notquiteold

Gracefully Aging – With Resistance

My Life – In Chocolate

I’ve been feeling guilty all week.

Because I wrote so lovingly about ice cream several days ago.

And neglected the other love of my life:

Chocolate.

I’m sorry, Chocolate. I love you too.

So here is a history of my romance with Chocolate.

The first chocolate I remember is a Hershey bar. My grandmother (Babci in Polish) used to buy Hershey bars to give us every Sunday when we visited. (and Juicy Fruit gum and little bags of State Line potato chips)  A Hershey bar is pretty mediocre in my mind today, but I have fabulous memories of Hershey bars salted by potato chip fingers.

 

Hershey

Across the street from my house was a little store. We called it Paul’s, but it was officially Lavoie’s Market. Paul Lavoie was a butcher and mostly sold very good meat at his hole-in-the-wall tiny shop. But he had a nice supply of candy bars for us kids, and almost every candy bar from my childhood was first tried at Paul’s. My favorite for a long time was a Sky Bar – because you got four different little bars.

sky bar

 

I loved the idea of having an assortment in one candy bar. There was one slight drawback, however, I hated the white stuff that they called Vanilla. It was a kind of marshmallow nougat that I didn’t like. You’d think I would just stop buying a candy bar that I didn’t like 25% of. But no. My solution at age eight was logical to me. I ate the disliked piece first, so it wouldn’t be the lasting taste in my mouth. But how, you might wonder, would I know which of the center pieces was the bad one? That’s where the finger poke in the bottom was the solution – just like you probably poke your Whitman’s Sampler today.

Speaking of Whitman’s Samplers, my Aunt Lil often had a box of those at her house. I did not like soft centers (I still don’t). But I had perfected my poke skill on the Sky Bar, so I was all set.

And on the topic of centers, I was in a love-hate relationship with Chunky.

chunky

I liked the consistency of the chocolate and I liked the thick bar. But I don’t like raisins and chocolate together. Does that mean that I never bought a Chunky at Paul’s?  Of course I did. I bought EVERY kind of candy bar, even ones I didn’t like. Just not as often.

But somewhere around the mid-sixties, the Pecan Chunky was introduced. No raisins. Problem solved.

And of course I loved Three Musketeers (big and fluffy) and Milky Ways, Snickers, and Mars. What’s not to like?

And Almond Joy and Mounds bars. But why can’t dark chocolate have almonds too?  Life is so unfair.

I did not like gritty candy bars – that means no rice or crispy stuff – Nestle’s Crunch, I’m talking to you.

But I loved Reese’s peanut butter cups. I do not consider peanut butter gritty. i consider peanut butter heavenly. The only drawback in the 50’s was that they were only sold in singles.

??????????

And there was a small chocolate bite that I still see once in a while in convenience stores called the Ice Cube.

ice_cubes

It was penny candy back when I was a kid, and it’s still pretty cheap, I think. And it is an ultra creamy bit of hazlenut-flavored chocolate. And they freeze really well.

Which brings me to the subject of frozen chocolate bars. Sticking a Milky Way in the freezer was a great treat. And you could slap a frozen Charlston Chew on the table and it would shatter into very satisfying little shards.

But the best frozen candy bar was a bar I could only get at the town swimming pool. The concession stand at Page Park carried a candy bar called the Milk Shake. And they kept them in the freezer. After an afternoon of swimming, I’d spend thirty cents (a fortune in those days) for a frozen Milk Shake. I can’t even remember now what they tasted like, but they smelled like chlorine.

Now, of course, my taste is more sophisticated (except for Ice Cubes and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, of course.)

For mass-produced chocolate, I like Lindt truffles and Dove chocolates. And Dove gives you the double pleasure of the sweet treat and a sweet affirmation on the inside of the wrapper.

And then there is the BEST chocolate. I think if you are going to eat that many calories, they might as well be the best calories available.

And I have two choices for best chocolate:

About 15 years ago, I was in New York on business. It was February 13 and I was returning to Connecticut the next day – Valentine’s Day. So I went out that evening looking for someplace better than a drug store to buy my husband something better than a Hershey Bar. And on Madison Avenue, I came upon a long line of folks waiting in the freezing weather just to get in the door of a tiny shop. This must be the place, I thought. And it was. It was Leonidas, which sells Belgian truffles at $40.00 a pound. I can afford that about once every five Valentine’s Days.

And best of all – there is an amazing source of chocolate right here in Litchfield County. At Thorncrest Dairy Farm, they make chocolates every day from that day’s milk. And the chocolatier, Kimberly, knows by the smell of the milk which cow it came from. And different cows have different sweetnesses and different boiling points to their milk – and so are suited for certain chocolates over others. (per Kim, anyway, who may be a little crazy on the subject). But she certainly knows how to make good chocolate. So I believe her. And so I always ask for something from Princess.

