Ochauke (お茶請け) is the Japanese word for tea snack.
The idea is, on one hand to avoid drinking tea on an empty stomach, since tea contains caffeine and catechins.
On the other hand, there is the belief that a good pairing will actually bring out the flavor of the tea.
What’s interesting here, is that it’s not just about sweets. Salty food and pickles are also considered to be ochauke.
Besides that, non-Japanese sweets like cookies and cakes are used, so it’s not only traditional Japanese snacks.
The ochauke is served before the tea, and it is placed at the front left from the guest’s point of view.
The tea is placed at the guest’s front right.
Black tea with cookies
These pair well because they’re both considered to be Western. The bitterness of the black tea is mellowed by the sweetness of the cookie.
Genmaicha with senbei
Senbei is a type of rice cracker. It’s usually served with sencha, but genmaicha works well because it also contains rice.
Sencha with tsukemono
Tsukemono are Japanese pickles. Some are more sweet than salty, but in general a refreshing sencha is a good choice because of the contrast that it offers.
This post gave me an idea. I will be introducing some of the traditional ochauke in the blog.