What’s better than spending an afternoon drinking tea for four hours? I’ll tell you, drinking tea for FIVE hours.
Claire, a new tea friend I met through Kathy, invited us for an afternoon of tea and small bites in her light-drenched apartment in Manhattan. Kathy and I both brought tea and cheese for our intense drinking session while Claire prepared the rest of the savories on the table.
I brought a Taiwanese Dong Ding Amber oolong and a wedge of Gruyère from Murray’s Cheese and Kathy shared a Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) oolong and a Fromager d’Affinois, also from Murray’s Cheese. We each brought a 1/3 pound wedge of cheese and the portion size was perfect.
We started off with a Silver Needle that Claire had brought back from one of her trips to China. Claire did all the steeping and we were treated to our own tea ceremony. Brewed gaiwan-style, the tea was one of the most flavorful Silver Needles I’ve ever tried.
Since Silver Needle is a white tea, we started off with the lighter and milder food on the table like the pretty beet salad Claire made.
All the cheese we had overpowered the delicate white tea but they paired really well with the oolongs.
Since you didn’t ask, this is me wearing a LIE top that I’m kind of living in at the moment. And this is also me helping myself to my 8th cup of the Silver Needle. Tasting notes? It was sweet, fruity, and incredibly smooth.
Moving on to the oolongs now. Here is the Dong Ding oolong being expertly steeped by Claire. The rich Fromager d’Affinois was perfection with the more robust oolong. I’ve decided that I’ve graduated from basic bitch brie to this super velvety and creamy cheese. Holy crap it was good. Now, if only I can pronounce it properly.
The other oolong, the Big Red Robe, is one of my favorites. This one is slightly sweet too with fruity notes but also a bit hearty with warm roasting flavor. The Gruyère paired well with this, and it did with both oolongs, but after one bite of the Gruyère, I went straight back to the Fromager d’Affinois.
At the end of five hours of nonstop drinking tea, we were all blissfully happy. Thanks, Claire, for being such a wonderful host!