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Chocolate + Tea = Pure Bliss

all that jazzmine blue beauty oolong dark chocolate Earl Grey Genmaicha glenburn darjeeling JT's Kitchen milk chocolate second flush sencha suprabhat sweet ruby jane confections Sweet Sin white chocolate

Pairing Tea and Chocolate: A Simple Menu

by Naomi Rosen

Tea and Chocolate are two of my favorite food groups.  Not a day goes by that I don't partake of at least one, and usually both, before noon.  It's not the caffeine high that I love, although, that is an excellent byproduct.  And it's not the health benefits either.  While awesome and all, I am assuming the quantities I eat it in kind of nullify any health benefits.  The reason I love them so much is because they just work.  That simple. About a year ago I decided I wanted to put together a tea and chocolate pairing.  I considered my chocolate and tea habit to be "research" from there on out and after talking to Susan and Patty at Sweet Ruby Jane Confections here in Las Vegas, I knew it was time for the big show.   Since I know that not everyone can call Las Vegas home, below is our tasting menu and some guidelines so that you can host your own tasting party! Firstly, the menu:

For the at home DIYer that is putting together a pairing event, here are some tips I learned in the process that might prove helpful to you!
  1. You will notice there are no white teas listed.  I tried a number of chocolates with white teas and I am of the opinion that the chocolate dominated every tea I tried.  You are welcome to shoot me suggestions if there is a tea I should try.  I am always willing to eat chocolate and drink tea, admit when I am wrong.
  2. You might also notice that the only "flavored" tea in the group was the Sweet Sin (which in fact is a rooibos).  We paired it with a simple white chocolate.  We could easily have paired flavored teas with flavored chocolates, but where's the fun in that.  I am assuming a raspberry tea and a raspberry chocolate are going to taste just lovely together.  Our goal here was to have the tea and chocolate play off of one another and choosing orthodox teas was a simple way to appreciate the flavors.
  3. Have fun with it and be adventurous.  Not everything has to "go together".  Choose a few tea/chocolate combinations that are amazing because they are unexpected.  For example, the nutty, roasted flavors in the Blue Beauty Oolong went amazingly well with the Mac's Dark Chocolate Orange Meltaway.
  4. I chose the teas first and then we complimented with the chocolates.  You could likely choose the chocolates first as well, but I know way more about tea flavor profiles.  Go with your strongest asset.
  5. If you think it would make a nice cup of tea, chances are they will taste great together.  Example: We paired our Glenburn Second Flush Darjeeling with a Creamy Milk Chocolate.  I would normally add milk and sugar to my cup of Darjeeling.  Milk chocolate is milk and sugar, so naturally they are going to pair well together.
I know that many of you must think that my job is so difficult.  I mean coming up with tasty tea and chocolate combinations is grueling work. I'd love to hear about some of your favorite combos? Or epic fails! Care to share?

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