Tag Archives: tea

Chocolate Monday: Vanilla Rooibos Tea

I first found Vosges while exploring Armitage Street in Chicago. I wasn’t looking for a chocolate shop. My mission was to visit the local LUSH store to stock up on much needed hair and skin care products. However, as my best friend and I strolled down the street, we found not one, but two fantastic chocolate shops. Sadly the first one, Ethel M’s closed down only a few years after we found it. The company itself is still in business, but the Chicago store closed and they also stopped selling the majority of the truffles and filled treats I love. When I found them again in Vegas years later, they had less than half the stock of the Chicago store.

Luckily Vosges not only stayed on Armitage for our yearly visit, but they spread their stocks wider and wider so that even my local Kroger now sells a variety of their chocolate bars. My only real issue with Vosges is that their stock tends to be overwhelmingly dark chocolate and try as I might, I just don’t like dark chocolate as much as its lovely milk cousin. However, I have found that their 45% dark milk chocolate is very tasty.

I especially enjoy it in their Vanilla Rooibos Tea bar. This bar is a wonderful combination of dark milk chocolate, rooibos tea and tart cherries. Just about anything with cherries, especially with dried tart cherries, has my heart. I love cherries in just about any form they take. I especially love them in this bar.

The chocolate definitely has a dark hint to it. It is not smooth and creamy exactly. It has a tiny bit of bitterness to it that could be off putting if not for the the lovely tartness of the cherries. The cherries not only add a bright burst of sweet to help temper the bitterness of the chocolate, but they also add a great texture to the bar. That texture is enhanced by the slightly crunchy bits of tea. Although tea can add bitterness to some candies, either the chocolate masks it in this case or it simply isn’t here. The only bitterness I find is in the actual chocolate.

This is a delightful bit of dark chocolate and I not only like it, but seek it out.


Taste: 9/10
Appearance: 6/10
Value: 7/10 (at $8 a bar, it is pricey, so it’s definitely a treat)


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Chocolate Monday: Droga Money on Honey

Money on honey close upYesterday I met some of my favorite former students at Starbucks. While one of them has a coffee habit that might single-handedly keep that particular store in business, I am not only NOT much of a coffee fan, but I’m really not a Starbucks fan. It’s not the crazy, over the top commercialism of the chain. It’s not the cold, uninviting atmosphere (and darn uncomfortable chairs). It’s not even that I don’t really like coffee much. I have a special dislike of their coffee because it always seems extra bitter to me. Not to mention that I’ve never once had a good cup of chai, my coffee shop standby, at Starbucks.

Since Starbucks bought Teavana a few years ago, I’m actually not quite as disappointed when someone suggests we meet there. I actually enjoy many of Teavana’s teas, so if I’m going to be stuck in a Starbucks, at least I can get a cup of Peach Tranquility or Pineapple Kona Pop herbal tea to make my visit more enjoyable. Sure, I’ll still be uncomfortable while I’m in the joint, but at least my tea will be good.

I’d just finished a rather huge travel mug of David’s Tea before I pulled up in the Starbucks lot, so I wasn’t really in a tea mood. I broke tradition and ordered a salted caramel mocha. As usual, I was greatly disappointed. It was just too coffee for my taste. I managed to drink most of it, but more out of habit than enjoyment.

Money on honey wrapperWhile my beverage was a let down, I was pretty excited about a snack item I noticed on the rack next to our table. I saw the bright white and yellow package for Money on Honey wildflower honey caramels. Even though the wrapper said it was dark chocolate, the idea of a honey infused caramel was too tempting for me to pass up. I LOVE honey in pretty much any form it wants to take. My favorite way to eat carrots is steamed and then cooked in some butter, honey and brown sugar. Yum!

Even though I love honey, I have been burned by honey chocolate before. My complaints about honey chocolate are two fold. First, honey is almost always paired with dark chocolate and often the dark chocolate is so overwhelming that the honey is lost. My other complaint, is that often when the bitterness of the dark chocolate doesn’t overwhelm, the honey is still completely underwhelming on its own.

Since Money on Honey is a honey caramel, my hope was that it would be heavy on the buttery taste of caramel and the silky taste of honey so that I would forget these were dark chocolate caramels.

I seriously lucked out. Yes, the dark chocolate is definitely there, but as it melted away and the caramel was left in my mouth, I got a full on blast of honey goodness. It actually reminds me a bit of a Bit O Honey, but only in flavor, not texture. It definitely has the chewy consistency of a caramel, but not the “I could chew this for hours” chewiness of Bit O Honey. It also doesn’t have any of the nuttiness of the Bit O Honey, which is fine. I want my caramels smooth.

money on honey trayThe addition of the sea salt on top of the caramel, which really seems to be the only way caramel is produced these days, helps balance out the sweet of the honey and also distracts from the bitterness of the dark chocolate. I happen to be a pretty big fan of adding salt to very sweet candies–I like the way it confuses my tongue with the sweet and the savory. However, I really do feel like in the last few years it’s gotten almost too cliche. Even though I enjoy the combination, it would be refreshing to find caramel that isn’t salted.

