The main reason I went to Philadelphia to visit my friend was because she invited me to join her for a cooking class entitled Matcha 101 at Cook, a posh little demo kitchen near Rittenhouse Square. If you're familiar with my blog, you've probably read about my love of tea at one point or another, so it's no surprise I'm close friends with other like-minded tea-loving individuals. After a Saturday spent exploring the city, our Sunday was spent learning about the fascinating world of matcha tea!
The class was lead by Alexis Siemons, a tea consultant and writer local to the area. She shared her wealth of knowledge about matcha tea, from its growth and production to its many uses within the kitchen, both traditional and modern.
Our tasting began with a sparkling matcha lemonade cocktail, a tart infusion of lemon juice and honey brightened with green matcha and a splash of sparkling wine. It was tasty and a fun way to start our matcha experience.
While we sipped our cocktail, Alexis got to work on more of the dishes that we would be enjoying during our class. Alexis prepared ceremonial grade matcha powder into traditional matcha tea, using a bamboo whisk to combine the delicate ingredient with just enough hot water to make a smooth paste before thinning it out to the right consistency with additional water.
Matcha tea on its own is somewhat grassy and vegetal in flavor, and is best complimented with something very sweet. In Japan, they serve small sweets alongside the drink, so Alexis put an American spin on the practice by serving it with matcha rice krispie treats.
The rice krispie treats are sweet enough that a lot of the matcha flavor within them is somewhat masked, however, they really are the perfect complement to the shots of matcha tea, really balancing the flavor of the pure unadulterated matcha tea.
Our next pairing began with matcha fresh juice shots. Alexis combined fresh cucumber juice with matcha, as well as fresh honeydew juice with matcha. We tried both variations, and although they were different I was definitely a fan of both. The cucumber had a light crispness to it, while the honeydew was a bit sweeter, yet still delicate. This is a refreshing way to experience matcha tea!
One of my favorite bites from the afternoon was the matcha green tea and goat cheese crostini! It reminded me more of a tartine (open-faced sandwich) than a crostini due to its size, but that's really irrelevant because it was so tasty! A combination of creamy and tangy goat cheese with vibrant matcha powder is finished with a segment of orange and a drizzle of honey. This crostini walks the line between savory and sweet in the most delicious way.
The final pairing of the afternoon featured matcha custard pie served with cool and creamy iced mint matcha coconut latte. Both are definite winners in my book, and a wonderful finale to a fun afternoon learning about matcha tea in all of its glory!
If you're ever planning a trip to Philadelphia, check out the event calendar at Cook for some fun culinary experiences. I would definitely love to visit again for another class! That would be the perfect excuse to head back to Philly for some culinary fun!