Tea and South African Pineapple

In my last post, I mentioned that your taste and flavor repertoire can be limited by your experience with foods. As someone who spent my formative years with McDonald’s, microwavable Salisbury steaks, and macaroni and cheese, this is certainly the case for me. As I grew older, those foods were imprinted on my palate, so I had no interest to explore more diverse flavors, even when my family’s geographic and economical situation changed. I really had no desire to change this until my late 20s and early 30s.

That’s why Stephen (that’s my husband) and I try to get one new food every week for a weekly food adventure. We don’t always manage it, and it doesn’t usually make for a new food obsession, but it does serve its purpose in broadening our horizons. I find that I am more aware of the flavors in food–and, by extension, tea– by trying new flavors and revisiting familiar ones.

South African PineappleThis week’s experiment is the South African pineapple. I’ve never seen one of these in the store before, and the tangy, sugary sweet scent seemed to waft out of the bin and into my face. I had to see what this thing tasted like. Plus, hello? It’s freaking adorable!

Of course, I almost chopped my fingers off about twenty times while cutting this dinky thing up. It doesn’t help that despite all the practice and my best efforts, I am still terrible when it comes to handling knives.

I “paired” this pineapplet with some strawberries and gouda. There was no cerebral decision making process behind these choices; I’m hardly a trained culinary expert. They just happened to be in my fridge. I did try a little harder to find a tea that would go well with this spread. I decided I was in the mood for a nice Chinese black with a yammy flavor that would be sweet but counteract the acid in the fruit. I chose something that I had drank before, since eating while drinking a new tea doesn’t allow you to experience the more subtle flavors.

I chose High Mountain Red Ai Lao Mountain Black Tea – Spring 2016 from Yunnan Sourcing. It’s sugary sweet like honey, but with a dominating sweet potato flavor–earthy and sweet at the same time.

Our breakfast ended up being rather picturesque for something I just threw together. Note the tiny yield from the tiny pineapple.

Pineapple Breakfast

So for the pineapple: the texture is just about the same as any regular pineapple–a little on the stringy side, but a bit more rubbery. As for the flavor, it was the sweetest, tangiest pineapple I had ever tasted. There wasn’t a hint of an acid burn while the fruit was in my mouth.

Until I swallowed.

That acid burn is vicious! And it contradicts the sugary sweetness that still lingers on the palate in an odd way. Luckily, my Ai Lao was up to the challenge of washing that burn away perfectly. A wonderful way to start the day for the both of us.

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Writen by Hoálatha

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