A Chocolate from my Past

Gourmet Boutique is not my first experience selling chocolate. In elementary school, I sold chocolate bars door to door as part of my Cub Scout Troop. The chocolates from the first year I remember quite vividly, we sold three types; Milk, Dark, and Almond.  They came in a long cardboard box that my dad and I would carry around the neighborhood. The bars themselves were wrapped in light beige and pin stripes, and I had never seen them at a store. I ate my Hershey's, my Reeses, and my Snickers like the rest of the kids, but these chocolates were unknown. These were forbidden chocolates, chocolates that went to the wealthy old women on the block, or the professional looking couples who would answer the door in dress shirts.

A kid can't help but be curious about what makes a chocolate different; plain chocolate at that, without the promise off exploding flavors or overabundant filling. It was the almond bar that held my imagination most strongly. Through the paper sleeve you could see the smooth bulging of the whole almonds.

From the weight of each bar to the scent of that cardboard box, I was entranced by the mystery the bars presented, made all the worse by not being allowed to have a single piece until the end of the selling period.

I put in my time, sold my bars, and had my cheeks pinched by more than one grandmotherly character. I stopped eating sweets as the end approached, anticipation had drained the flavor out of all other candy.  The chocolate dwindled from what seemed like an endless ocean of bars into a chocolate puddle. I remember that last day of selling, only one almond chocolate bar remained and every house seemed to present a new opportunity for me to lose it.

It survived though, and, upon our return, that bar was my fantastic reward for a job well done. I can still remember the taste. A smooth dark chocolate, not too bitter; the almonds were crisp but not hard. There's a unique sensation when you sink your teeth into the chocolate and they meet an almond just beneath the surface.

There are several companies that have made those types of pin-stripe bars, so I doubt I'll ever encounter the exact same chocolate again. However, every time I take a bite from a Ritter Sport Almond bar or the Dark Chocolate from Cote D'Or, I am transported right back to that moment, a long sought after bar rewarded after a long day. Dark chocolate with whole almonds will always carry a profound dignity.

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