When I’m invited into farmers’ homes in China, I sometimes find myself confronted by Chairman Mao. I don’t know if he’s worshipped or idolised, but in any case, the offerings and lights are there, beneath his portrait that presides over the main living room. A divine Mao.
I’ve already written about cheese, when I celebrated the pairing of a fresh goat’s cheese and a Premium Bao Zhong. Today I’m recommending another combination: a Cantal Vieux and a Bourgeon de Pu Er. The tea is infused hot, as usual, but it’s best to then let it cool and drink it at room temperature. This allows you to prepare your tea a few hours before the meal, keeping it in your teapot. To serve, I suggest a small clear carafe and liqueur glasses. Your guests will be amazed! I’m sure they’ll appreciate the richness of this accord, the balance and harmony between the woody, undergrowth and animal notes of the Pu Er and the notes of the Cantal Vieux.
In his village of Soyam, Yaad Bahadur Limbu is known as the “tea father”. He was the first to plant tea in the village, and today, tea is its main source of income. Everyone is involved. To reach Soyam, you must cross a suspension bridge and then climb for several hours. You pass terraced rice paddies and fields of millet, and cross farmyards. When Soyam’s villagers harvest the tea leaves, they are transported on horseback. This requires four or five horses. They take the same path as the one that had me huffing and puffing, and they cross the same suspension bridge. Each horse wears a pack saddle allowing it to carry a load of 100 kilos. The caravan takes five hours to reach the factory, and must return to the village the same evening. It is a long expedition.