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tealuxe chaider harvard square

About once a week during October and November, I’ve stopped in at Tealuxe, in Harvard Square, for a tall cup of “chaider” – apple cider infused with chai. It combines two of my favorite fall treats in a delicious alchemy – spicy, warm, tart and sweet. And it’s only available for a few weeks each year. Once they take it off the menu, it’s gone until next fall.

During our trip to Montreal, I bought a tin of pumpkin chai at DavidsTEA, because I remembered buying (and loving) the same blend last year. I finished it off last week, and when I checked the website to see if I could restock, I couldn’t find it. It’s part of their limited-edition fall collection, so I’m out of luck until next fall. (Meanwhile, I bought a tin of Santa’s Secret, one of their special holiday blends.)

There are lots of items I enjoy the most at a certain time of year: candy corn the week before Halloween, a cup of eggnog on Christmas Eve with my dad, all the fresh raspberries I can get at the height of summer. I even drink different teas at different times of the year – fruity ones in the summer, dark spiced ones in the winter.

Most of these treats (or some version of them) are available year-round. I can replenish my tea stash any time online, or buy eggnog at the grocery store for several weeks each year. (Though I wouldn’t want to – that annual cup is enough for me.) I can even get raspberries in February, though admittedly they’re not as good as the ones I buy in July.

But there’s something special about treats that are literally only available for a certain time. In our have-it-now, order-online, overnight-shipping culture, the abundance of choices can be overwhelming, and it can also diminish the excitement or “specialness” of an item. (For example, if I eat mint M&Ms year-round, simply because I can, they don’t seem quite as special at Christmastime.)

In the case of the chaider and the pumpkin chai, the choice is taken out of my hands. I have to wait for them, and the waiting makes the experience that much more pleasant when it’s finally time for the treat again. It makes me feel like a kid waiting for Christmas (which does only come once a year, despite the barrage of decorations in November). The anticipation is half the fun.

What truly limited-edition treats do you enjoy?

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