Monday, June 16, 2008

Chocolatea, Tea & Chocolate

One of the products I really enjoyed at the World Tea Expo was Chocolatea tea chocolates. It would seem that the chocolate and tea trend is growing quickly. At the Expo last year and this year, Pearl Dexter's tea and chocolate pairing course was a big hit. More and more tearooms are blending the two on menu items such as tarts, cookies, and chocolate-tea cocktails. Smile Chocolatiers brings the two into one line of products with Chocolatea, very dark, dark, milk, and white chocolate bars with powdered teas and tisanes as flavors.

At a choclate event at the International House in Charlotte, NC (my hometown, where I am currently visiting for tea lectures and tastings), I got to talk about the relationship between tea and chocolate, and to give out samples of Chocolatea bars. The Rosemary is a love it or hate it flavor (I love it). The Coconut Green Tea is also quite popular. Personally, I find that the White Tea (in very dark and dark) doesn't allow the flavor of the tea to shine through, but people liked the flavor and the antioxidants. As I've said before, good tea chocolates can be hard to find. I was thrilled to find these at the Expo, even if I don't lovelovelove every single flavor.

The areana of tea and chocolate pairings is fascinating to me and I'm glad to see it advancing. My lecture at the International House briefly covered the parallels in tea and chocolate's histories and production, and then addressed their similarities in health and mood benefits and in flavor profiles. Later, I discussed the major flavor profiles of tea and (using Pearl Dexter's "friends" and "lovers" paring philosophy*) discussed pairing tea and chocolate. The lecture also covered how tea blenders make chocolate teas, some of the major tea chocolates on the market, and how to make tea chocolates in your own kitchen (something many of the chocoliers at the event were interested in trying). It was a fun lecture to give and it seemed that the group of about 80 got a lot out of it, too. Here's a photo of the event as the room started to fill up:

If you're in Charlotte this Wednesday, come check out my yerba mate tasting (with an Argentine wine tasting and tango dancing demo) at Urbana. Call 704.543.1700 for more details. You can also arrange a personalized tasting (with a focus on tea history, processing, benefits, flavor profiles, pairings, or whatever other tea interests you may have) of six of Urbana's 100 teas with me through the 25th by calling Urbana.

*Of course, I credited Pearl during the lecture.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Oh, I wish I could have heard your presentation! I love Rosemary, so I will keep a lookout for those bars. They sound great!

Enjoy your travels!