Eat this Word: Lapsang Souchong

WHAT? Smoky sipper. Enjoyed a cup of lapsang souchong with your afternoon cookie lately? If you’re like most Americans, the chances are slim. Lapsang souchong is a strong black tea with an assertive smoky flavor that has been likened to the taste of single-malt Scotch whiskey and cigars. Real lapsang souchong hails from Mount Wuyi in the Fujian province of China and is quite rare, but the name is often applied to black and oolong tea leaves of indiscriminate origin that have been treated with smoldering pinewood ash. According to legend, the smoking process was discovered by accident in a small village during the Qing dynasty when a group of soldiers took over a tea factory filled with fresh, unprocessed leaves. By the time the townspeople were able to get back into the factory, they didn’t have enough time to dry the leaves before market day, so they used pinewood fires to speed the process. Though many find lapsang souchong an acquired taste, true connoisseurs are seduced by its rich aroma and tart finish and claim its strong flavor pairs well with salty or spicy dishes. WHERE? John J. Shirley's Beard House Dinner WHEN? March 25, 2010 HOW? Lapsang Souchong–Smoked and Wild Mushroom–Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb with Vegetable à la Printanière and Orange Pekoe–Infused Oxtail Reduction

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