Yes, I’ve written about chocolate before. And no, I haven’t run out of things to say. In a world turned upside down and inside out, chocolate seems to help restore some smidgen of a semblance of balance. Temporarily. I’m not talking about good-for-your-health dark chocolate filled with antioxidants. I’m talking creamy, comforting, good-for-your-soul milk chocolate. Ahh.
And while there are those who may only indulge in offerings from an exclusive chocolatier in Paris or a too-chic boutique in Soho, my tastes run far more ordinary than that. Pleasures easily found, treasures widely available. To wit:
Caramel. Whether you pronounce it “car-a-mel” (like me and every New Yorker I know) or “car-mel” (like everyone else), sign me up. Not for the sticky, chewy kind (that stuff is hell on dental work and therefore a reckless-abandon type of joy I’ve had to abandon as I’ve gotten older) — the soft, melty kind of caramel that shows up in Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Caramel Squares or Cadbury Caramello (is that a perfect name or what?) bars. Or in a Hershey Rolo stack. Give me any of the above and I can literally check out of reality for a little while. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Repeat.
Chocolate bars. The classic milk chocolate bar is like the classic string of pearls — it goes with everything in your wardrobe from little black dress to little white tee; it’s the perfect choice when you’re not sure what to pick; it always says “rich.” My favorite is one from my childhood that I can’t find anymore, at least not in LA. It’s the original Nestlé milk chocolate bar in the red and white wrapper. If you’ve seen it recently, please send it along — until then, I’ll have to make do with Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. They’re almost as good. Bar none.
Movie candy. Let’s face it, movies are more fun with let’s-go-out-to-the-lobby candy. I used to love Milk Duds, until they made it to the aforementioned gotta-abandon-it list. (Extra points if you throw Milk Duds into your bucket of popcorn.) Coming in a close second are Raisinets (and I can justify them as having the nutritional benefit of fruit). Also, and here I break my no-dark-chocolate rule — SnoCaps. The points they lose for not being milk chocolate are gained back by the sweet, crunchy, white nonpareils on top (like teeny sugary pearls — again with the metaphor). Just remember to do all your candy unwrapping before the movie starts. Sheesh.
See’s Milk Chocolate Buttercreams. If chocolate nirvana exists, then this must be it. I’m not sure how to describe these wonders except as pillows of velvety chocolate buttercream (like cake frosting but richer) cloaked in the smoothest milk chocolate. If life is a box of chocolates, this piece is the pinnacle.
So yes. When it comes to vices, chocolate is mine.
Everything else? Plain vanilla.
©2021 Claudia Grossman