Tea pairings have been around since day one when man had a need for something sweet with a hot cuppa. From tea and scones to tea and cake, what was once seen exclusively as a ‘tea time’ beverage has become quite the popular choice to pair with anything from chocolate to sophisticated fine dining dishes, also leading to the emergence of tea sommeliers.
Carmién rooibos teas have proved an excellent vehicle for pairing experiences creating both product and brand awareness and perfectly aligning with our vision to offer ‘more than just tea’. The initial rooibos tea & chocolate pairings hosted at various venues for large groups have over the years evolved into tea & nibble pairings, wine, cheese & tea and now tea, food & wine pairings offered at our own tea shops at De Tol Farm Deli (on the N7, Piekenierskloof Pass) and at Feines Fine Foods Deli (267 Main road, Sea Point, Cape Town).
Pairing tea with food and wine presents your palate with a new depth of taste allowing you to experience enhanced flavours through the complementary elements of various ingredients. A host of articles have been written about pairing tea with chocolate, but a rooibos tea, food & wine pairing is a particularly unique tasting experience. Rooibos tea acts as a natural palate cleanser and is also naturally sweet as opposed to astringent black teas.
Various other elements come into play apart from taste, such as texture, flavour and an understanding of the balance between the “weight” of the food and the weight (or body) of the wine. Every pairing focuses on the physical aspects of food that have an effect on the palate, altering (or enhancing) the perception of various aspects of the wine. This is where rooibos becomes an excellent bridge between food and wine, almost an essential link in the experience, preparing the palate for each bite and sip. The aromas, flavours, and smooth structure of rooibos can enhance food, much like wine does, and the pairing possibilities are endless.
Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein notes that food and wine pairing is like two people having a conversation: “One must listen while the other speaks or the result is a muddle”. One or the other serving as a complement or contrast to enhance the enjoyment of the first.