If I hadn’t decided to write a blog in the Jason Mraz genre, it would have been a chocolate blog. How much do I love chocolate? I wrote a 15-page multi-genre piece about it as part of my master’s degree. I can tell you about the Mayans and Aztecs, about using cocoa beans as currency, about the first chocolate shops in Europe. A few years ago I spent Easter in Hershey, PA with friends and it was an even happier place than Disneyland. Over the last few years I’ve become a chocolate snob, graduating from Nestle to Cadbury to Scharffen Berger to Guittard and Valrhona, although Reese’s peanut butter cups will probably always be my favorite.
Getting to the point: Last Tuesday was my birthday. I wasn’t too excited about it (turning 30, starting a new job that day, sitting in a cube reading org charts and project timelines for eight hours), but it couldn’t be helped. Plus, I knew I should be thankful to have gotten a fancy new job, even if it meant waking up early on my fun day and putting on sensible shoes.
But after a long, boring, professional day, my friends came through for me, all week long in fact, big time. I came home Tuesday to find this gorgeous, sexy little deep purple box of nine perfectly formed exotic truffles. They weren’t that generic Godiva stuff (they do good dipped strawberries but I’ll pass on the rest), but from a small company in Chicago, Vosges Haut-Chocolat. My friend, Laura, found them and apparently thought they were shouting my name. After I ate a couple, I was ready to start shouting hers.
The next night I got a night out from Justin, the more-than-just-a-bike-guy bike guy. We had dessert-like drinks and a little dinner and then more dessert. I was starting to feel a bit stuffed, and tipsy, but much like a goldfish, if there’s yummy food, I have a hard time saying no.
And then then next day came more packages, from Jill and Kerry, both in Boston. There were novelty chocolates and Geoff & Drew’s Mrazturbationatory toffee brownies and the most incredible hot chocolate mix ever from L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square.
All of these things came from little independent chocolate makers, shops where each item is made fresh, by hand, with love and care. Each is delightfully imperfect, shaped a little funny, or cut not quite square. I love that they weren’t massed produced and that my friends were kind enough to support little local artisans (although I stand by my statement about Hershey – at least they still support a school for needy kids).
And aside from the millions of calories and hours of delight these goodies all gave me, they also taught me a lesson. No, it’s not that life is like the small purple box they came in. It’s that you should make your own chocolates. You can save a lot of money that way. Wait… I think there’s more.
Ah yes, whatever you do, do it well. Put your heart in it. It will make you happier, and the results will taste way better. If that means putting your entire bank account into starting your own business, or changing careers altogether, or packing up and leaving the country to find a new life, then do it. Find your own curbside and start a movement all your own.
I don’t think these sensible shoes are going to last very long.
It’s easy if you only try try try,