Perfect for Valentine’s Eve: An Evening with Eros from Banff Tea Co.

Just like a good Valentine’s date, An Evening with Eros tea blend comes bearing roses and chocolate.

There’s enough of both ingredients that you can see chocolate chips and petals scattered throughout the dry leaf. The namesake of this blend is Eros, the Greek god of love, and since this is a decaf rooibos blend, it’s the perfect brew for a late night out or a cozy evening in.
The vanilla rooibos is the star player in this blend, coupled with gentle swirls of chocolate and flowers. Raisins and elderberries bring additional sweetness and play well with the natural woody and caramel notes of the rooibos.

This blend is easy and drinkable, though not the most unusual blend I’ve tried. I think this tea is best for its novelty for a romantic occasion.

With Valentine’s Day on my mind, I find myself reaching for An Evening with Eros to help treat myself to something festive and to keep me warm on a February night.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:Roobios
Where to Buy: Banff Tea Co.

Blended exclusively for Valentine’s Day as a romantic treat, this rooibos based concoction will add a little love at any time of the year (or day…or night!)

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bake a Valentine’s Cake to Go With Your Tea

Valentine’s Day.  A time for everything pink and rosy.  Strawberries and chocolate galore. If you are looking to recreate that sweet, romantic, dessert feeling I would recommend brewing up a cup of Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Shuswap Infusions. This black and oolong blend has dark chocolate and strawberry notes, and it even has flower petals in the dry leaf.

Whether you’re celebrating yourself or being cute with a sweetheart, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate.  So I recommend making an old family recipe (that we clearly just took from the King Arthur Flour cookbook) for a super-easy, super-tasty, one-pan vegan mocha cake.  Trust me, even those of you who are baking-impaired can make this one.  We call it the Stir-Crazy Cake.

For best results, mix the ingredients in the pan from which you will serve the cake.  This won’t be a problem if you use a cute heart-shaped pie dish or cake pan for the occasion.

Mix directly in your pan:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk or fork.

Make three wells (three divots or holes) in the dry ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the wells, only one ingredient into each well:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Pour 1 cup cold coffee over all ingredients.  If you don’t want a mocha cake, just use cold water instead.  [For those kitchen-oriented mad scientists out there, maybe adding a cold cup of your favorite dessert or strawberry tea could be a nice substitute as well.  I haven’t experimented myself, but now I’m  curious to try it… ]

Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.  Really make sure you mix the cake (hence the “Stir-Crazy” name).  Get all the dry ingredients mixed in from the bottom and edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, without any crumbs.

Serve straight from the pan to your plate.  If you’re getting overloaded from chocolate, brew up something sweet and fruity to go with the cake, maybe a classic like Raspberry Zinger from Celestial Seasonings to help balance out the dark chocolate decadence.
Happy baking!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Oolong
Where to Buy: Shuswap Infusions

Just in time for Valentines Day! The name of this tea is just as delicious as it sounds. For a real treat, serve it as a latte garnished with shaved chocolate

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Raspberry Honeybush from 52Teas

Photo from Chef Eddy Van Damme's website. Click on the photo to check it out!

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

Ingredients:  Honeybush, organic cacao nibs, freeze-dried raspberries, natural flavors.

This tisane is part of the Box of Chocolates sampler.

Taster’s Review:

I have really been enjoying the chocolate teas and tisanes that came in my Box of Chocolate samplers.  This is the third of six new-to-me chocolate teas in the box, and the only naturally caffeine-free selection.

When served piping hot, I find that the flavors of this are a little muddled, but when allowed to cool slightly (to a drinkable temperature, but it’s still hot), the flavors begin to pop.  So, if with your first sip or two, you find that you’re not tasting much chocolate or raspberry flavor, give it a few minutes to cool down, and I think you’ll find the flavor begins to come alive.

What I’m discovering with this cup is that the flavors seem to weave their way in and out … with one sip, I notice a stronger raspberry flavor, and the next sip, the chocolate is more pronounced.  The raspberry tastes sweet and juicy, with a berry tartness that emerges in the aftertaste.  The chocolate has that deep, rich cacao kind of flavor.

The honeybush is nutty and sweet, and as I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, the flavor of the honeybush is strongest with those first couple of “hot” sips, and as I make my way toward mid-cup, the flavors become more balanced.  This one gets a thumbs up from me!

Cherry Cordial Black Tea from 52Teas

Photo from Wikipedia

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Information:

Ingredients:  Premium black teas, organic cacao nibs, freeze-dried cherries, natural flavors.

This tea is available as part of the Box of Chocolates sampler.

Taster’s Review:

There was a time when chocolate covered cherries were my favorite confection.  I used to actually crave them!  It’s been a while since that time, and I’ve discovered new favorites.  However, as I sip this tea, I find myself with that old craving!

This tea tastes very reminiscent of a really good cherry cordial.  I can taste hints of the sweet liqueur center – creamy and just a little sweet, with just a hint of brandy.  The chocolate tastes exquisitely rich:  dark, delicious chocolate!  YUM!

The cherry tastes sweet and just a little tangy.  As I continue to sip, I notice the tartness of the cherry develops a bit, but it doesn’t really become sour.  I like the way the cherry flavor develops here, because with the typical chocolate covered cherry, the flavor becomes too cloying before the flavors of the cherry have much chance to develop.

This is like a chocolate covered cherry – reinvented!

And what makes this even better than the confection is the black tea!  The black tea base works really well with this blend, it tastes bold and even a little malty, and I’m not getting much bitterness from the cup.  It is a very well-rounded cup of tea.

Even though I’ve only tried two of the six new teas in the Box of Chocolates sampler, this one is my favorite of the two I’ve tried.  It’s not only reignited my love for cherry cordials, but, refined it … I don’t think I could settle for an ordinary cherry cordial after trying this amazing tea!

White Chocolate Strawberry from 52Teas

Photo from Schurra's Fine Confections ... Click on the photo to visit their website!

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description: 

Ingredients:  Premium black teas, freeze-dried strawberries, natural flavors.

Taster’s Review:

This is one of the new teas that came in the Box of Chocolate Teas from 52Teas, and at the time of this writing, that is the only way this tea is available.

I didn’t actually choose this tea to drink first, it … sort of chose me!  You see, I was happily, but rather haphazardly, removing the tins of tea out of the box, and they were very snugly tucked inside.  In my haste, the lid of this tin opened and a small amount (just a few leaves) scattered out of the tin.  So, I decided that this meant that I was to brew this tea right away!

And, I’m really glad I did!  The flavor is delightful.  The strawberry flavor is dominate, it tastes sweet and just a little tart.  That tartness sort of lingers on the tip of the tongue well after the sip.

The white chocolate flavor is a more subtle flavor, and I find that it reveals itself more after the tea has had a short time to cool.  Not cold or even lukewarm, but not piping hot, either.  Just allow it a few minutes to cool after it’s been poured into the cup, and the white chocolate flavor emerges.  It is creamy and sweet, and compliments the strawberry flavor very well, and even softens the aforementioned tart notes just a little as it starts to come out a little more.

The black tea base is strong, smooth and deliciously suited for these flavors.  It supports the bright flavor of the strawberry and the soft, silky flavor of the white chocolate without overwhelming them.

I quite enjoyed this cup … I’m so glad this tea chose to have me brew it first!