Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Visit to the Monastery

Since I began attending meetings and events with my Chi Omega Sorority Sisters of the Cleveland West I have visited some amazing places in my new home town. Last night was no exception! We attended a tea tasting at The Monastery in Ohio City. They refer to themselves as a restaurant and tea sanctuary.
This unique place is run by a man who must be more knowledgeable about tea than any other person I will ever possibly meet. He regaled us with stories about different teas: white tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea, pu-erhs..... Did you know that there are teas aged for 30 years? Did you know that some of the best teas are picked by monkeys from the highest cliff elevations which humans just can't reach? Did you know that some teas are considered competition grade? Did you know that milk and sugar are not just a preference of some, but actually required to bring out the full flavor and aroma of some teas? (And do not ever under any circumstances place lemon in anything but iced tea! It will destroy the flavor profile!) Did you know that each tea must be prepared with very specific temperature and infusion time to bring out it's dimension properly? So much to learn!
Luckily, there was also so much to enjoy!
We had a three course meal accompanied by five tea courses...
First Apricot Passion Green Tea
First course: Old English fresh scones and date nut bread baked earlier in the day, served with cream cheese, lemon curd (totally scrumptious!), strawberry cream, and honey and lavender cream.
The next tea was Song Yang White Tea.
Our main food course was Grilled Chicken Salad with green tea marinade served with Wuyi Oolong tea.
Bangladesh Siloah Black Tea
And finally.... dessert! Dark Chocolate Truffle with Rum, Chocolate Strawberry Truffle, Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful these were! and a finish with Iron Silk Pu-erh tea.
Over all a delightful evening. And a bit overwhelming! I learned so many different things and was exposed to so many teas that I fear I cannot even discuss them intelligently! For one thing I am aware that my vocabulary doesn't even include sufficient words to articulate the sensory attributes of tea!
If you are ever in this neck of the woods... you must stop in here and experience their "culinary concoctions for the senses."
They also sell loose tea and all the paraphernalia to prepare it properly. I will be back there soon to make some selections!
(Excuse the photos here... I was not trying some fancy exposure settings or filters... Miss "I can't believe I'm lucky enough to go to a tea tasting, how totally cool!" was not awake enough in the morning to remember to bring the camera with her to work! Cell phone to the rescue!)


Becky said...

Connie - thank you for sharing your evening. I am not much of a connoisseur but I'm quite fond of my Venti, unsweetened black ice tea from Starbucks.

tami w. said...

hi Connie.

what a beautiful post. I love tea and attending tea parties. Maybe Kristina and I will have to come for a visit someday???!! I hope we see each other again. it was great meeting you and your friendl W. in line. I don't want to mispell her name. Thanks for sharing.

Patti said...

Sounds like a lovely evening! I believe there is no other way to take tea than with cream and sugar!

But next time, please use some type of disclaimer not to read your blog when one is in the throes of hunger, or licking of the computer screen might follow ;<). For cell phone photos, those turned out great! I, too, thank you for sharing this evening with us!

The Fairy Godmother said...

Great tea drinkers here at The Vintage Fairy Files and as for "Stewart" strangely that is the name of the person who brought the little chap into the garden, he is also known to water the flowers from time to time. - I'm intrigued, where did that "knoweledge" come from?

Carmen said...

This all sounds so interesting to me! I wish I could be there right now!
Thank you for all your concern and letting me know about it!
Please know that I am safe and very thankful to all of you for being so lovely and compassionate to my city.
Thank you!
Please stay in touch.