The best thing about birthdays are the unexpected surprises -- the phone calls from old college friends, the Facebook shout-outs from random colleagues and past acquaintances, and the United Postal Service packages that arrive unannounced at the doorstep.
When I arrived home from work on my birthday last Monday, I wasn't expecting any telling brown parcels or envelopes. I charged into my apartment on a mission to shower, primp and glamify myself to an extent that would make me the most striking person at my party at Fraiche restaurant in Culver City. As the birthday girl, I felt it my prerogative to be the center of attention. With my eyes narrowly focused on Mission: Make Diana Fabulous, I barely noticed the bulging US Postal envelope that my roommate had set on our coffee table with the rest of the mail.
Later that evening, after a delectable two-hour meal with six of my closest friends, I returned home to my apartment in a fuzzy, half-tipsy stupor. Filled to the brim with excitement over my lovely night spent with wonderful companionship and food, I was bursting with happiness and didn't want the night to end. It was then that I remembered the package on my coffee table.
I changed into my jammies, brought the envelope back to my room and sat down cross-legged in the middle of my bed. I smiled when I saw the small neat letters on the outside. I'd know that hand-writing anywhere -- it was from my dear friend and former college roommate Caroline. As I pulled out the paper-wrapped box inside, my heart tugged with emotion. It was a box of Maron Chocolate truffles from Philadelphia, the same truffles that Caroline had brought me this past January when she came to visit.
While I am normally not as fond of truffles as I am other forms of chocolate (namely chocolate that covers nuts and/or caramel), Maron's are different from any I've had before. These are a lady's truffles -- pretty as can be, a proper size for delicate ingestion and surprisingly light on the palate. My biggest beef with the confection is how heavy and cloyingly rich they can be, but Maron's focus more on creating unique flavor profiles like Chai tea, Amaretto and Strawberry Cheesecake, rather than death blows to the stomach. I was surprised at how much I loved them, and after devouring the entire box, profusely thanked my dear friend for bringing me such a delectable hostess gift.
Sitting on my bed last Monday night, I was overwhelmed by Caroline's thoughtfulness in remembering how much I enjoyed the truffles nine months prior. As I peered down at the carefully crafted chocolates, my feet swaddled in purple bedroom slippers and my face devoid of the make-up I had piled on earlier in the evening, I felt like a queen. I hadn't needed to curl my hair or don a fancy new dress. All I needed was a box of pretty lady-like truffles from a dear friend.