December 2014

Tea & Cheese Tasting at La Cave à Fromage

I have a cracking new food event you should check out in Notting Hill.

Roll the drums please.

Tea and cheese tasting.

You’re probably thinking I’ve gone nuts, cheese is meant to go with wine I hear you say, but I assure you this is so very real. Forget everything you thought you knew about eating cheese with wine, because this event will change your mind and is a wonderful way to get through dry January, or any other time of year!

I do love cheese, but I haven’t had good cheese in such a long time. When my family summered in South France we would take advantage of the vast variety of cheese from the markets, buy lots and indulge in them by L’Ardèche. But when I lived in Paris, I didn’t take advantage of the renowned prowess of French cheeses as much as I should have; I discovered real goat’s cheese and I just got obsessed with that!

Tucked away on Portobello is the  rustic Cave à Fromage. As the name suggests, it is a cheese haven, manned by Alec and his fellow cheese-connoisseur colleagues. Don’t know what the difference is between cheese made from sheep’s milk or cow’s milk? Ask the team. Wonder how cheese-makers create the rind around cheese? Ask the team.

La Cave à Fromage teamed up with Kyle from Whittington’s Tea Emporium to host a Tea and Cheese tasting event. I’ve written about WTE’s tea-tasting event at The Noodle House before, so it was interesting to see how this one would differ (and also find out whether cheese and tea works!)

Whittington’s Tea Emporium is an online haven for loose-leaf tea lovers, looking to buy tea paraphernalia or just wanting to stock up on some tea leaves.

The first thing I noticed was the size of the event. Much smaller than the Noodle House event, six tea-lovers sat around a high table, with a board of six slices of different cheeses placed in front of each of us. This created a buzz among us before the event started. Could we guess the cheeses?
What kind of teas would be matched with each of them? The event hadn’t begun, but the cheeses were teasing me “try me, go on!”

I really liked the small setting, as we all got to know one and another, and shared our thoughts on each tea and cheese pairing.

We tried an array of teas, from a rare Yellow Tea to a Puerh tea, which apparently some love and some hate (weirdly enough, all of us loved it).

The cheeses started from the more milder flavours to the last being powerful, and we learnt that eating the rind of a cheese enhances the flavour. The teas surprisingly worked well with the cheeses; it was like a delicate dance, starting off slowly, the middle with the more mature flavours building up to the finale; a cheese so strong that it had also changed shape throughout the event and seemingly cried off our boards (as one of the attendees put it).

There were three favourite pairings for me, one which really surprised me; that was the pairing of Montgemory Cheddar Cheese and Ceylon Kenilworth tea. The cheddar cheese tasted a thousand times better than supermarket cheese; I tried cheese from a supermarket the next day, and found it tasted so rubbery and artificial compared to the cheese from La Cave à Fromage. If you’re a cheddar cheese fan, I recommend buying this cheese from La Cave à Fromage- you will never look at cheddar cheese in the same light again.

The Barkham Blue Cheese was another favourite. If you love strong cheeses, I recommend buying this from La Cave. It was incredibly creamy with a slight mushroom and foresty note at the end.

Each of the tea and cheese pairings were like intricate dances you’d never forget and are all available to buy at Whittington’s Tea Emporium and La Cave à Fromage.

La Cave à Fromage, 148 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, host other events, which you can find out on their website.

The Tea & Cheese tasting event was very different to the Noodle House food & tea tasting event, but nonetheless, both were wonderful and offered different ways to experiences tea.

Whittington’s Tea Emporium hosts a number of other tea-related events, including tea-walks around London. Heads up, they may be hosting tea and chocolate events next year! For further information on current events, including the Tea and Cheese tasting event, and future events, head over to Eventbrite.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had with tea that you really liked? I’d love to find out about other things that go with tea.

Mara xxx

Disclaimer: I was given the chance to review the event for free by Whittington’s Tea Emporium, however, all opinions are honest and my own. 

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