Tea Vodka? Tea ice cream? Tea chocolate? Almost every section of the supermarket has a tea product representing taking one’s tea “outside the cup.” This ubiquity doesn’t stop with food products. Body soap, lotions, and salves also boast, “including REAL green tea leaves.”
I love the taste of my cup of tea, from the grassy matcha to the astringent Darjeeling, my first thankful sip each day is a hug to greet the morning. The fact that it is good for me is a welcome bonus. Many – if not most – pleasurable habits include a lurking danger quotient. Not so for my beloved cups of tea! Brewed as directed, it is simply impossible for me to overdose on tea. Daily use is encouraged – and supported – by some 5,000 years of brewing history.
Americans love a panacea. We want to believe our snake oil salesmen when they promise we will “lose weight/grow hair/reverse aging . . .” with a pill. Forget dieting! Forget exercise! Forget fruits, vegetables, and water! Every few years, a new cure-all floods the market. Right now, green tea is reported to improve memory, aid weight loss, cure bad breath, strengthen your bones, reverse aging, and jazz up your love life.
We especially love it when one of our vices – like alcohol or sugar – is combined with a healthy ingredient. “But Mom,” the teenager pleaded, “this 72ounce soda has GREEN TEA! It isn’t, like, COLA!” Marketers are leading us to slaughter with the rope of our own ignorance.
When I saw that bar of dark chocolate, Chocolate Fusion, boasted 60% cacao AND green earl grey tea, I was already lost. My wallet leapt out of my purse on its own. Most of a five-dollar bill disappeared. In return, I had a beautiful package of 1.8 ounces of silky-smooth “Gourmet dark chocolate infused with a refined blend of bergamot & green tea.” Containing organic everything, from the chocolate and sugar to the tea and bergamot oil, I felt that my indulgence in a weak moment of temptation demonstrated good judgement.
Being a true student of science, I experimented: I wolfed down the first five little squares of tea-infused chocolate. It was impossible to taste the tea, so I decided to allow the next few squares to melt in my mouth. A little hint of bergamot came through, but the results were not definitive. More experimentation required, so I brewed a cup of my favorite Earl Grey (Earl of Grey from the Teaspot) and alternated sips of tea with nibbles of chocolate. Ah ha, this chocolate needs a companion Earl Grey to feel at home! A very faint back-of-the-palate suggestion of tea lingered on my senses.
By this time, half of the bar was gone (140 calories; 9g fat; 14g carbohydrates [10g sugar!] 2g dietary fiber, and 1g protein). My next experiment – if the other half of the Chocolate Fusion lasts through the afternoon – will be to serve the tea in a fancy teacup and eat the chocolate with dainty precision.
Find out more about the chocolate here.
Main image provided by contributor.