Not only is today a February Tuesday, but it is also Valentine’s Day today, and in honor of the occassion, I have an extra tasty dessert tea for review… Chocolate Strawberry Black Tea!
Last year during my yearly trip to Anime Oasis, an anime convention in Idaho’s capital (a mere two hour trip away), I discovered there is a tea shop right outside the hotel where the convention is held, and my bestie Todd and I have just been walking right past it for all these years while attending the convention! Needless to say, last year we gave it a lot of business, and we plan to do so again this coming May. It is called Snake River Tea, and they even have an online shop!
I happened to pick up this particular tea last August, however, when I went up to visit my sister who lives in the area (the night before we saw the legendary Drag Queen Latrice Royale perform, and for anyone who has read my short story Resolutions Resolved, this was a huge deal for me, because I learned to love myself and get over my body image issues from this “chunky yet funky” Queen). The next morning we went downtown, had a fantastic breakfast, and then went and enjoyed a Blooming Tea at Snake River Tea while coloring! (That is my kind of morning!) Snake River Tea always has three sampler pots of different teas available every day, and that day the Chocolate Strawberry Black Tea was one of their free samples; I fell in love and knew I had to buy some before leaving!
I no longer have the original packaging; it came in sort of a cardboard sleeve I was having trouble scooping from, so I transferred the tea into a ziplock bag some time ago. Therefore, I no longer know the exact size, price, or ingredients of the blend anymore. But hey, if it keeps, it still steeps, I always say!
Looking at their website, they no longer offer this particular tea, so I’m not sure if they simply discontinued it, or if it was a summer seasonal tea; the closest they have at the moment is their Dark Chocolate Raspberry blend (which I do have to say sounds pretty tasty and like a decent substitute). That blend is $6.00 per oz.
What I can say for certain is there are semi-sweet dark chocolate chips in this tea blend, and wanting to know what the little white flecks were, I tasted one of those… white chocolate! So you get two types of chocolate in this tea! (But that also means this particular tea blend is not Vegan-friendly). As you can see, there are no dried strawberries in the tea, but it does taste of strawberries, so they have flavored the tea somehow. The scent when you open the bag smells just like chocolate-covered strawberries!
I steep a full tablespoon of this with 212 degree F boiling water for a little longer than five minutes (just to really let that chocolate melt!) and you get a lovely cup of black tea that smells like a decadent plate of chocolate-covered strawberries:
But does it taste like chocolate-covered strawberries? Unlike the Salted Caramel Black Tea from Bigelow featured last week, this tea isn’t overpoweringly sweet; I can still taste that it is, in fact, a black tea. And I’m not a huge fan of black teas. But that flavoring is simply divine! It really does have this very distinct chocolately-strawberry note to it with every sip, and that makes it sweet enough for someone like me, who normally finds black teas a bit too harsh, to fully enjoy it.
The tea is… okay on a resteep, but the flavor loss is pretty noticeable. It is still much sweeter than a typical black tea and has some of those lovely strawberry notes, but since the chocolate gets melted out on that first steep, a second or third steep just doesn’t feel quite the same. And if you are one of those black tea drinkers that likes your black tea really rich or dark, you’d probably enjoy the resteeps even less. I am quite curious to try adding a bit of chocolate milk, soy milk, or almond milk on those extra steeps to see if that brings some of the magic back… next time I make a cup I’ll report back on that!
This is the kind of tea that I think is best enjoyed with an accompanying snack, and this is my favorite!
Why yes, I go for the simple “stab and dunk” method. Much easier than actually preparing chocolate-dipped strawberries… and besides, Nutella.
Last week I spoke a bit on the importance of friendship to my identity as an aromantic asexual, and I feel like going into that a bit further. As the big V-Day has approached, I have continually heard, over and over, so many people lamenting about “being single,” and about “Singlehood Awareness Day,” etc. etc. To an aromantic Ace like myself, who doesn’t experience sexual or romantic attraction, these complaints just feel so petty… why does everyone need to put such an emphasis on romantic partnership? I can understand, for a sexual or romantic person, wanting a relationship, sure, but the way they put down the state of singlehood as if it is some disease feels degrading, in a way, to my entire orientation, who have many people who simply don’t experience these kind of attractions and ergo, are quite happy being single. Not to mention there are plenty of people who do experience sexual or romantic attraction and chose, for their own reasons, to be in a state of singlehood, and are happy and content people as well. In fact, in one of my favorite friendly hangouts, DaRabidDuckie’s Twitch stream, a place where I consider both streamer and the chat community good friends (if you enjoy watching horror video games, I suggest you check him out!), someone pointed out that part of the problem is that our society simply places too great of an emphasis on being in a romantic relationship, and that is what contributes to this mass self-pitying around Valentine’s Day. And that makes a lot of sense.
