With winter fast upon us, my wife and I seek refuge in the power of our teapot. Red, Black, or Green, the flavors of tea invigorate and refresh the weather addled senses. The unique blends that come from the tea leaves create a unmistakable impact upon the palette, that, interestingly, goes well with chocolate.
The Tea Room is a company out in San Francisco that has mastered the art of combining tea and chocolate. The company offers a wide variety of bars infused with the flavors of tea. The effects produced by these bars are distinctive and distinguished. Though tea chocolates are a new phenomenon, with a single bite the chocolate imbues a familiarity, like a taste that you had forgotten from your childhood.
Chamomile and Honey in White Chocolate:
I have mentioned before, and I mention it often, that I am not a big fan of white chocolate. Yet, since working at the boutique that statement has become riddled with exceptions. The Chamomile and Honey Bar, is a wonderful piece of chocolate. Average white chocolate can have a cloying sweetness with an almost waxy texture. This bar avoids much of that by relying heavily on the flavor of the honey. The moment the chocolate hits your tongue, you are greeted by a burst of honey, a true honey flavor with the floral after notes that only comes from wild harvested honey. The chamomile adds a much needed twist to the after taste of white chocolate giving it a brief spiced taste, and it's calming herbal taste accompanies the honey perfectly. The white chocolate acts as a smooth baseline creamy taste, like milk in tea.
Jasmine in Milk Chocolate:
The Jasmine Bar is one of my favorites, because of it's simple elegance. The milk chocolate takes center stage with the accompanying jasmine flavor. The milk chocolate is well tempered and melts quickly, releasing a powerful floral burst. The taste of jasmine is mixed in such a way that it is very present without overpowering the taste of the chocolate. I have over-brewed more than my fair share of cups of tea, so I can tell that the infusion used by the Tea Room is brewed in a perfect environment. At the right temperature and duration, Jasmine can have a flavor that it both light and flavorful, making for an excellent pairing with Milk chocolate.
Green Earl Grey in Dark Chocolate:
Green Earl Grey tea, is the traditional English black tea prepared with East Asian Green tea leaves. The combination of light green tea flavor with the pungent oil of bergamot makes the Green Earl Grey Tea an incredibly crisp and well defined flavor. Tea can sometimes imbue a dry or powery texture when combined with other ingredients, The Tea Room accounts for this by using a very soft temper for their chocolates, so that they remain moist and creamy. The Green Earl Grey bar showcase this soft tempure perfectly. It melts in the mouth quickly, but evenly releasing the bergamot and cacao flavors in a powerful sustained infusion of flavor. It is a sensation that cannot be missed.