That being said, I’m glad these caramels were salted. These are some of the best caramels I’ve had since I tried Vosges exotic caramels about a decade ago. Vosges bee pollen caramels are good, but I think I might like these even better.


Taste: 9/10
Appearance: 6/10
Value: 8/10 (I don’t remember the exact cost of these, but I think they were about $3 for 4 caramels.

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Chocolate Monday: David’s Tea “Just Peachy” tea-infused chocolate bar

David's Tea close upIt took my most of my adult life to start liking tea. My step-dad loved cheap old Lipton iced tea, so we always had it in the house. Try as I might, I couldn’t stand the smell of it, much less the taste.

I tried tea again in high school, this time at the insistence of one of my best friends. I was losing my voice and we had a big show choir concert coming up, so she made me hot tea with honey. I choked it down…and I am not exaggerating, it was a struggle to drink it. Plus, when one cup didn’t magically cure me, I stopped trying it and went back to lozenges and Chloraseptic.

In college one of my boyfriends was addicted to a Chinese buffet place. Although I have never been an enthusiastic eater of Chinese food,* he could eat it almost daily. So, we compromised on once every few weeks, which meant way more time than I would have liked in that buffet line. I did, however, like the sugar donuts. I also took another chance on tea because it was free and we were broke. This time it was green tea and I found that if I dumped enough sugar in it, I could actually stand the taste of it. Of course, enough sugar was usually three packets in that tiny little cup, so I pretty much voided any potential health benefits from it.

A few years later, during another bout with illness, a friend brought me some peppermint tea and again, with the help of my friend sugar, I could not only drink it, but actually like it. It became my new cold/sore throat aid.

It wasn’t until I went on my super big diet in my late 20’s (when I lost 50 lbs), that I actually learned to like tea. I had to give up all sugary drinks and even though I still hate coffee to this day, giving up drink calories meant basically giving up my spiced chai lattes. I had to find an alternative and it came in the form of tea. Of course, since I had cut out most of my sugar, I added a bit of Splenda instead, and viola! I liked tea.

I am now a bit of a tea fiend, usually going through at least two travel mug-sized servings a day. Which means I spend a lot of time in tea stores.

david's tea packageAnd it is this time spent in tea stores that brought me to my latest find: David’s Tea’s tea-infused chocolate bars.

I first stumbled into the store after a visit to their competitor Teavana. I had no idea the mall I was at had two tea stores, but I needed a Godiva fix and David’s Tea opened up a mere two shops down from my chocolate mecca. Since the new tea shop was on my way to Godiva and it was full of bright, eye-popping colors AND they were offering free tea samples, I had to stop in.

I’m glad I did, because I fell in LOVE with their teas. When I was paying for my first batch of tea, I couldn’t help but notice the equally brightly colored boxes of chocolate right next to the register. I didn’t grab one then. After all, I had to make sure I liked the tea first, but I definitely looked at all the flavors.

I’ve been eyeing these bars ever since. Finally, on a recent trip, I noticed this peachy chocolate on sale and I figured what the heck. I might as well try it. I happen to really love peach flavored tea. I’ve never really had any peach flavored chocolate before, but I also love peaches, so I thought it might be an undiscovered gem.

David's tea full barThe bar is pretty thick. It’s separated into five distinct segments, each with the name of the tea shop on it. It’s not particularly interesting to look at. The back has a few little “bumps” where I assume peach or tea bits are, but for the most part it is pretty smooth. The chocolate itself doesn’t smell very peachy.

At first I didn’t get much of a peach flavor either. It’s definitely got a creamy milk chocolate texture. Letting it slowly dissolve in my mouth gave me a vague hint of peach, but nothing too grabbing. With the next bite I decided to really just bite into it. When I did, got a burst of peach that tasted not so much like a fresh summer peach, but exactly like a mug of peach tea, which has been slightly sweetened (these days I sweeten with Stevia). That’s when I noticed the gritty texture of actual tea leaves in the chocolate. It was a bit unsettling at first. After all, it sort of remind me of chewing on a twig, but once I got over that, I enjoyed it.

Subsequent bites were not quite as infused with peach flavor. It seems the peach tea portions are spread out so that for the most part it was creamy chocolate with just the tiniest hint of peach and then BOOM! full peach tea flavor.

It was definitely a unique tasting experience and I’m glad I tried it. I really want to try their milk chocolate macaroon bar as their chocolate macaroon tea is one of my absolute favorites. If the bar really has the flavor of the tea the way this peachy one does, I’m guessing it’ll be quite good.


Taste: 7/10
Appearance: 5/10
Value: 8/10 (this bar was on sale for half price, so it was only $3, which is a good price for quality chocolate. At full value I’d give it a 6/10)

*I know I sound really picky here, but honestly, aside from Chinese food and lima beans, there’s not much I try to avoid. And I will eat Chinese food, it’s just never my go to and I always feel I could have eaten something tastier, like Thai food or Japanese food. I’ll also eat lima beans if they are in something…like soup. On their own those beans are dead to me.

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