The Expert-Approved Tea Pairing For Your Next Charcuterie Board

Your teetotaling friends are not out of luck should tonight's dinner menu call for an elaborate charcuterie board. With a bit of strategic pairing, you can match your favorite selection of meats and cheeses with tea instead of wine to provide a booze-free alternative for those attending your next dinner party. We spoke to Tony Gebely, the author of Tea: A User's Guide, for advice on how to go about this nontraditional but equally worthy pairing. Gebely offers a slew of informational videos on YouTube on all things tea, so when he advised us to reach for oolong, we were all ears. 

"A nice buttery high mountain oolong from Taiwan, specifically a Li Shan oolong's sweetness and complexity pairs well with an assortment of cheese and charcuterie," he says. Naturally, we were eager to try the recommendation. Sure enough, the silky mouthfeel of this delicate tea holds its own when sipped in between mouthfuls of smooth and creamy swashes of brie and sharper slices of aged fontina.

Cater to every dietary preference

Oolong tea can be served hot or iced, so if you're creating a charcuterie board to serve on a warm summer's day, you have drink options to offer those staying away from wine. Elevate cups of oolong with lemongrass, mint, or lavender, and be sure to provide honey for guests to drizzle not only on top of bread and cheese but also into their drinking glasses. Slices of pear and basil leaves also complement oolong's flavor notes, so your cheese boards will be right at home when presented alongside the brew. Even spoonfuls of chili crunch smoothed across perfectly toasted French bread can sing when experienced alongside this flavorful tea.  

After trying this delicious combination, cups of tea may make more regular appearances alongside the charcuterie boards you offer to guests, and you can have the option of putting together beautiful boards of fruit, chocolate, spreads, cheeses, dried meats, and nuts to serve morning or night.