Desserts that will make your Tea Cup Spinon January 26, 2012
“If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.” William Gladstone
Tea culture is becoming big in Cape Town especially since Nigiro Tea Merchants hit the scene with their loose leaf imported teas and Anita Van Tonder, The Table Bay Hotel’s Assistant Pastry Chef has opened new doors into the world of tea drinking with her delicious High Tea pairings.
“I love experimenting with new flavours and ideas to express my creativity when creating novel desserts. The concept of tea pairing started when we hosted several international media groups at The Table Bay hotel. We wanted to introduce them to our special High Tea and in order to differentiate ourselves; we linked the Nigiro loose teas with dessert and pastry pairings,” says Anita. “Tea naturally complements food by rounding off its flavours.”
“The creation process involves a selection of 4-6 loose leaf teas, which all have a very unique flavour, smell and taste. I individually infuse and taste in order to examine the flavours. Whilst taking a sip of each tea, I imagine which ingredients will best complement the tea flavours and which will inspire me to create a dessert. Often individual teas have very subtle flavours and so it’s important that the dessert or pastry doesn’t overpower the taste of the tea.”
Tea pairing is unique and allows people to experience a journey with the best selected desserts to match each tea. Some of Anita’s creations include; Cherry and dark chocolate tart with pistachio brittle paired with Sakura, a cherry flavoured tea; Caramel parfait served with white chocolate mousse and peanut caramel paired with African sun, a cardamom flavoured tea; Raspberry and almond clafoutis served with raspberry coulis paired with Cranberry tea; Belgium dark chocolate tart paired with Orange and Spice, which has cinnamon, clove and orange flavours; and Tiramisu with ginger and cocoa served with espresso sauce and paired with the classic Earl Grey.
Special Tea Pairing sessions can be organised for guests on request in conjunction with Nigiro Teas. The tea connoisseur infuses the selected teas in front of the guests, explaining the ritual and other considerations like the body, flavour, acidity and texture.
“We have worked closely with tea aficionada, Mingwei Tsai from Nigiro – he describes the flavours and history of each tea to the guests and I describe the creation of each of the desserts and how each one best accompanies each tea. This is then followed by a tasting of the tea and dessert together.”
Nigiro opened in March 2009 and has brought real loose tea to South Africa. They started off with 120 different teas, and today they offer around 200 teas, and there’s still more to come. Nigiro teas are sourced from various parts of the world: China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Malawi, Egypt, Turkey, Czech Republic and Greece. Teas on offer are Green, White, Show Teas, Oolong, Black, Red, Fruit Infusion and Herbal Infusion.
“The teas we have tasted at the Table Bay resonate with the personality and characteristics of the hotel,” says Mingwei, “and guests have gained an appreciation for loose teas and Anita’s tea pairing with desserts has meaningfully contributed to the art of tea making.”