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Tea Chocolate
Charles Chocolates’ tea chocolate collection. All photography courtesy Charles Chocolates.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

PETER ROT is the THE NIBBLE’s chocolate specialist.


 

April 2007
Last Updated July 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Chocolate

Charles Chocolates Tea Chocolate Collection

Page 2: Tea Chocolate, Chocolate Bars, Orange Twigs

 

This is Page 2 of a three-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

 

Tea Chocolate Collection

Created with input from Teance, a fine tea shop in nearby Berkeley, this collection introduces tea chocolates that go beyond the oft-found Earl Grey—in fact, there’s no Earl Grey in the box. Instead, you’ll discover the subtle flavors of Baochong, Charcoal-Fired Oolong, Jasmine, Lichee and Osmanthus teas. The ganaches are firm and smooth, almost silky. While the tea flavors are just a little too subtle for our liking (especially the Oolong piece), they chocolate ganache is lovely. Conceptually, they would make a nice gift for a tea-lover who enjoys a good box of chocolate (the pieces in the edible chocolate box make a particularly stunning gift).

 

Tea Chocolate
Tea-infused chocolate ganaches.

The most interesting piece is Osmanthus, a flower blended into the tea in the same fashion as jasmine. It has a distinct flavor, more hearty than delicate jasmine, and offers the same kind of freshness and strength that the Mint bonbon did. The Jasmine tea bonbon was the second favorite (we love the combination of jasmine and chocolate); the others are currently fighting for rank because the tea notes were just too difficult to notice. This could be because we’ve never had these unusual teas and don’t know what to look for, or possibly because a stronger infusion is needed. It may also be the general state of tea chocolates: When we researched our article on green tea chocolates, we found a similar lightness of infusion. It was difficult to taste the green tea, although the chocolates themselves were tasty.

 

Edible Chocolate Boxes

For those who are environmentally-conscious and who don’t like to throw away packaging—or heck, for those who just want to eat more chocolate—Charles Chocolates packages a variety of chocolates in edible chocolate boxes. The concept: After you’re done eating all the chocolates inside, there’s still much more to enjoy! The chocolate boxes are made with a variety of lovely decorations on their white chocolate lids (the box bottoms are dark or milk chocolate), and are filled with the regular chocolate collection, the Tea Collection, the Heart Collection, Fleur de Sel Caramels or Orange and Lemon Marzipan.

 

Fleur de Sel Caramels
The Edible Chocolate Box is two gifts in one.

 

Chocolate Bars

For those who prefer bars to bonbons (or just love to have the excuse of an “antioxidant” chocolate bar), Charles offers bars in five flavors. Four have a base of 65% cacao dark chocolate (Caramelized Crisped Rice, Ginger, Hazelnuts & Candied Orange Peel and Mocha Java), while the other bar is a 41% milk Caramelized Crisp Rice. The chocolate in each bar is very subtle in intensity but also unctuously smooth and creamy, offering a stark contrast to the large and chunky inclusions (the professional term for the mix-ins).

 

Hazelnut Bar
Gourmet chocolate bars.

As with the bonbons, these bars aren’t for palates who seek a freight train of flavor intensity. They’ll better suit tastes that favor something more soft-spoken—and there’s a world of people out there looking for just this kind of bar. These are great for snacking, not contemplating. We can testify: We ate them two at a time! Coffee lovers will especially enjoy the Mocha Java bar: The chopped coffee beans add a resounding CRUNCH! and caffeine surge to each bite.

Orange Twigs

Not to be confused with French chocolate twigs—delicate branches of chocolate that are used to decorate fine desserts—these twigs look more like pretzel nuggets. Neither the name nor the appearance could hope to convey the deliciousness of this product: tiny truffles rolled in confectioners’ sugar that should be renamed Wonderful Nuggets of Joy. The aroma alone is an exciting chocolate experience: We buried our noses in the tube over and over to inhale the fragrances of orange and butter, laced with chocolate.

 

Orange Chocolate Twigs
Orange-flavored chocolate twigs are one of our favorite items.

Don’t let your nose idle too long while your palate waits in anticipation; and as tempting as it may be, don’t chew these “twigs” but savor each bite. Slowly let the chocolate melt on your tongue so you can detect all the intricacies of flavor in each piece, the fresh mildness of the butter in contrast to the stronger orange.

 

Continue To Page 3: Chocolate-Covered Nuts

Go To The Article Index Above

 

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