L'Espalier - Sunday Tea Tasting - Staff Favorite Teas
I love tea, and the Sunday Tea Tastings at L'Espalier are the best way to enjoy tea! I started off with a Belgian Malinois Champagne Cocktail, made of Belgian Framboise Lambic and Champagne. You wouldn't typically expect beer and champagne to go well together, but this was an excellent cocktail.
The first tea pairing was for aged Ti Kuan Yin tea from Taiwan. It was paired with New York state foie gras de canard "Royale" with quince purée, raw Asian pear, and parsnip carrot muffin. The smokiness of the aged tea went perfectly with the foie gras.
Up next was the Green Tea Gimlet, made of Beefeater 24 Gin infused with lemongrass & green tea, lime, and basil simple. This is the second time I've been able to enjoy this drink, and it was just as excellent as I remembered it. I had actually planned on ordering a Green Tea Gimlet, until I saw that it was already on the menu!
Pairing with tea sandwiches can be difficult due to the many different flavors represented, but Cynthia Gold did a great job by selecting Lung Ching Dragonwell, a very high-quality tea from Hangzhou, in the Zhejiang Province.
House smoked salmon with "Everything" cream cheese on dill bread was up first, followed by English cucumber with watercress cheese on citrus bread. Rounding out the first half of the sandwiches was an Apple Street Farm deviled egg with Spoon Bill caviar.
Roasted Amish chicken salad with Asian pear on a profiterole was up next, and was followed by the inventive Maine lobster salad and apple cannoli with citrus. A warm ham and cheese croissant and a bit of foie gras and quince purée on parsnip carrot muffin finished up the sandwich plate.
Continuing with the favorite teas, we had Dao Hong Pao from the Fujian Province. This excellent tea was paired with squash custard and pistachio croquant. There was matcha tea sprinkled on the plate as well, and it made for an amazingly good course.
Keemun Hao Ya A from the Anhui Province was paired with the dessert plate.
Dessert began with the very rich chocolate decadence with raspberry fizz, and was followed by a lemon poppyseed scone and a key lime and coconut scone. I topped the scones with Devonshire cream and honey, and they were delicious.
Dessert continued with Greek yogurt panna cotta with cranberry-morello gel, pâté à choux swans with espresso Chantilly cream, and apricot frangipane cake.
Squash cake crumbs, chocolate-banana Chantilly, and banana chips made for a creative last bite, paired with L'Espalier Chef's Blend tea.