Such an interesting live session I’ve joined on Instagram hosted by @Homeofcheese_sg account. It’s facilitated by the big cheese(s) on board, world-famous cheesemonger and Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), François Robin, and local tea practitioner, Kenny Leong
I’m happy to participate on this live cheese and Tea pairing sesh. I’m surprised to learn that there are teas out there that we can pair with French cheese(s). Now, we can introduce this to our high tea bonding with family and friends at home and surprise them too!
Each participant has a bespoke wooden cheese board complete with 8 varieties of French cheeses and teas from TWG. Participants were encouraged to approach cheese the same way the French do, ‘Anyhow, Anytime, Anywhere’, and the pairings are torrid as they are quizzical to some.
“It’s not mandatory to like everything we’ve paired today,” François said when interrogated regarding the virtues of a certain pairing, “it’s all a personal point of view after all,” he says between bites of the Camembert paired with Assam Tea. And in respect of that, the landslide responses towards the marriage of Earl Grey Tea with Comte cheese opens up a whole new world.
Let me introduce you to these 8 French cheeses and its pairing tea!
Triple Crème & Emperor Sencha
Described as tangy or tart with an initial hint of animality followed by yogurt on the rind, Triple Crème proves to be a good fit with Sencha tea. The bright grassy flavors of the tea contrasting the buttery notes of the cheese. This is especially apparent when you allow the cheese to “caress the roof of your mouth,” instructs François.
Camembert & Assam
Hailing from a tiny village in Normandy, this world-renowned cheese strikes a perfect balance between supple milkiness and mushroom funk. The HARMUTTY SFTGFOP1 Assam from TWG is a second flush tea and is most probably harvested in summer. As a result, the brewed tea is darker and provides “a lot more textural intrigue,” according to Kenny. The pairing enhances maltiness and a rich nuttiness which evokes François’s memories of cheese caves with the lingering scents of wood and vegetal.
Comté and Beaufort & Earl Grey Buddha Tea
The two alpine kinds of cheese produce plenty of harmonious synergy in this pairing – boasting flavors that evoke butter, nuts, and fruit; this is in tandem with the slightly tannic Earl Grey Tea, redolent with bright citrus and grassiness.
Époisses & Ti Kuan Yin Superior
A little tamer than its strong aroma suggests the Époisses exhibits a supple cooked cream-like sensation when consumed. As a result of being washed by hand with Marc de Bourgogne, the cheese is runnier than most and also possesses a unique orange natural rind. Its big flavors are best subdued and enhanced with the Oolong tea hailing from Fujian province in China; contributing a floral palate to add depth to the cheese appreciation.
Mimolette & Imperial Lapsang Souchong
This black tea is a full-bodied beverage with sweeping wood-filled flavors that are reminiscent of pine and smoke. It’s pairing with the Mimolette cheese hailing from the North of France is sensational; the pungent tea not only mitigating the cheese’s sharp and intensely salty properties but also awakening memories of “cold smoke lingering in the air from the previous nights’ fire,” reminisces François.
Bresse Bleu and Bleu d’Auvergne & Royal Darjeeling
For those who aren’t initiated with blue cheese, the Bresse bleu is a good place to start. Its natural mushroom rind expresses delicate moldy notes balanced out by its inherent creaminess. On the other hand, the Bleu d’Auvergne is more tempestuous in asserting the wild mushrooms sensation that most French has come to love. To complement the cheese’s pungency, Royal Darjeeling proves to be a strong candidate, its peachy and apricot fruit disposition highlighting a broader spectrum of flavors in the blue cheeses.
If you want to watch the live session and learn more about how French cheeses and a little of their history, you can catch it on Home of Cheese IGTV. Enjoy cheese any time of the day and your high tea like never before!