Cheese, we've always been told, pairs with wine. But Heidi Johannssen Stewart thinks we should seriously consider ditching the bottle for a pot of tea. Just like wine, teas have tannins and astringency; they show the terroir of the places they're grown; and some are even vintage dated. Tea is amazing with cheese, and it's interesting and rewarding to put together different combinations, says Stewart, the cofounder of Bellocq Tea Atelier in New York City.
Stewart recently collaborated with The Cheeses of Europe on a campaign to familiarize Americans with French cheeses. They discovered that wine and cheese pairing guidelines also hold true for tea and cheese: A cheese that pairs with a wine high in tannins would also work well with a tea that is high in tannins. Similarly, salty cheeses complement sweet wines the way they do a sweet-tasting tea. "We looked for teas that would not only complement the cheese, but also bring out a new flavor that wasn't there before," says Stewart.
Here, six terrific pairings to try now.