 

charisma

My husband with Charisma at Thorncrest Farm. She’s a big girl. And she kissed him.

 

 

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26 Comments

  1. We ate at Cracker Barrel this evening and saw a Hershey Bar called “Pigs and Taters”. Are you ready? Milk chocolate with potato chips and bacon bits. No thank you.

    • Chocolate and potato chips – Yum! Adding the bacon – too much of a good thing.

  2. mmmm-Chocolate! A favorite subject! I love the idea that someone can tell which cow’s milk your candy is made from. I remember all of those candy bars, except I’d forgotten about Chunky. I still love Peanut Butter Cups.

    • Kimberly is very cool. Last time I was there, she said, “Try this one. It’s from Pearl.”

  3. Such a lovely post! I’m still slightly obsessed with Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, but my favourite chocolate in the world has to be Valrhona (www.valrhona-chocolate.com). Every pastry chef I’ve ever met has an obsession with this chocolate. Expensive but oh so worth it…

    • Just checked it out. I am going to treat myself! (I figure I can dip into my retirement fund.)

  4. This reminds me of the time my daughter took her kids and her nephews to Mac’s to buy “junk food”, a real treat for them. Cam, the oldest was picking Reese’s Pieces and Monica, who often mixes words up and whose son Owen is allergic to peanuts called out and said, “Cam, you can’t buy Reese’s Penises…” The store clerk is still laughing and so are the nephews!

    • Ha! Good thing Reese’s peanut butter cups are not shaped like a Baby Ruth.

  5. If you ever go to Brussels there is a Chocolate shop in old town square that is nirvana. It is my favorite place to visit. You can smell it from a block away, they make all the chocolate in the back and put out samples. It is the best place in the world I think.

    You truly transported me with this one. I am a dark chocolate lover these days, mostly at the 70% cocoa level or above. I do remember the days of wonderful milk chocolate though.

  6. I used to eat sky bars like they were going out of style, and then I had one as an adult and…boy, was that unpleasant.

    • I don’t want to even think about it. Ice Cubes are still pretty good though.

  7. Did you every need to worry about enjoying chocolate because of pimples?
    I remember all these chocolate treats but I stopped eating chocolate in my teens to stave off dreaded pimples. At first it was hard but afterwards I’d just shrug. Around Halloween my grand kids share their loot and I settle for an Oh Henry. Still good. :-D

    • I was very lucky as a kid and as a teenager. Skinny as a rail and a pretty good complexion. It’s when I started to get hips that I started being careful.

  8. Reading this was torture! I’m on a 2 day a week no-carb diet and picked the wrong day to think Chocolate. I do relate to everything in this post in a very personal way. Thanks? :)

    • I am very careful about eating healthy. But I believe in the miraculous powers of chocolate. (and ice cream)

  9. My recent ‘favourite-est’ chocolate bar is Lindt Passion Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt (I break the giant bars into 8 pieces and allow myself one each night as ‘dessert’). I’m also fond of anything that combines chocolate and mint (I buy the mini Peppermint Patties in bulk; Walker’s Chocolates here in Burlington make delicious ‘mint meltaways'; Lindt Excellence Intense Mint bars are pretty good too). I used to prefer milk chocolate but learned to embrace the richness of dark chocolate when it was proclaimed as being ‘good for you’. (Personally, I think ANY kind of chocolate is ‘good for you’ because it makes you feel so wonderful!)

  10. I loved Ice Cubes!!! They were so different from the other chocolate I could get. They melted at the touch of a warm finger and were so creamy!!!

  11. I’ll trade you my Reese’s for your Chunkysvvv

  12. I am so glad you did this post on chocolate. Sweet memories (pun intended). However, I prefer the not so sweet chocolate. Dark, semi-sweet, 60%, 70% cacao, etc. The less sugar, the better. Three musketeers was my first husband’s favorite. And he kept it in the freezer. I keep all my chocolate in the fridge. I like it hard and crunchy, not soft and mushy and stick-to-your-teeth sticky.

  13. Awwwww….Chunky….what fond memories….you rock, girl!

  14. Please don’t ban me from your blog…but,…I’m not a fan of chocolate. The only chocolate I care for at all is a thin layer to hold together butterscotch, caramel or peanut butter. My chocolate bars were always the ones with the least chocolate like “Caramilk”, Crunchie (it’s Canadian-sponge toffee cloaked in chocolate) and of course Peanut Butter Cups. Perhaps if I had someone like you to show me the ropes I would have developed a taste for it.

  15. Just stumbled across your blog and have been scrolling through some of your blog posts. I, too, have fond memories of frozen milk shake bars (cannot remember what they taste like either). As a kid we’d spend most summer days at the beach and there was a little sandwich shop we’d walk to for them. I think I mentioned them in one of my posts. :-) I live in New Haven County and will definitely be making a trip to Litchfield for some chocolate! Thanks for a fun read!

    • Glad you enjoyed the chocolate memories!

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