notes. White chocolate is a creamy chocolate that pairs well with that. Also, the grassiness of the tea balances out the strong sweetness of white chocolate.
2. Keemun and Lindt milk chocolate: Keemun is a black tea that is very smooth and a little smoky. Lindt milk chocolate is also very smooth and the smokiness of the Keemun just adds a little something to the mix.
3. Blood Orange Hips and Ghirardelli's 60% dark chocolate: Blood Orange Hips has a slightly tart flavor from the hibiscus that goes well with the slight bitterness of dark chocolate. Fruit and dark chocolate also generally make a good combination so the orange fits right in in this pairing.