This will be an easy one to celebrate although it may take home the title for the longest named holiday with 42 total letters. It’s like the Jarrod Saltalamacchia of holidays (for all you baseball fans reading along). Last year on this day, I made my own. I melted some bittersweet chocolate, tossed in some almonds, and then just let them cool (after I sprinkled with some sea salt). Lola was away last year too at this time and so I just enjoyed the treats by my lonely ol’ self. I did note that I brought some over to Pete and Cherie too which seemed odd. Then I realized, after decoding my cryptic blog messages, that I had done so because our little nephew was in the hospital. It reminded me of what a sad little night it was and how my heart was hurt to see him in a hospital bed. Today would be different. Today I would not make my own treats. Today I would just do what every normal person would do when confronted with the dilemma of needing Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds. I just went to the store, CVS specifically, and bought some. I found a bag of Bittersweet Chocolate Almonds from the folks at Dove Chocolate and that was good enough for me.
There’s a candy dish at my Mom’s house that has been in her living room for years. It used to be in a more high-profile spot but now it has found a home on the countertop of the corner cabinet, a spot where my Mom can easily access it. It came from, I think, the International Silver Company which was where my Dad worked as a manager (it later became the Webster Wilcox Company). He’d often come home with random pieces of décor and this candy dish was one of them. It had a silver top like the lid of a pot and it set atop an elegant crystal dish. My Mom used to fill it with random pieces of candy and you would peek inside every now and then to see what was in there. Sometimes you’d hit pay dirt and it would be filled with M&Ms or jellybeans. Other times you’d find Canada mints or lemon sours. When you would take the lid off, the steel would inevitably tap the crystal and it would create a ringing sound that indicated someone was in the candy dish. Over the years I learned to get stealthy at this. I figured out that if you palmed the whole cover with your hand and lifted it straight off the bowl, you could muffle the tone and silence the alarm. Putting the lid back on was more difficult, but required the same diligence and patience. I felt like the Pink Panther when it was successful. I spent way too much time trying to hone this skill. I mention all this because nowadays, the candy dish is almost always filled with Dove chocolates. I’m not sure when Dove became the sole resident of the candy dish, but it has happened. In fact, my niece and nephews have probably come to always expect Dove chocolates in that bowl. I suppose that’s where I first became aware of Dove chocolates. I knew about Dove bars. Those were they original Dove product. Vanilla ice cream on a stick covered in luscious chocolate. But the candy, those came to the market later, and then they landed in our candy bowl.
Their chocolate covered almonds were as good as their other products which allows me to say with certainty that Dove puts out a good chocolate. They are part of the Mars conglomerate and although they started as a candy shop in Chicago, to have caught the eyes of Mars must have meant that they were doing something right. I am partial to milk chocolate but when it comes down to it, I can eat bittersweet chocolate and be ok. Their chocolate is creamy and rich. There were definite hints of bitterness to it but that was ok in the presence of the salty, roasted flavor of the fresh almonds. It was, as so many of these posts are about, good balance in every bite. They were nice and fresh too. Sometimes chocolate covered nuts can feel a bit old (at least the nut part). These tasted like they were just shelled. I opened the bag when I got home from work and nibbled on them as a pre-dinner snack. Then I had some more before I went to bed.
You hear so much about the health benefits of eating dark chocolate and almonds that you would think eating them together would make you a regular health nut. Obviously that all boils down to moderation which I still have some troubles trying to understand. I am partial to milk chocolate, but these snacks proved to be quite satisfying and delicious. It made me realize that maybe when I get those twinges for something sweet in the late afternoon, maybe reaching for dark chocolate covered almonds would be a smart alternative (in moderation). I know that’s still not the healthiest of choices but choosing the almonds over binging on a container of fudge is certainly a better choice. It will give me that chocolate boost I’m looking for plus some energy and protein from the nuts. It’s all about teaching an old dog a new trick and don’t forget, this old dog can still sneak it out of the candy dish undetected.
Next up: National Cappuccino Day