I pull open the second drawer to my office desk and guiltily eye the sealed pink box of Abdallah dark chocolate sea salt caramels. The box is exactly as it was when I found it sitting on my bed at my parents’ home in Orange County over the Easter holiday. I’d discovered the item on the premium Minnesota-based chocolatier’s website right before Lent started, and had whined to my mother about how unfair it was that I wouldn’t be able to order/eat them for, exaggerated sigh, “a whole six weeks.”
My sly mother didn’t let on that she was paying much attention to my lament (I have many laments), but she was already plotting to purchase me the chocolates for an Easter treat. When she found the item at a local shop, I’m sure she never imagined that it would take me, exaggerated sigh, “a whole 15 days” to try one.
“I might as well get this over with.” I think, using my letter opener that I never actually use to open letters to rip the glossy wrapper off the box. My reluctant behavior is a marked change from my pre-Lent days when I’d be thinking about my post-lunch chocolate fix all morning.
“What should I have today?” I’d think at 9:30 am. “The sea salt chocolate covered almonds? The 100-calorie Bissinger dark chocolate bar from Whole Foods? Or maybe I’ll steal out for a warm chocolate chip cookie from Thyme Cafe & Market down the street…”
It was always a very important decision – perhaps the most important decision that day.
On this day, however, I’m feeling rather taxed by the idea of eating the humble half-inch by half-inch chocolate covered caramel. Even with my recent baklava and cookie indulgences in South Carolina, I’m just not quite there yet – not quite back to my chocosessed, will drive any distance to get a fix, self.
I take a sip of green tea to steel myself for the impending shock of sweetness, and then slowly curl my lips around the firm shell of sultry dark chocolate. The flecks of sea salt disembark from the outer coating, assaulting my tongue with a briny bite that is almost overwhelming until the thick square of darkened caramel yields forth from the center of the chocolate. It’s a well done version of the now ubiquitous chocolate shop offering. I like that the chocolate has girth and isn’t overpowered by the caramel within. I like that the caramel has integrity and is neither runny nor excessively chewy. And I like that the chocolate does not shatter into pieces as I nibble my way through.
I don’t, however, like the stomach ache that accosts my belly moments after finishing my relatively small treat. I close the lid on the pink box, sealing off the fifteen chocolates that I will, exaggerated sigh, some how have to eat my way through.
“Baby steps.” I tell myself, as I gulp the rest of my tea.
Even with good chocolate, it’s going to be a long road back to obsession.
Note: Abdallah dark chocolate sea salt caramels are available on the website for $6.95 for an 8 ounce box. I also recommend the milk chocolate Alligators with creamy caramel and pecans, and the chocolate mints.