Buy This: 3 deep, rich flavors to spice up your fall - and not a pumpkin in the bunch

We’ve got three treats made with dates, chocolate and spices to warm up your fall days.

Dates have always been a fall favorite for me. The dark rich flavor just says “Let’s get ready for cooler weather.” Being a caramel fan, and having just sampled Date Lady’s two updated (forgive the pun!) caramel sauces, I’ve now got two more reasons to celebrate. The regular caramel sauce has cream while the coconut caramel sauce is vegan. Both are made from organic ingredients and both are luscious and smooth. You can stir them into coffee, use them as a dip for apple slices or just spoon them from the jar. You’ll think of a dozen ways to use them. $8.99 per 11-ounce jar. Date Lady makes a whole batch of organic date products. The date syrup is made of nothing but dates and would be perfect in any place you use honey or agave, but want that deep date flavor. It comes bottled or in sticks perfect for individual servings. Using dates as the sweetener in their chocolate spread brings out all the richness in the chocolate. It’s vegan, too. And did we mention all these products are kosher?

Chocolate is certainly a drink of the Americas. The Aztecs enjoyed a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans centuries ago.  Sweetened chocolate appeared when those early explorers of the Americas brought it back to Europe. The Smithsonian Institution reports that chocolate was so valued during the Revolutionary War that it was included in soldiers’ rations and was used in lieu of pay. American Heritage Chocolate® is now offering chocolate made from a recipe they say dates from the 1750s. We sampled the chocolate sticks and enjoyed the hint of cinnamon and that the chocolate wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. The website includes recipes for using the chocolate in all manner of ways including a chocolate and tahini ice box pie and sweet and tangy chicken drumsticks. You can use the chocolate in any recipe calling for semi-sweet chocolate.

Fall may equal “pumpkin spice” for some, but what I’m looking for the perfect spice blend of a delicious chai. Robin Hunt-Brown first shared her homemade chai with the clients of her holistic medical massage business. When they told her they wanted to enjoy it at home, she began bottling the concentrate and selling it to the public at local farmers markets. The ingredients include fresh ginger, vanilla beans and whole spices including black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. There are no preservatives so the concentrate should be refrigerated and used within a few weeks of opening. We tried the original masala tea flavor, but she’s now making a coffee chai version as well. Mix the concentrate with water or dairy or non-dairy milk. Or do as we do and add it to apple juice or cider, then serve it warm or cold.

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