…You know what I say? It needs to stop being about one particular ideal of a specific relationship — romantic partnership — and start being about love. Because love is a beautiful thing that we can all celebrate. How about that? Because you know what? I’m an aromantic asexual. I’m never going to have a romantic partnership. And I celebrate Valentine’s Day. I choose to embrace the love in my life… and I love the friendships that enter my life and make me feel full and fulfilled!
Last Valentine’s Day I actually spent the day with my best friend, Todd. He’s appeared in my short stories Blogaversary: Year One and The Thanksgiving Weekend Rescue Mission (alongside my other close friend, Cody, a local friend I can always count on!) I met Todd online during one of the worst years of my life, and I can say that, even though that depression was terrible, and I never wish to relive it again, I would not roll back time and take it back, because I’m not exactly sure if I would have met him if I wouldn’t have gone through that terrible time. They say there is a beam of light even in the worst darkness, and for me, that was Todd.
He lives in California, and I live in Idaho, so there is some distance between us. Distance doesn’t matter much when you have a lot in common and can communicate so easily through the Internet. I believe we met around 2003 or 2004, and started meeting up with each other a few times a year to go to anime (Japanese animation) and science fiction conventions together — typically I’d go to a convention in California, and he’d go to the convention up here in Boise. Eventually these vacations turned into other destinations over the years, such as Disneyland, San Diego, and this coming March for my birthday we are going to Portland. Last year over Valentine’s Day weekend in Los Angeles was Gallifrey One, a very large Doctor Who convention. We’d been a few years in the past, but getting tickets can be very difficult. Honestly, I was shocked he managed to get tickets for 2016.
Some of the typical shenanigans at Gallifrey One are getting to see awesome cosplay, enjoying fun panels, viewing rooms, and guests, and of course, room parties!
Todd and I enjoy the company of a home-made Dalek…
The convention has a snazzy TARDIS that guests use to enter and leave the main stage…
Here are a few of the guests from 2012, including Caitlin Blackwood, the actress of little Amelia Pond, and Camille Coduri, actress of Jackie Tyler. I actually got to sit back on the shuttle bus to the airport right next to Camille Coduri! I asked her how she liked her trip to the United States and she said everyone was just lovely, and I remarked she must be exhausted, and she admitted that she was, hahaha!
2016 was notable because one of their guests was John Hurt, who played the War Doctor; he was such a gentleman. It is really hard to believe that in just under a year he is now gone. You could really tell that he had a real love and respect for his craft of acting, and an even deeper respect for his fans.
That Sunday Todd and I “crossed the streams” if you will, and left the Doctor Who convention to go to Disneyland, because they were having their limited “Season of the Force” in Tomorrowland in celebration of The Force Awakens, and since I don’t get down there often, I didn’t want to miss out! That Sunday was February 14th, 2016, Valentine’s Day, and we had a grand ol’ time in the Magic Kingdom!
Of course, we had to ride Hyperspace Mountain more than once, as Space Mountain got a fun facelift with John Williams music and tie fighter battles! It was very hard to get passes and we felt pretty lucky that we got to the park early and nabbed two fast passes!
…Though Todd kinda got photobombed by that really tall guy in the seat in front of us, hahahaha!
We also managed to get one walk-on to the Star Tours ride as we were so early, and grabbed a fast-pass to ride it a second time as well. After that when the park started to get conjested we spent the day enjoying each other’s company in the rest of the park, hitting up all the rest of the rides. Our favorite place in Disneyland? You may laugh, but we love the Enchanted Tiki Room! We are huge fans of the Dole Whip, and love eating it while resting our feet in an air-conditioned room for 20 minutes while racially insensitive parrots from the 50s sing goofy songs.
…Is this Valentine’s Day outing honestly any different from how a “traditional” couple might spend it? I’d like to believe that no… it isn’t. At all. It’s all about enjoying the people you love… and love comes in many different forms. Who says that love has to be romantic, that it has to be candlelit dinners and rose-petals on a bed leading to kissing and cuddling and sexual intimacy? Everyone should get to define the love in their life… and everyone should get to celebrate love! So don’t put up your hands and say, “I’m single, this isn’t a day for me!” Make it a day for you!