As a belated birthday gift, Frank’s aunt gave me a box of chocolates from the Czech Republic. They, as a family in general, make frequent trips back to their mother-land and bring back with them assorted goodies that they can’t get stateside.
I have saved these chocolates and am now eating them while I blog, laying in bed after the kids were put to bed. I could have eaten them on any other number of occasions in the week since I received them, but then I would have had to share them with little children. And these are mine, dammit.
It’s funny as a parent the things I find I hide away from my kids. Red Twizzlers often only come out late at night to keep them away from wee ones determined to get their share. Most of my covert candy thievery also happens under the cover of dark — Halloween bags and Easter baskets pilfered after their guards have drifted off to sleep. It makes me wonder what wondrous confections my own mom and dad kept hidden for enjoyment only when my brother and I were out of the house or asleep for the night.
Anyway, these chocolates that I received for my birthday, they are interesting. Tastewise they are pretty good. I’d best describe them as milk chocolate with a creamy nutty middle. They are officially called “Laguna Nutsnougat” which, according to the translations into every European language on the back, translates to “Seafood with Filling”. No, really. But rest assured, they are only “seafood” because they are molded into oceanesque shapes, like seashells and starfish. I’m not quite sure what the culinary Czech genius was thinking when he had his epiphany, but it must have gone something like this: “Ahoy! [because that’s how they say ‘hello’] I am thinking… we have a recipe for delicious nougat-filled chocolate bonbons. Only to make them into straightforward chocolate shapes is so blah, so passe, so expected. What to do, what to do… A-ha! I’ve got it! Let’s make them look like mollusks! Nothing says ‘sweet confectionary bliss’ like shellfish!” Seriously, I can’t look at them while I eat them. Especially the mussels. Ugh.
The second thing to note about these chocolates is the ingredient list. In the U.S. here, we have something in many ingredient lists called “Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” which on the surface doesn’t seem all that offensive. The Europeans, however, do not let their food manufacturers get away with such namby-pamby fru-fru food names. They have to tell it like it is, it seems, because the second ingredient listed, after sugar, is “hardened vegetable fat”. Yummy.