Product Picks

Move Over, Pumpkin

A buffet of chai-spiced flavors to get you in the mood for fall


This time of year, the world goes mad for pumpkin. It’s everywhere you look, from your local coffee shops and bakeries, to every supermarket, gas station and drug store. (Pumpkin scented hand lotion, anyone?)

While some of us welcome the barrage, not everyone is so excited by edible orange-fleshed gourds. For those of you who like all those warm winter spices but can do without the side of cucurbit, here’s an idea. Avoid the pumpkin and opt for chai-infused things instead. You get all those lovely notes of cinnamon, ginger and clove, without even a hint of that orange puree. Here are five products that hit the chai nail on the head.

Dagoba Chocolate Chai Bar This milk chocolate bar (37% cacao for those of you who track such things) is infused with chai spices and has bits of crystallized ginger suspended throughout. Made in Oregon by a company committed to sustainable farming practices and fair trade, this chocolate treat will please even the most ethical eater.

Rishi Chocolate Chai Loose Leaf Tea Love the idea of combining those spicy chai flavor notes with chocolate, but don’t want all that sugar? Brew up a pot of Rishi’s Chocolate Chai Tea. It is well-balanced, with notes of vanilla, coconut and spicy heat from long pepper rounding out the primary flavors of chocolate, cardamom and black tea.

Oregon Chai Slightly Sweet Concentrate For many of us, Oregon Chai was our first introduction to this spicy tea drink. They’ve been making and selling it in ready-to-use cartons for years now and in the beginning, if you ordered a chai at a coffeeshop, chances were good that you were served Oregon Chai. They took the original formula and dialed back the sugar a little, so that the spices can sing more prominently than the sweet. It’s so good served warm with almond milk.

Emmy’s Chai Spice Raw Macaroons Like so many others, my sister recently learned that her body doesn’t handle gluten well. Though she’s an avid home cook, as a new mom, she doesn’t always have the time to make the treats she craves. Happily, there are plenty of companies making delicious, GF tidbits and one of her favorites is Emmy’s. They make a fragrant, hugely infused chai-spiced macaroon that is bursting with good-for-you ingredients like raw coconut, almond flour and agave nectar.

Vanilla Chai Soap from The Jane Soap Company For those of you who like the scent of chai more than the taste, this soap’s for you! Handmade in the Midwest by a nice woman named Linda, this soap contains no artificial dyes, colorants or fragrances. It gets its scent from real chai tea and Mexican vanilla and its softness from olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter. It’s just the thing to keep by the sink to help wash away any stinky kitchen tasks.

Marisa McClellan is a food blogger, freelance writer and canning teacher based in Center City Philadelphia. She runs a website called Food in Jars, where she writes about canning, preserving and delicious things made from scratch. She regularly writes for the Food Network, USA Today, Grid Philly and Mrs. Wages. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.


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