1 October 2014

High Tea and More at HD Cafe

Ice Cream - Two words, one dish, a million memories. We've all grown up with ice cream. From enjoying chocobars and orange candy as kids during the summers, to sharing ice cream sundaes on dates as adolescents, to enjoying the finer, gourmet flavors as adults. I am currently on the third phase, and I enjoy how versatile this universal dessert can be. Haagen Dazs remains one of my favourite ice cream brands, even though it may be slightly on the pricier side. 'Gourmet ice cream' if I may call it. 

Having always gone there for my fix of ice cream, I've rarely paid attention to their exhaustive menu serving other dessert items. They recently had a patisserie and tea pairing evening where I attended on behalf of Mumbai Food Lovers. The evening was eye opening as I not only got to try out some of their yummy desserts but also got to learn a lot about tea and tea pairing courtesy the lovely Radhika Batra from Radika's Fine Teas.

The rainy evening served as a perfect setting. We were huddled inside the Bandra outlet of Haagen Dazs, teas brewing in front of us. Tea sommelier Radhika Batra and Chef Anthony David took us through the entire menu of specially paired tea and patisserie created for Haagen Dazs Cafe. HD Café is a recently launched concept where you can drop into Haagen Dazs for a cup of freshly brewed Twinnings tea, and some patisserie to go on the side.

Having always been a ‘Coffee person’, the session opened my eyes about tea. I learnt about the different types of teas, and how I could brew them at home. Just like wine, different teas can be paired with different food. And similarly there is a technique involved to drinking and enjoying your cup of tea.

Then came the fun part of trying out the different desserts paired with Twinnings tea. The Orange-Mango-Cinnamon tea was coupled with this smooth, Panna Cotta with strawberry sauce on top. The tea has a burst of citrus flavour that works very well with the light, fruity dessert.

Orange-Mango-Cinnamon Tea with Panna Cotta
Next up was my favourite pairing of the evening, predominantly because of the divine Baked Cheesecake. Perfectly moist yet crumbly, this cheesecake was one of the best I’ve eaten (and I’ve eaten a lot of cheesecake). What I loved was that it was topped with this salted caramel sauce, that gave it some extra zing. This came paired with the Twinnings Green Tea.
Baked Cheesecake with Green Tea
The Blueberry Muffin was like your regular muffin- slightly reminiscent of a 'mawa cake'- with a blueberry compote center. This came paired with a Twinnings Classic Assam Tea which was definitely one of the heavier, full-bodied teas.

Classic Assam Tea with Blueberry Muffin
Next up was the Raspberry and White Chocolate Tart paired with Twinnings Darjeeling Tea. The tart consisted of this decadent white chocolate ganache topped with lush raspberry. I only wished the tart base had been moister. This one was bordering on being a biscuit
Raspberry and White Chocolate Tart with Darjeeling Tea
The last dessert of the evening was an unusual Earl Grey Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake topped with a White Chocolate Macaroon. Firstly, I loved the fact that tea was infused in the dessert. The mousse was dense and had a mild after taste of the Earl Grey. The star was the macaroon perched prettily on top. No points for guessing which tea this came paired with- the classic Earl Grey.
Earl Grey Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Earl Grey Tea
Overall, it was fun learning about tea, trying the different varieties and getting to understand how they work paired with dessert. We have very few full fledged tea lounges serving an entire menu dedicated to tea in the city. Therefore, that will definitely work in their favour.

 The teas are priced between Rs 125-160/- depending on the variant. I think you’d end up paying the same amount for a cup of brewed tea at any of the commercial coffee shop chains. HD Café has a larger variety on their menu, and even offers yummy desserts paired with the tea.

Would I go back? Maybe, if I wanted a break from my routine afternoon coffee outings. Definitely, for the exceptional cheesecake and macaroons.

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