by Anneli Rufus
The Tea Room, a chocolate company based in San Leandro, just won nine medals for its line of organic tea-infused bars.
Presented by ShapeYou.com, the 2010 Gear Awards honor products contributing to healthy lifestyles.
"This marks the third year running that The Tea Room has provided such an impressive showing," remarked the chocolate company's Ethan M. Ash.
The company's head chocolatier Heinz Rimann was a chef at five-star hotels in his native Switzerland, then at Hong Kong's world-renowned Peninsula Hotel before moving to the Bay Area. The Tea Room began as a purveyor of loose-leaf teas, but Rimann became inspired by the idea of merging his knowledge of tea with his knowledge of chocolate. The result is a line of milk-chocolate, white-chocolate, and dark-chocolate bars flavored with such exotica as green maté, honeybush caramel tea, Earl Grey tea, Masala chai, and jasmine tea.
The Tea Room won six GearAwards in 2008 and seven in 2009. This year, it scored two "Top Gear of the Year" awards (Gold), three "Great Gear of the Year" awards (Silver), and four "Seal of Excellence" awards (Bronze), all in the "Organic Treats" category.
Add this to other recent awards for the San Leandro company: Its Earl Grey bar won a prestigious silver sofi award last year and the Tea Room scored another silver in the "best flavored chocolate" category at this year's San Francisco International Chocolate Salon.