Sunday Tea Tastings at L'Espalier - Japanese Specialties from Upton Teas

This past Sunday, Cynthia Gold of L'Espalier held one of her fabulous tea tastings. She invited Frank Sanchez from Upton Teas to speak about the wonderful Japanese teas being served. 

I began with something to warm myself up, a Jungle Bird East: Myer's dark rum, pineapple, Meletti Amaro, Campari, and lime. It was a nice bit of summer in the middle of this snowy winter. Then the first tea came out, Japanese Oolong, served along with foie gras royale with caramelized onion butter on banana bread. 

Premium Sencha Fukamushi was the next tea, and Frank explained that it had been oversteeped to be able to stand up to the tea sandwiches. This was a good choice, as the tea went incredibly well with the food. We started with house smoked salmon with "Everything" cream cheese on dill bread, then had English cucumber with watercress cream cheese on citrus bread. An Apple Street Farm deviled egg with American caviar followed, and was itself followed with roasted chicken salad and a smoked Gouda croissant. 

It was time for another cocktail, so I tried the excellent Aviation: gin, Maraschino liqueur, Crème de Violette, and lemon. The next tea soon arrived, Japanese Gunpowder, a surprisingly gentle tea, given the name. It was served with a honey and lemon madeline with gunpowder green tea crème anglaise.

Black Ikumi tea was up next, served with some excellent sweets like chocolate decadence with mocha crumb, frangipane petit four with cherry jam, and gingersnap and lemon poppy scones, served with crème, honey, and jam. 

The famous L'Espalier pâte à choux swan with espresso Chantilly cream was next, followed by Greek yogurt panna cotta with mandarin curd and a Matcha sablé cookie. Kyo Bancha, the final tea, soon followed, and was a great way to finish the meal. 

All of the dire weather reports meant that the upcoming Cheese Tuesday might be postponed, so I decided to order a bit of tasty cheese before heading home. To go with the cheese, I ordered the only drink on the menu I had yet to try, Prado After Dark, a mix of Green Chartreuse, El Maestro Sierro Pedro Ximenez sherry, Aperol, lemon, and orange bitters. The cheese plate was perfect. It began with Cremont, one of my favorite cheeses, from Vermont Creamery. It's a mix of goat's milk and cow's cream. It was then on to one of the few cheeses I can identify by sight, Valençay, from the Loire Valley of France. Cloud 9 from Woodcock Farm in Weston, Vermont was up next, followed by the best cheese of the day, five year aged Gouda from Holland. It was so deliciously crunchy and sweet. 


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