Sunday Tea Tastings at L'Espalier - Comforting Teas
I've been getting more and more interested in tea over the last year, so I've started attending Cynthia Gold's monthly tea tasting series at L'Espalier. Last month, she taught everyone about aged teas; this month was all about teas that nurture and comfort.
I sat down to a great view of Boylston Street and ordered a cocktail to warm up a bit. The Cranberry Old-Fashioned was described as a New England twist on the classic drink, and it wound up being a strong yet tasty mix of Maker's Mark, muddled cranberry and orange, bitters, and simple syrup.
The first tea was a very welcome hot toddy, made with smoked tea. It was paired with an amuse bouche: Hudson Valley foie gras torchon with quince on an apple-parsnip muffin. The sweet and savory flavors were balanced perfectly.
The next tea was Matcha-iri Gen-Mai-Cha, a premium grade tea that I have never tried before. It had a milder flavor than the hot toddy, but complemented the tea sandwiches very well.
The first two sandwiches were house smoked salmon with "Everything" cream cheese on dill bread and English cucumber with watercress cheese on citrus bread. I love smoked salmon, so that was the winner of these two. The salmon went particularly well with the tea, too.
An Apple Street Farm deviled egg with Spoon Bill caviar was next, followed by roasted Amish chicken salad with Asian pear on a profiterole. I generally love deviled eggs, but the profiterole won out as the favorite here.
Maine Lobster salad and apple cannoli with citrus started off the final round of tea sandwiches. It paired excellently with the Matcha-iri Gen-Mai-Cha; I loved the mix of flavors, with the lobster and the apple together. A warm ham and cheese croissant finished up the sandwiches; the croissant was buttery and delicious.
Our next tea was not a "true" tea. It was an herbal infusion with a blend of chamomile, citrus, and berry. It was a very comforting drink, and paired well with the citrus honey Madeline.
A slow-cooked masala chai was up next. It was a creamy, perfect tea; a tea I could drink happily every day. It went very well with the dessert plate.
I started with the scones; first the cinnamon-raisin scone, then the candied ginger and lemon scone. They were served with jam, cream, and honey, all of which I enjoyed, although the cream was especially good.
On to the desserts- chocolate decadence was first, and it had a small bit of raspberry fizz on one end. The creaminess of the masala chai helped to cut through the chocolate, so that they balanced each other well. This was followed by a Greek yogurt panna cotta, which wound up being my favorite of the two.
An apricot frangipane cake was next, followed by lime Chantilly, coconut crumbs,and cocoa nibs. It's hard to pick a favorite between these two, as they were both very good, but if I had to pick one, I'd go with the apricot frangipane cake.