The Taste of Contrition

I have no excuse for myself. I normally shun flavored coffees and teas. You won’t find me ordering a tiramisu latte or chocolate banana black tea. Coffee Mate® creamer flavored like Girl Scout cookies? I’m not judging, but…thank you, no.

I grew up in San Francisco, mostly, and back before the mad coffee house movement put a coffee franchise on the corner of every block, we used to head to North Beach for Italian coffee. Sometimes, if I was feeling fancy, I’d get a shot of orgeat syrup in my latte. That was about as close as I’ve gotten to the whole flavor trend.

Caffé Trieste, North Beach, San Francisco

Caffé Trieste, North Beach, San Francisco

I still drink coffee, mostly black, mostly strong. But these days, my drink is mostly tea. Black tea, the kind you can stand a spoon in, i.e. black as black coffee, but tea.

So, I bought some gifts at The Chocolate Room when I was in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, and one of those was a small tin of tea from Harney & Sons.Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 12.47.40The label says Florence – Flavored Black Tea. And then the tin got lost on a bookshelf until this week, when I rediscovered it. It’s getting near its sell-by date, I don’t want to give anyone stale tea, so I thought I’d just drink it myself this week.

No big deal, I like black tea with floral notes, this stuff is just variation of black tea. I didn’t give it much thought.

And now I am in the uncomfortable position of having to eat my own words alongside every single heavenly cup of what turned out to be chocolate hazelnut flavored black tea.

Worse, I am already getting anxious at the thought of how to obtain more for myself once the tin is empty, which at my current rate of consumption won’t be more than another 48 hours.

What have I learned? First, that labeling matters – if this box had said chocolate hazelnut flavored tea on the outside, I would never have tried it. Second, that I need to expand my horizons, at least when it comes to tea. I don’t see Girl Scout cookie coffee in my future, but I might be open to trying more adventurous tea products.

Third, and perhaps most important, never get addicted to something of which you cannot easily get more.

Stick to the tried and true

imagesWhen I was a little girl, the grandmother of a neighborhood playmate became dismayed when I turned down her offer of boiled spinach with the words, “No, thank you, ma’am”. “A proper and polite refusal always begins with ‘thank you’, followed by ‘no’,” she instructed. I had to eat the spinach anyway because she was that kind of granny.

I remember a couple of years ago, I bought whisky-filled chocolates as a gift for my husband. So I went in search of those chocolates recently, thinking I’d give him a non-birthday, non-holiday surprise. Godiva used to sell whisky-filled chocolates, but not only did they discontinue those products in their Geneva store (the city closest to us), they also discontinued the Geneva store itself. Too bad, but there are plenty of other chocolate makers and suppliers in Geneva.

So far, however, I’ve come up almost empty-handed. There are truffles with whisky, but that’s not the object of my desire. I am looking for dark chocolate bars or cubes, each with a pocket of whisky inside.There must be some sort of bottleneck in the whisky-for-chocolate supply chain, because the whisky version of various chocolate manufacturers is the only version not in current alcohol-filled chocolate lines. If I wanted cognac, eau-de-vie, schnapps, absinthe, vodka or even Red Bull (not alcohol, I know, but I saw it on a shelf yesterday), I’d be dazzled by my options.

As it was, I bought the Jack Daniels bar shown here. And I am very sorry to report that it did not get very positive reviews. The chocolate was a bit bland, the whisk(e)y raw and runny, the texture a bit waxy.

For the time being, we’ll be sticking to the tried and true method of eating a piece of excellent chocolate alongside a glass of excellent whisky.

As for the rest of the Jack Daniels chocolate bar: Thank you, no.