Friday, July 7, 2017

LOCAL: Six Course Summer Tea Party at Discover Teas

Of late, Discover Teas has been doing some seriously fancy stuff. I mean, they've been doing classes and tastings for a while now. But one of their recent additions is a monthly tea party, with multiple courses paired with teas sold in-house. Sadly I've never been able to make one before because of travel, but I finally made it for June.

Before now, I've only (I know, "only") been to teas in the UK, and there's a very specific way of choosing food and laying it out. So I was excited to see what Discover Teas would do with pretty much anything open to them.

What we got was six courses, with every two being paired with a tea sold in the shop (the first and second courses with one tea, etc.). Some was traditional tea fare, some was more summer food, and all of it was delicious.

So now that I've had some food and won't starve just from looking at the pictures, here's a wrap-up.

First Course: Pasta Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Dandelion Leaf Dressed with Wild Blackberry Black Tea Vinaigrette

Did you get all that? Put simply, it was dandelion and salad greens with cucumbers, peppers, and heirloom carrots. Then some bowtie pasta with a very light vinaigrette (and yes, the dressing was made with black tea -- it was subtle, but it was there).

So, I love dandelion, but the guinea pigs eat it more than I do. The yellow and purple carrots made the salad really colorful, and the amount of pasta was a decent balance with the veggies.

This and the next course were paired with their Nv Wa Do He Ya Da house blend, which is a nice black/oolong mix with sage and herbs. It's also good for night sweats and hot flashes -- and I can't for the life of me remember the name half the time so for me it's the "What Do" tea.

Second Course: Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes with Mediterranean Spices, Walnuts and Kalamata Olives

Everything they served was delicious, but this was easily my favorite of the bunch. I love good chicken salad, and this was made with turmeric and other spices. It wasn't spicy, but it had all the stuff in it that my family cooks with and that I grew up liking. So I was automatically on board.

The What Do complemented this one, too. I'm not sure if they took into account the flavor of the second steep (because yes, it makes a difference), but whether it was intentional or not, it worked.

Third Course: Smoked Gouda and Havarti Cheese Skewer with Fresh Fruit

Yeah, just roll up and gimme cheese. I'm happy.

I was doing to like this one no matter what. But I also appreciate that they alternated light and "heavy" (thought nothing was ever terribly heavy) courses because six courses feels daunting. Serving sizes were great, and the chilled grapes were awesome in the heat. Also, the strawberry. I'm so picky about strawberries because it's always my luck that I bite into a pretty one and it's just bitter as hell. They found really, really good strawberries.

This course and the next were paired with Baja Black Tea, which somehow I'd never had before. But it's become my new favorite morning tea. Good and strong, and apparently also works really well iced.

Fourth Course: Oatmeal Raisin Scone Served with Greek Yogurt

Heads up: I don't like oatmeal raisin stuff. But you know what? I liked the hell out of this. They cut the scones in half to serve because (as you can see) they were massive for courses of this size. They were soft and not dry or mealy, which is very important to me, especially if you're doing oatmeal raisin. Using Greek yogurt instead of clotted cream, as much as I love clotted cream, was a nice touch.

Fifth Course: Green Tea Mochi

A tasty little ice cream mochi in an adorable little plate. Since it wasn't straight out of the freezer, the mochi was nice and stretchy. Which was tasty but also awkward for me. Doesn't matter. Loved it.

The last two courses were served with the Summer Mojito house blend, made as a sparkling iced tea. And right now in Virginia, so much cold stuff (especially for me, who absorbs heat like a lizard) was wonderful.

Sixth Course: Lemon Pound Cake with Pina Colada Fruit Drizzle

Bringing up the rear, some nice cake. I'm a sucker for pound cake anyway, but the little bit of extra flavor right down the middle gave it some variety. The citrus was also really good with the sparkling tea.

If I can, I'm going to be getting back to at least one more of these. Honestly, I'd like to go on the regular if I can remember to make reservations!

For interested locals (or people willing to make the trip to Newport News), the next one will be on the 28th. If that Summer Mojito sparkling tea sounded interesting, you might want to check out their sparkling tea tasking and mocktail bar on the 22nd. Info on those events and lots more can be found on their website.