As a qualified agronomist specialising in comparative agriculture and food development, trained at the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, she worked in French and South American vineyards before specialising in tea. She is a connoisseur of tea, and has for more than 20 years made best use her expert skills as a consultant, trainer and writer.
She joined Palais des Thés (a french tea retailing company) in 1995, and was involved in the set up the École du Thé, or School of Tea, in which she was the leading light until 2002.
From 2002 onward, her writing skills came to the fore, as she researched underlying trends in the international tea market, and focused on training professionals in the tea industry. Her first work, Le thé, arômes et saveurs du monde was translated into English and sold widely in Europe (Tea, exotic flavours and aromas) and the United States (Tea, aromas and flavors around the world).
Drawing on her knowledge of the technical intricacies of tea growing, and on her insight into the cultural values surrounding tea-tasting, Lydia Gautier’s view of the market is extensive and insightful.
In her latest work, she draws on a palate as discriminating as an oenologist’s and on her extensive knowledge of gourmet food techniques, to encapsulate in words her appreciation of new and not so new combinations of flavours in food, tea, and related beverages. Collaborating with Jean-François Mallet, who devised the food recipes and took the mouth-watering photographs, their book Thés et Mets: Subtiles Alliances, highlights intriguing pathways to new tastes and flavours.
The author's combined focus on a thousand year old beverage and the food to accompany it, brings to the fore a gourmet tradition that many would never have believed existed, no matter that it dates back to the mists of time. Creative combinations of textures and flavours titillate the taste buds. Fine fragrances are picked out in recipes and celebrated in the tea experience to accompany them. The authors’ discriminating attention to detail is equal to that lavished by experts on the finest of wines.