Tea and Crumpets and More at Kettle Whistle

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Strawberries, yogurt sablé, and granola; photo by Justin Lewis.

by Daisy Chow, tablehopper editorial assistant.

Tell Tale Preserve Company and tea-purveyor Naivetea have teamed up to create ~KETTLE WHISTLE~, a new spin on the afternoon tea service: it’s like William Werner’s dashing culinary creations are having elegant rendezvous with a well-curated collection of oolong teas in a series of chic pop-up locations. The first Kettle Whistle event takes places this Saturday June 25th in The Burritt Room, with seatings at 1pm and 3:30pm, and will consist of three flights of Werner’s pastry creations, both savory and sweet, carefully paired with a selection Naivetea’s oolong teas, both hot and iced.

I was fortunate to experience some of these pairings at a preview for Kettle Whistle at Big Daddy’s Antiques (a striking backdrop for the tasting), where Naivetea’s gracious founders Lawrence Lai and Ann Lee were on hand to talk about their unique, ultra-premium Taiwanese teas. Werner’s pastry creations were as pleasing to the eyes as they were to the tongue, and I found that the savory and sweet bites were paired in a beguiling and nuanced way with the high-end oolong teas.

For example, iced lychee and iced passion fruit teas were paired with salmon rillettes on seaweed brioche, a pairing in which the fruity and floral teas balanced the briny bite nicely. In a pairing of strong flavors with strong, Naivetea’s more-fermented Dong Ding (an award-winning variety) and Formosa teas, which had a smoky-roasty quality, were poured hot and sipped alongside the tangy punch of preserves like passion fruit-olive oil curd and strawberry jam, served with clotted cream on the cutest mini crumpets and petit scones. As for sweet bites, these were matched to delicately green, lightly grassy hot oolongs that cleansed the palate between rich, sweet desserts like rhubarb-olive oil layer cake and chocolate fondant topped with a shiny half-sphere of raspberry purée. We left the preview with a little gift to take home, so I bet you’ll leave with the same on Saturday.

Don’t expect a stodgy English tea, but do expect to make reservations for this first official Kettle Whistle event via email or phone (415-643-4894). Prix-fixe menu, $55 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 417 Stockton St. at Bush.

Event Info

Saturday Jun 25, 2011
1pm and 3:30pm seatings
$55, exclusive of tax and gratuity
The Burritt Room, Crescent Hotel
417 Stockton St. at Bush, San Francisco