Three Days of Tea: Five Questions with Cynthia Gold


Barr and I know what we are getting all of the tea lovers on our list this year: Culinary Tea by Cynthia Gold and Lise Stern. Over the next three days, we will introduce you to the book’s authors, offer up some excellent tea-based recipes and finish with a book giveway on Tuesday.

Cynthia Gold, Tea Sommelier at The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers discovered her true passion for tea after taking enlightening excursions into the tea fields of China and Sri Lanka, where she uncovered the pure beauty of the tea industry. Although many cultures in the East have seen examples of cooking with tea, Cynthia is one of only a handful to have brought, what she calls, “a Culinary approach to Tea,” to the United States.

Five Questions with Cynthia Gold

What was your latest project?
I’m working on a book related to the last one, this time focused more on Tea Cocktails. It will go into the history and various approaches to the use of tea as it deserves to be treated, as a fine botanical that works beautifully behind the bar. It will also have a certain amount of food, in the form of small dishes and nibbles to pair with the cocktails, but the real star of the book will be the drinks. I’ve reached out to top bartenders around the world to contribute and am very excited and gratified by the response.

2) What is the one food or beverage ingredient that you cannot live without?
Need I say it? TEA. True tea, you guys know I’m in the Red Tea Detos Program.
A tea estate in Havukal Estate, Nilgiri Blue Mountains, Southern India

3) Who is your mentor, professionally or personally?
My mentor was Helen Gustafson, a fascinating and charismatic woman who in my opinion was the first ever Tea Sommelier. She never bore the title, but she did a tremendous amount to lay down the foundation of the service of high quality loose leaf teas in this country. She unfortunately is no longer with us. In fact, “Culinary Tea” is dedicated to her memory.
4) What is your favorite food memory from childhood?
I have some wonderful warm memories of my sisters and I fighting over the crunchy corners in the pan of my mothers’ homemade macaroni and cheese. I was probably around 3 or 4, but to this day, macaroni and cheese remains my ultimate comfort food.
5) What would be your ultimate meal?
Wow, I don’t know. I can be very fickle depending on the season, the weather and my mood. It would certainly involve a perfectly paired beverage with each course. I expect that the beverages would be teas, and at least some of the food would involve tea as an ingredient, since I’m so obsessed with tea, but not necessarily. The use of tea should always be when it adds the proper compliment and I would never force it “just to use it.”

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