The pairing of chocolate, the essential luxury food in the West, and tea, the aromatic drink of the East, is perhaps a union which is made in heaven. What if you pair the best of the best brands in one setting amidst the luxury of the Capella Singapore and overlooking the southern sea? Yesterday I was privileged to attend the media preview of Capella Singapore’s Festive Chocolate and Tea Experience. And it was the French Valrhona chocolate and Singapore’s very own Gryphon tea – each company had chalked up 90-plus years of expertise.
Right from the start, I was pampered with the choice of a welcome Gryphon tea-infused cocktail or a mocktail at Bob’s Bar.
Informally, I had often eaten chocolate accompanied with hot Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess Guan Yin), my favourite robust tea of the oolong kind. Years ago I had acquired the taste for strong oolong tea from my late father. I liked its lingering aftertaste and had discovered that the hot tea “paired” well with chocolates. Of course, I was less “educated” in the finer points of food pairings then.
The 3 Simple Steps Of Evaluating The Chocolate
1. Observe – Look at the chocolate and its colour and shine. They reflect the cocoa beans used in the composition of the chocolate.
2. Breathe – Take a piece of chocolate and breathe it. Immerse yourself in its first fragrances.
3. Bite & Taste – Take a small bite of the chocolate. When it is melting, place it on your tongue. Gently breathe in through your nose and note its aromas. Taste again and try to identify the aromas that are being released.
Pairing The Teas And The Chocolates
Now when you are pairing chocolates with the teas of your choice, all you need to remember are these 3 steps:
1. Sip – Sip the tea hot, savour its aromas. (Dark, oolong, and green teas at 90, 80 and 70 degrees Celsius respectively)
2. Bite – Then you take a bite of the chocolate and let it melt in your mouth (aided by the warmth of the tea)
3. Sip Again – Take another sip of tea to combine with the chocolate. And try to identify the aromas and the flavours.
New Experience and Some Tips
My take is that chocolate and tea pairings are similar to the traditional pairings of wine & cheese and beer & pretzels. It is a journey of experimentation and imagination. It is not scientific. It is an art and that makes all the difference.
In Scotland, for example, single malt whiskies have been paired with foods like creme brulee to steaks for life-affirming results.
c’est la vie – that’s life!
The ending was the sweetest – the chocolate buffet spread and your choice of special teas. Valrhona chocolates and Gryphon teas no less 🙂
And my favourite pairing is…
You will thank me for sharing this with you & your loved ones…and at $48++, it’s real value for money.
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You may even get to see some peacocks at close range: