Product Review: Chai Caramels from Big Picture Farm

big-picture-chaiProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Treatsie

Product Description:  

Big Picture Farm’s goat milk chai caramel won the gold medal in the prestigious 2013 Good Food Awards. The team at Big Picture makes this exquisite caramel with organic chai supplied by their friend Neil Harley of Chai Wallah.

Learn more about Treatsie’s Subscription Box here.

Product Review:

As you may be aware, I previously reviewed another product that I recently purchased from Treatsie.  I bought these caramels at the same time, because … hello, Chai Caramels?  Yeah!  I gotta try ’em!

I’ve previously tried (and reviewed on my now inactive foodie blog) the goat’s milk caramels from Big Picture Farms, and I really enjoyed those.  Goat’s milk caramels do taste a little different than caramels made with products other than goat’s milk, and it’s a taste that isn’t to everyone’s liking.  I personally like the flavor, because goat’s milk has a certain “tangy” quality to it and I like that contrast to the sugary sweetness of the caramel.

And these caramels are not only made with goat’s milk, but also organic chai tea supplied by Chai Wallah, another product that I’ve previously reviewed!  I was happy to see that Chai Wallah was the supplier of the chai for these confections, because this company makes a very memorable chai.  I’ve tasted a lot of chai in the past, and Chai Wallah makes some of the very best that I’ve tried.

So, I was confident that I’d enjoy these treats from Treatsie!  The caramel is super-fresh, I can feel the freshness as I unwrap the candy:  it feels soft and gooey, and there isn’t even a trace of hardness on the exterior of the candy.  It’s soft and pliable.  When I bite into it, it seems to melt in my mouth (and of course, stick to my teeth a bit – hey, it’s caramel, it’s supposed to do that!)

The first notes I experience are the caramel notes, you know, that “burnt sugar” taste that’s sort of … incredible and delicious?  Then I pick up the tangy notes of the goat’s milk.  Then I start to taste the notes of chai.  The spices hit the palate as I’m chewing on the confection, and they linger in the aftertaste.  Now that I’ve finished the bite of chewy, delicious, caramel-y goodness, I can still taste notes of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and pepper.  Mmm!  So good!

Yeah … you gotta try these!  If you’re a fan of chai, you’ll love them.  If you’ve got a sweet t00th, you’ll want more than just the 10-piece pack!  (Trust me on that.)  If you just want to try something that’s a little different than your average caramel … get some of these!

Product Review: Tea Assortment of Hard Candy from Raley’s Confectionary

raleys-teaProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Treatsie

Product Description:  

Tea-flavored hard candy.  Flavors include Lemongrass Green Tea, Chai Latte, Arnold Palmer and Mango Black Tea.

Learn more about Treatsie’s Subscription Box here.

Product Review:

I know I’ve confessed it before, but, I’ll confess it again:  I have a sweet tooth.  And I find myself particularly attracted to sweets that are tea inspired, like these yummy hard candies from Raley’s Confectionary.  While recently perusing the Treatsie website, I came across this tea flavored hard candy assortment, and you know I couldn’t resist!

I recently discovered Treatsie, and they’re a subscription box (similar to the box that I get every month from Simple Loose Leaf), so every month, I will get a box full of yummy treats.  (And chocolate.  Did I mention chocolate?)  You can also shop for the products individually and there are some really interesting curated boxes that you can buy at Treatsie too.  I bought these tea flavored hard candies separately, because as I said before, I couldn’t resist when I saw the words “Tea Flavored Hard Candy.”  Um … yes please!

My separately purchased products (not the Treatsie subscription box) arrived this afternoon, and I’m really pleased!  It was packaged beautifully, and I even got a “thank you” treat tucked inside – another package of Raley’s Confectionary’s hard candies – these little “thank you” candies actually say thank you right on them, and they’re pomegranate flavored!  Yum!

These tea flavored candies are really tasty.  The Mango Black Tea candy has a very distinct mango note and I can taste a softer black tea note in there too.  The Lemongrass Green Tea has a lemon-lime-ish sort of flavor to it, with a background of a sweet, grassy green tea note.  The Arnold Palmer tastes more of lemonade than it does of tea, but every once in a while I taste a slight tea-ish flavor.  I like the tangy note of the Arnold Palmer, though, it seems to balance out the other sweeter tasting flavors of the package.

And then there is my favorite of the four:  Chai Latte!  I think I’d be happy to have a whole package of just the chai latte.  They have a gentle spice to them (these aren’t strong in spice!  They’re more sweet than spicy!) and I can taste the black tea as well as a creamy note to them – they’re like a sweet little chai latte!

I love that the flavors that are promised are the flavors that are delivered.  Sure, they’re sweeter than what you’d experience if you were actually drinking a cup of chai latte or a mango flavored black tea – but they ARE candies, after all!  They’re supposed to be sweet.  What I love is that these are not just something that satisfies the sweet tooth in me, but also the tea lover in me too.

So, now I’ve found this sinful company that will send me sweet-tooth indulgences once a month … how do I say no to that?

Sugar Plum Shou Mei White Tea Blend from 52Teas

Sugar-Plum-52teas-Web-204x512Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

This year’s Christmas week blend is inspired by goodies the vision of which supposedly danced in sleeping children’s heads before they had My Little Ponies to dream about. So here’s my attempt at a sugar plum shou mei complete with some lavender flowers. I sure hope you enjoy it.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I was thrilled when I saw what tea 52Teas created for the week of this past Christmas:  a Sugar Plum Shou Mei White Tea Blend! I love sugar plums!  That it to say, I love the Jelly Belly type of sugar plum that’s a jelly sort of candy.  I haven’t tried a real sugar plum.  I don’t think I’m really entirely sure of what a real sugar plum actually is.

Which I guess opens things up for 52Teas to be very creative with this blend, right?

It took a few sips before I started to really recognize the “plum” notes in this tea.  I could taste the white tea in those first few sips:  sweet, light hay-ish notes, and a crisp, melon-ish like quality is what I could taste.

After the first few sips, I started to notice some plum-like qualities.  Sweet and juicy!  Then I noticed hints of lavender starting to emerge.  But the aroma of the lavender here is stronger than the lavender’s contribution to the flavor profile of this tea.  I can smell the lavender as I sit here, enjoying the scent of the tea wafting out of the cup but the flavor is much softer, like a whisper of lavender, a hint of lavender that caught a ride on the airy notes of the white tea.

This is pretty tasty.  It’s not quite as strongly flavored as I anticipated it being based upon my experiences with 52Teas.  But it does have the flavors I’d expect from a “sugar plum” flavored tea:  I taste the tea, and I taste notes of sweet plum.  I don’t know if this tea excites me enough to start filling my head with dancing visions, but it’s a tasty cuppa.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Rooibos Vanilla Virgin Chocolate Bar from Raaka Chocolate

chocolateAbout This Product:

Raaka Virgin Chocolate bars, hand made in Brooklyn, New York. The Vanilla Rooibos bar combines unroasted cocoa beans with vanilla rooibos tea, stone ground to perfection in small batches. Tasting notes: Cherry and toasted marshmallow.

To Learn more about Raaka Chocolate, click here.

To Subscribe to Knoshbox, click here.

Taster’s Review:

I received this chocolate bar in my April Knoshbox (yes, it has been a while, I tend to horde my gourmet chocolates for times when I really need chocolate.  Like now!) and because this Virgin Chocolate Bar from Raaka Chocolate is also made with vanilla rooibos, I thought that I’d offer a product review on this confection right here on SororiTea Sisters, rather than my foodie blog.

The first thing I noticed about this is the packaging … I love the zentangle-ish wrapper!  Very cool!  The chocolate itself is a dark chocolate and it has a crisp “snap” to it when I break the bar.

Now, I’ve got to say that I’m not as fond of raw chocolate as I am of the “roasted” chocolate.  The roasting of the cacao beans seems to add a depth to the chocolate that I just don’t experience in the raw chocolate.  But that’s not to say I dislike the raw chocolate, I just prefer it to be made from roasted cacao.  Here the chocolate is dark (67%) and it has a bold, rich flavor that is both bitter and sweet.

I can taste the rooibos, and the rooibos offers a slightly fruity tone to the chocolate.  The tasting notes on the Raaka website suggest a “cherry” flavor, and I don’t know if I’m getting cherry, exactly.  I definitely taste the vanilla, and it enhances the overall “creaminess” to the bar, which I really like.  I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but, there is something to that creaminess of a milk chocolate bar that I do enjoy, and the vanilla notes here add that element without the milk.

When I allow the chocolate to melt over my palate, I notice more of the aforementioned cherry notes, as well as the toasted marshmallow notes as described on the website, so, I highly recommend savoring this bar like this:  breaking the bar into small, bite-size bits, and then putting the small piece on your tongue and allowing the warmth of your mouth to soften the chocolate.  That’s when you’ll really enjoy the fullness of flavor from this chocolate bar.

Overall, a really delightful chocolate experience.  Then again, when is chocolate NOT a delightful experience?  If you’re looking for a good raw chocolate bar … I think that this one from Raaka is my favorite of the raw chocolate bars that I’ve tasted thus far.

Almond Happiness from 52Teas

Photo from Wikipedia

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Ingredients:  Premium black teas, almond slivers, organic cacao nibs, coconut, natural flavors.

This tea is part of 52Teas’ Box of Chocolates Sampler.

Taster’s Review:

This is the fifth “new-to-me” tea from 52Teas’ Box of Chocolates Sampler, and I think that this is the one I was the one that elicited the most excitement from me when I first opened the box.  I think I actually squealed when I saw the tea through the lid of the tin, and then turned the tin over to read the name.

When it comes to chocolate, I generally have pretty expensive taste, but, in a pinch, I’ll settle for a readily available candy bar and this tea is created with one of my favorites in mind (I don’t really need to tell you the name of that candy bar, do I?)  So, needless to say, I had high expectations when I brewed this tea.

The aroma wafting from my tea cup at the moment is absolutely delicious.  I can smell the sweet almond.  YUM!  I do wish there was a bit more coconut both in the fragrance and in the flavor.  That’s not to say that it isn’t a noticeable flavor, because it is, but in the candy bar, the coconut is the strongest flavor, and that isn’t the case with this tea.  Here, the almond dominates, followed by the chocolate and then the coconut.

So while I am enjoying this cup (immensely, I might add!), I do think it could be improved with a little more coconut flavor … and perhaps just a touch of vanilla to amplify the creaminess factor.  Because while that candy bar may be for those who feel like a nut… its that creamy coconut that most of us really crave.

I also believe that by increasing the coconut flavor, it would help soften the black tea base here, which isn’t bitter but it is quite astringent, and I think that this takes away from the “joy” just a little bit.

Overall, it is still a VERY good tea, but, I think it could still use a little tweaking to make it even better.