There’s a nice little bit of monologue in Jean Shepherd’s screenplay for A Christmas Story. The narrator of the piece, adult Ralphie, is musing on the different and distinct tastes of the various kinds of bath soap bars he’s had to endure as punishments in his formative years.
Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference is Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after dinner flavor – heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness……… Lifebuoy, on the other hand…. slyeccch
I too am a connoisseur, of chocolate. I may go as far as copping to being a chocolate snob.
I didn’t always aspire to this degree of high-falutin' uppityness, but I always enjoyed chocolate. As a child, I scarfed up the typical treats like 3 Musketeers, Hershey Bars, and of course every kid’s favorite, M&Ms. But as I matured, my tastes changed, and it occurred to me that not only was trying to eat that giant Hershey’s Kiss pretty damn difficult, it just didn’t taste that great either. And since then, this pedestrian brand along with Nestle did nothing special for me.
That’s not saying I didn’t eat them – I just didn’t feel anything extraordinary. Then at some point, I discovered Cadbury. I don’t remember when, or exactly what actual version of this marvelous confection, maybe it was the crème eggs? Regardless, I thought, “Hmm, this is fantastic!” And the snob was born.
I learned I didn’t have to put up with the plain-Jane-ness of MaryJanes or tolerate a Tootsie Roll. There were real grown-up kinds of chocolate — Godiva, Ghirardelli, Lindt, and of course, Cadbury. But lest I be thought of as too much of a snob, I must add that there are certain varieties of the everyday brands that I love.
Chocolate and peanut butter has long been a popular blend of flavors. Around since about 1928, the Reese Cup has been a steady item in chocolate sales. And in my experience, not many candy-makers have achieved the same balance or chocolate to peanut butter ratio as the H.B. Reese Company. Evidently Hershey’s felt the same way; the two companies merged in the 1960s.
Caramel is another personal favorite of mine; combined with chocolate of course, it’s even better. I’m always on the lookout for this mix, but there are a few that are clear winners. The Milky Way bar, with its luscious whipped malt flavored nougat center, topped with a layer of caramel, and covered in milk chocolate – quite damn divine. Cadbury’s Caramello bar is another contender, as is their caramel filled eggs.
So dear readers, Happy Valentines Day, and I hope you all find time to enjoy something sweet, whether flowers, candy, fresh snow, or a special someone.
Part two will cover some more of my favorites, and a little history of this luscious confection, chocolate.