Review: American Tea Room Confections

American Tea Room, Tea Gifts, Tea Snacks Add comments
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a good tasting chocolate with subtle and pleasing flavors of apricot melded into it. I enjoyed it very much and can recommend it heartily."
Jamie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 6.8/10, Vanessa gave it 9/10, Chelsy gave it 9.4/10, Laura gave it 8.5/10, Katie gave it 8.5/10, Lynn gave it 10/10
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If there is ever a chance to try out something that combines two of my favorite things, namely tea and chocolate, I am thoroughly game. Tea has proved to be a valiant compadre to chocolate pairings in past experience, so it was with pleasure that I opened up Valerie Confection's Tangier Tea Bark. Valerie Confections in this case has paired up chocolate confectionary with American Tea Room's Tangier Tea offering. Tangier Tea, in case you haven't tried it, is a Sri Lankan black tea coupled with apricot and is currently a very popular offering at ATR.

It's always interesting to see how chocolate and tea are paired up. What I've become accustomed to are chocolate bars with the tea infused into the chocolate itself. These can be very successful and I've enjoyed some of them very much. However, this chocolate and tea pairing is a little different, and I found it pleasing (and with more gift giving flexibility than a traditional wrapped chocolate bar). Tea Bark is something like it sounds, appearance wise. The handmade pieces of chocolate are big, flat slabs of varying thicknesses, long like chocolate bars, but otherwise quite unlike them. The bark is brushed with what looks like ground Tangier Tea and tiny flecks of petal (or saffron?) from the tea blend and studded with sulfured apricot (one of the only things I didn't like...though I can see the aesthetic advantages of bright orange apricot over a dull brown orange, I prefer unsulfured myself). The effect is not too chi-chi and yet still appealing to the eye. The chocolate bark is packaged very simply in a cello bag tied with apricot ribbon.

Taste wise, the chocolate is enjoyable. The tea is subtle and will not overwhelm and is more noticeable when you first bite into the chocolate and feel the pleasant roughness of the tea on your tongue. The chocolate leaves a nice apricot-y taste in the mouth. Other taste sensations include mellow nuttiness that is definitely apricot-y in nature. This chocolate is neither too sweet nor very bitter, it falls somewhere in between (maybe around 55% cacao or a little less?) and seems a good match to the Tangier.

It would be hard to find an unhappy recipient for this good tasting chocolate. It will suit well if you are looking for a good pairing for a tea in a gift or just for fun (Tangier is obviously a good choice to try it with, but as an aside it would pair well with any fruit flavored tea; I enjoyed it very much alongside ATR's Romanov, which is an excellent smokey black tea coupled with blood orange). The presentation of this chocolate is not super high end, which makes it a nice alternative if you are looking for a non-romantic gift for friends, family or other associates. At the same time, unless you are in love with someone hard for me to imagine the psychological profile of, your lover wouldn't be offended with a treat like this.

Someone looking for very slick packaging (eg: a boxed presentation such as for Valentine's Day) or a really elegant looking chocolate may find that this doesn't suit all situations. I can't quite describe the appearance of the chocolate itself as rustic, but it's not a polished, sculpted chocolate. It's laid back. The tea flavoring won't bombard your senses; one shouldn't expect a massively apricot-y (read: artificial) taste from this chocolate. This is a good tasting chocolate with subtle and pleasing flavors of apricot melded into it. I enjoyed it very much and can recommend it heartily.

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