Seems like there is a schism in the world on the subject of Chocolate Covered Cherries. You either hate ’em or you love ’em. They are a tough sell. I think it’s the liquid center. You are just not used to biting into something round and chocolatey and having a gush of wet, sticky liquid that is actually a well-preserved maraschino cherry squirt into your mouth. If you are not expecting that, it’s a terrible surprise. There’s drip on your chin. There’s a sweet liquid taste in your mouth. It’s a shock to your palette.
I looked at a recipe for chocolate covered cherries and it actually gave me some insight. It takes some time, but what you essentially do is make a dough out of confectionary sugar, butter and milk and roll it up into small little balls. When you have all your sugar balls (coincidentally that was my nickname in high school), you flatten them out so you are left with a 2″ flat circle which you then take each circle and wrap it around a maraschino cherry. When you’re done, you let them chill over night and then when they are set, you dunk them in melted chocolate until you have your finished product. Sounds easy enough and would probably be pretty tasty too. However, they suggest refrigerating the chocolate covered cherries for 1-2 weeks before serving, and that was the time I did not allot for. That means I would have had to make them the week before Christmas. When I saw that, I knew I would be buying some chocolate covered cherries at the store.
Lola’s Dad was the one person I knew who was a huge fan of chocolate covered cherries. It was kind of his thing. I remember back in the days when I was courting Lola and trying to get on her family’s good side, I bought him a box of chocolate covered cherries for his birthday or some occasion. He couldn’t have been more pleased. He probably ate the whole box in one night as he sat in his easy chair watching a British detective show from a Netflix DVD, cherry juice all over his chin. That’s kind of how he attacked food. He knew when something was good and he’d savor it to the last drop. It would make you want to try whatever he was eating. Even chocolate covered cherries. I recalled that I bought his cherries at a drug store in the fancy candy section (near the Russel Stover’s). That’s where I found them today, at CVS, and I bought a box that looked fancy enough for my needs. The brand was called Cella’s and they have been making chocolate covered cherries since 1864. They kind of have a niche in the market. In the 1980’s, they were purchased by the Tootsie Roll people, but they are still cranking out the same great product under the same historic name. That’s a good history for a candy.
Today was one of those days that took a detour. I originally had plans to head to New Hampshire to see some old friends, but then after some car issues and a family thing, plans started to change. I’m not sure what I would have done to celebrate chocolate covered cherries had I gone up to NH, but since I was home I decided to enlist the help of our niece Waverly who was hanging at our house after school. We were looking for a snack for her to munch on and I asked her is she had ever had a chocolate covered cherry. She had not. I asked if she wanted to try one. She did! I must admit, if someone offers you a chocolate covered cherry and you are not familiar with it, there’s not much to turn you nose up at. It sounds good. You like chocolate. You like cherries. It comes individually wrapped in pretty red foil. It just seems like a good idea. But sometimes in life there are truths you have to find out for yourself.
Sorry kid. I didn’t mean to lead you astray. In my defense, she could have been one of those people that liked chocolate covered cherries. I did give her a peppermint patty after her cherry bite and she seemed to like that, so I don’t think I lost her trust. It was fun having her try. She was game for it and liked to play. She’s a cutie. If you watch the video, after her bite, she makes the exact same face that Lola makes when she tries something she doesn’t like. I feel I finally caught the expression on film. It would have been the expression Lola made had she tried the chocolate covered cherries, but she would not even try. She wanted no part of it and I don’t blame her.
I tried it. I had to. And it wasn’t that bad. Really. The chocolate is of good quality and the inside, if you are braced for it, is a refreshing surprise. It’s sweet and when it’s inside your mouth along with the melting chocolate, it makes for a nice combination. So if you like sweet things, you may just like this. What I did not appreciate was the cherry itself. I just don’t care for maraschino cherries and with chocolate covered cherries, you have to bite down into one eventually. That was the bad bite, but overall, I’d say it wasn’t terrible at all. I might even eat another one today.
I know there are people that love chocolate covered cherries. But I also know that there are some people that have the same reaction to chocolate covered cherries that Wavy did. I was on that side, but on reflection, I really don’t think they are bad at all. They have a rich tradition of being a specialty item, they are a very special treat for some and they are happy memories for others. That’s ok. This is why we celebrate certain foods, so on this National Covered Cherry Day, I think I found out how to best honor this candy that I was not so happy about tasting. It’s a favorite of many and for that reason, I will toast to the joy chocolate covered cherries bring to the world (just pardon the juice on my chin).
Next Up: National Trivia Day