The chocolate and tea makers of the world have heard my cries. Where before I asked for more rose products, now I am finding them often. Rose coffee. Rose tea. Rose chocolate. And rose tea chocolate, as in today's Lover's Leap Bar from Ritual Chocolate. This is a limited edition flavor, a 70% dark chocolate made with Lover's Leap black tea from Smith Teamaker. Along with the black tea, the blend also includes rose petals, chamomile petals, black currant natural flavor, and bergamot oil. That just sounds like my own personal tea blend right there.
The pink flavor label contrasts nicely with the black card box for that classy, feminine color combination. The box unfolds in the usual, unique way that Ritual Chocolate has, with the little fold tab on top and the two wings on the sides. Beneath the brown paper wrapper is also the same geometric-yet-also-frilly design to match the outside. I sniffed the chocolate curiously but found only semisweet chocolate aroma with perhaps a faint orange/citrus/bergamot or maybe even rose note.
After taking a second to get settled in, the chocolate released a definite rose flavor--though the flavor was accompanied by a distracting, slightly dusty texture. The rose is strong enough to be noticeable but not too strong as to overpower. The bergamot I'll call more of an accompaniment; it isn't necessarily noticeable on its own, but its lack would be. Mainly what the bergamot seems to do is to simultaneously help make the rose stand out and to keep the rose from being cloying. It adds gentleness while also sharpening the flavor. Somehow the two elements put together are reminiscent of the jellied side of things, whether rose jelly and marmalade or rose and orange candies dipped in chocolate. Perhaps it's partly due to that connotation of chocolate-dipped Turkish delight or candied orange peel.
I admit that I literally forgot about the black tea until my first bite had just melted. Which means that I don't notice the tea at all--unless it is the one responsible for that distracting texture element. But I don't believe that's the case: the chocolate doesn't seem to have any tea leaves or any other ingredients within it. This seems to be more of a case in which the tea was infused into the chocolate, rather than simply sprinkled on top or mixed in. The black tea, flavor-wise, may be lurking within the darker side of the chocolate. There is a certain edge to the chocolate that might well be enhanced by the tea.
By my second bite, I was getting more of a sense of bergamot along with the rose and also more of a general floral feeling, like walking through a garden. There is a pleasant, lingering rose aftertaste. The dark chocolate makes for the perfect base, a neutral canvas to steady out and balance the girly flavors and keep it all from being sweet. Rose tends to be assembled as a sweeter flavor; this approach, while feeling completely natural, is also a little more unique. It's a perfect blending of soft and bold flavor. My greediness asks for more like this, please. More rose, please. Rose coffee and rose tea and rose chocolate and rose tea chocolate. More, please.
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