Valentine’s Day – a week from today! The occasion means different things to different folks. For the kiddos, it could mean Batman/Hello Kitty classroom valentines, or those “sweetheart” chalky candies with the goofy messages: “Be Mine,” “U Rock,” or the more-relevant “Tweet Me.” For the adults, it could mean grab-a-date-for-the-occasion to avoid the dreaded “Alone on Valentine’s Day” (singles); red silk teddies by candelight (dating, or married-no-kids); a rare dinner out (parents), or burn-everything-he-ever-gave-me (exes).
No matter what category we belong, there’s one universal:
In our chocolate-glutted culture, it takes some pretty wild things done with chocolate to get our attention, such as chocolate bacon, spas where you can be painted with chocolate (why?), and a 6-ft tall chocolate Jesus (titled “My Sweet Lord”) made from 200 pounds of milk chocolate. I kid you not.
Apparently, chocolate has a lot to say.
The makers of Dove chocolates are a bit more conservative by comparison, in terms of what their chocolate has to say. These little squares offer “inspirational” messages printed on the foil wrappers, sort of like Chinese fortune cookies (without the lottery numbers on the back). Here are three I’ve saved (no pics, though, because I horribly mangled my wrappers in my desperation to get to the chocolate):
“Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances.”
“Go out there and make your dreams happen.”
“You are exactly where you are supposed to be.”
Of course, taken collectively, these sayings are rather contradictory. If I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, then I don’t need to go “out there” and make things happen; conversely, if I’m going out there to “make (my) dreams happen,” then that belies the idea that happiness dwells “in the heart, not in the circumstances.”
But maybe I’m being nit-picky.
But the wrappers can be fun, especially when one plays the Chinese fortune cookie “in bed” game. It certainly gives additional Je ne sais quoi to two of my wrappers:
“Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances in bed.” Well, that’s certainly a consolation to those feeling, shall we say, inadequate?
“You are exactly where you are supposed to be in bed.” Yeah, baby, you were meant to be there, looking gorgeous in that peek-a-boo nightie. Let me grab my camera.
In the interest of spreading the Valentine’s love a little further, I’m including one of my favorite fudge recipes. Hope you get a chance to try it out!
Creamy Mocha Fudge
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons milk
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
4 teaspoons powdered instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water OR 1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (optional; I leave this out)
1. Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil.2. Combine semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, milk, sweetened condensed milk, coffee mixture and vanilla in heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Remove from heat; stir in nuts.3. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Remove from pan; place on cutting board. Peel off foil; cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator. About 5 dozen pieces or 2 pounds.
Want more chocolate? Check back here Friday, when I’ll be doing “Flashback Friday: Chocolate and Human Civilization” – some history, and at least one more chocolate recipe.
In the meantime, here are some chocolate blogs you can try (some great recipes here, too):
Dying for Chocolate – by Janet Rudolph, who also writes a mystery lover’s blog (can’t you tell?)
Has chocolate ever “spoken” to you? Do you have a favorite kind or brand? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,