Shangri La Tea Chocolate – Milk Chocolate Chamomile Mint and Dark Chocolate Black Currant

October 2nd, 2014 by Rosa

Shangri La is a tea company that makes tea-flavored chocolate, of which I got free samples to review. I covered the Earl Grey and Masala Chai on Tuesday, and today, I’m reviewing the remaining two bars: Chamomile Mint and Black Currant.

Chamomile Mint had the same 38% milk chocolate base as the Earl Grey and Masala Chai. Its back was a riot of different tea leaves and flower bits: chamomile, licorice, spearmint, orange peel, and peppermint.

The milk chocolate took on an entirely different flavor profile with this different tea blend, and the base milk chocolate’s caramel notes were lost. Instead, it tasted minty, with some of the sharp bitterness of anise and some floral notes from the chamomile and orange peel.

While I appreciated the flavor complexity, the texture was a bit off for me, as the larger flower bits and other crunchy parts didn’t melt away, and I had to spit them out. Like the Masala Chai, this gets a demotion to an O because of the texture.

Black Currant was the only one of the set that had a dark chocolate base, a 66% cacao. It was flavored with black tea and “natural flavor”, which gave it a brightly fruity scent.

The dark chocolate snapped easily and sharply. It didn’t melt with any noticeable texture so much as just disappeared, leaving behind the crunchy tea leaves.

The “natural flavor’ added a noticeable dark red berry fruitiness, while the tea leaves made the chocolate finish with a noticeable astringency. I liked the flavor but didn’t like the lingering dryness. An O as well.

I imagine these would be great gifts for tea-drinkers. If only tea tasted as good as these chocolate bars!

Stay tuned tomorrow for something fun about these Shangri La bars!

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Chocolate Exhibit at Drexel University

October 1st, 2014 by Rosa

Via my friend Knile, a new exhibit about chocolate is opening at Drexel University, to run from October 11 to January 24th, 2015. If you go opening weekend, there will be chocolate foods and crafts available! I have no idea what a chocolate craft is…

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Shangri La Tea Chocolate – Milk Chocolate Earl Grey and Masala Chai

September 30th, 2014 by Rosa

Shangri La is a tea company that’s now making inroads into tea-flavored chocolate. They sent me free samples of their line-up to review. I’ll cover the Earl Grey and Masala Chai today, and the Black Currant and Chamomile Mint on Thursday.

Both the Early Grey and Masala Chai were made with a 38% cacao milk chocolate base. The 0.85 oz squares were imprinted with the word Organic, even though the packaging doesn’t note organic certification or organic ingredients anywhere. Not sure what’s up with that…

The back of the Earl Grey bar was flecked with black tea leaves. It smelled earthy and woodsy.

The milk chocolate broke easily with a soft snap. It melted in my mouth with a velvety, matte texture. The tea leaves had a dry crunch before they, too, melted away.

The milk chocolate base had lightly sweet caramel cocoa flavors, while the black tea and bergamot added a subtle woodsiness with a lightly floral finish that paired wonderfully with the chocolate. An OM.

The Masala Chai had a warm, spicy scent, thanks to its infusion of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom in addition to the black tea it contained. Cinnamon came through the strongest and paired well with the chocolate, though it also made it taste sweeter.

While I enjoyed the flavors of the Masala Chai, I had some problems with the texture. The black tea crunched and melted away, but there were also tooth-breaking bits of cinnamon bark that I had to spit out. An O because I don’t like having to pick chocolate bar leftovers out of my mouth.

More Shangri La reviews to come on Thursday, and something fun for you readers on Friday!

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Churchill’s Carousel Giveaway

September 29th, 2014 by Rosa

Last Wednesday, I reviewed a charming tin carousel full of toffees and fudge from Churchill’s Confectionery. They’re letting me give away a free carousel to one of you! Enter via the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What’s in a chocolate’s name?

September 25th, 2014 by Rosa

As a psychologist, I’d long known that people can easily determine which of the below two shapes is named Bouba and which is named Kiki.

Kiki sounds hard, so people associate it with the sharp shape, while Bouba sounds round and goes with the round shape.

I learned more recently from reading Slate’s excerpt from a book about the language of food that Kiki and Bouba are also attributable to different types of chocolate. Specifically, milk chocolate, with its smooth mouthfeel, is associated with Bouba. Dark chocolate, with its sharper flavors, is associated with Kiki.

Pretty cool, huh? Also this means you should think twice about what you name your chocolate company, as people may form expectations about what your product will taste like based on how sharp or round its name is.

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Churchill’s Confectionery Carousel – Toffee and Vanilla Fudge

September 24th, 2014 by Rosa

Churchill’s Confectionery is family-run, London-based company that is now making inroads in the U.S. via shops like Williams Sonoma and Bloomingdale’s. They recently sent me a free sample of their Carousel tin filled with toffee and vanilla fudge.

The tin itself was beautiful: a round cylinder with a tented top and embossed with colourful (see what I did there) carousel horses. The tin held two bags of individually wrapped candies, one of round dairy toffees and another of rectangles of vanilla fudge.

The vanilla fudge squares were softy grainy and easy to bite through. They chewed up into a pleasant, pliable mush that melted in my mouth.

The fudge had a mellow, round, floral sweetness that finished with a hint of fruitiness. I usually dislike fudge because I find it too sweet, but I enjoyed these. An O.

The dairy toffee was firm, but I was able to bite through it cleanly. It had a sticky chew that left bits of toffee wedged in the nooks and crannies of my teeth.

The flavor was sweet and buttery, with just an edge of burnt sugar deliciousness. I’m a sucker for British toffees, and while I prefer the deeper scorchy notes of Walker’s Treacle Toffee, this lighter toffee was good enough for an OM.

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Olive & Sinclair Whisky

September 19th, 2014 by Rosa

I mentioned yesterday that I visited Olive & Sinclair, a Nashville bean-to-bar chocolate maker, while I was in town for a wedding. There were some chocolate truffles filled with a boozy caramel for sale – if I remember correctly, they were called Whisky Musket Balls?

At any rate, I bought one to try. It was pricey but noms!

By the way, that round stone in the top right corner is for grinding cocoa beans to make chocolate. And those pebbly-looking things at the bottom are cocoa beans. The backwards EAT is a reflection of a sign that they had on the opposite wall.

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Olive & Sinclair

September 18th, 2014 by Rosa

Part of my recent travels included a weekend in Nashville for a wedding. My awesome friend Kevin took me to Olive & Sinclair, a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Nashville.

It was a fun visit. They’ve got free samples of everything lying around, so of course I tried it all. I also bought a box of their Bourbon Nib Brittle to review, so stay tuned!

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Pee candy from Hollywood

September 17th, 2014 by Rosa

I’ve been traveling quite a bit recently, so I’ve been too busy to write new reviews. Hopefully I’ll be able to play some catch-up this weekend, as I’ve got some new free samples that just rolled in. In the meantime, I’ve got some photos from my travels to share.

I found this pee candy (“Urine for a Treat”, harhar) at a candy store near Universal Studios in Hollywood. It’s a yellow liquid candy stashed in a specimen cup. Lovely, no?

photo (1)

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Bon Appétit foreign candy slideshow

September 4th, 2014 by Rosa

Bon Appétit has a slideshow of “19 foreign candies to buy while traveling“. For some reason, they’ve got Japanese Kit Kats in the slideshow header but not in the actual slideshow, which is a shame because Japanese Kit Kats are awesome.

Which reminds me, I’ve got some cheesecake flavored ones stashed away from this past March. I should find those…

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