A Chocoholic’s Guide to a Yummy Library In-Service

Our library closed one day last week for a Staff In-Service, where we learned to better serve you, our patrons, and also had a chocolate-tasting,* because happy librarians are far more willing to share that happy—if not the actual chocolate.

My brilliant friend Cha Cha, who does All The Fun Things, was in charge and offered eight anonymous samples for us to smell and taste and decipher, before revealing the type and telling us a little about the companies.

Informative and yummy—what’s not to like?

ChocoloveWe started out with a Peach & Pecan in Milk Chocolate from Chocolove, which was okay.  Apparently, the founder and owner, Timothy Moley, is something of a Willy Wonka, and has consumed two chocolate bars a day for the last eighteen years.  After hearing that, the love poem printed on inside each wrapper is put into almost disturbing perspective—not that I don’t appreciate the sweet (ahem) touch!**

The second one was Green & Black’s Maya Gold, which I’ve gobbled like an addicted lunatic tried before—dark chocolate with orange and ‘spices,’ which aren’t listed but must include cloves.  So, so good, as is every Green & Black’s bar I’ve ever had, even the white, which Cha Cha insists isn’t actually chocolate.  I don’t see how that matters, but okay.

GhirardelliThe third was a Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee, which was fruity and smooth and lovely, but again, I liked the story better.  Apparently, Mr. Ghirardelli made his chocolate fortune in California, selling his products to the gold rushers, but not because these newly rich men were desperate for chocolate, oh, no.  They were desperate for women, but Mr. Ghirardelli’s theory, which he shared with his customers, was that women love chocolate . . . and I probably don’t have to spell out the rest.***

Godiva Sea SaltThe fourth was my favorite, a dark chocolate with sea salt in it—thank heavens salt is okay to eat now, because it’s amazing with chocolate and caramel.  I’ve been a member of the Godiva Chocolate of the Month Club for years, so I wasn’t surprised when I learned this one was theirs.  Neither was a shocked when my kids inhaled the leftover pieces I brought home, because genetics. To be honest, I was a little weirded out that up until five years ago, Godiva was owned by Campbell Soup . . . it was kind of like learning that the Solo plastic cup company has owned Tiffany’s for the past forty years.^

Tho Pili PiliThe fifth hurtseriously, I tasted it and my tongue lit up like I’d set it on fire.  Theo Chocolate’s Congo Pili Pili Chili bar is infused with a pepper that registers just under a habanero on the heat scale; a habenero is 10, a jalapeno is a five, and a pili pili is an eight.  I brought some home for my SIL, Watson, who snarfed it up like I’d brought her the Godiva, so I’m planning on buying a bar for my mother, who has the same Teflon tastebuds—proving that sometimes genetics ain’t all that.

I can’t tell you about the sixth because my own tastebuds were still ticked off at me, but it was a sugarless one from Guylian and apparently not bad.  Good to know there’s a decent choice out there now for people who watch their sugar intake—I remember my grandpa, who was diabetic, making a No Chocolate for Me face that could damn near break your heart.

The seventh was a Lindt Passion Fruit bar, which was awesome, as Lindt usually is—my German teacher in high school used to reward us with Lindt chocolate.  I did very well in that class.

ritter espressoWhich brings us to the final sample.  You know how I always say that if coffee tasted like it smelled, I wouldn’t treat it like medicine for a chronic caffeine deficiency?  Ritter Sports espresso has me covered.  Or maybe I had it covered.  Regardless, I grabbed most of the leftovers and hightailed it before my co-workers noticed.  What’s better for a librarian than coffee chocolate?  It’s a match made in the kind of heaven you don’t tell your kids about.

So, if you ever have a chance to go to a chocolate tasting, go.  It’s a great time.

And afterwards, if you have a choice of meditation or self-defense, go for the second.  Naptime Meditation might sound good, but remember, after the in-service, you’ll have to walk all those chocolate leftovers through the parking lot to your car . . . And your co-workers know it.


*We had a choice between the yoga and the chocolate, but since I’m shacking up with a yoga instructor, I opted for the latter.  Not, as my husband pointed out, I would have chosen differently under any circumstances, but he was happy to provide the excuse, bless him.

** I’m thinking of doing a chocolate poem post one of these Wednesdays—reporting on which poems are paired with which flavored bar.  It would mean tasting a lot of chocolate, but I’d manage somehow . . . for you.

***Apparently, the spelling and pronunciation of his name was a sore spot for Mr. Ghirardelli, who spent a lot of his advertising space reminding people about the second ‘ar’ sound.  Oddly, my spell check doesn’t have a problem with it—then again, it’s my spell check . . .

^ I’m almost positive it hasn’t.  If you know better, please leave the remains of my naivety alone.



Random Thursday: Three Noms and a Not

I apologize in advance for the banana.


Location, Location, Location?

Sprinkles, a designer cupcake bakery, has decided to make their products available 24/7  by opening cupcake “ATM” at  their locations in LA—the upscale name is presumably a loophole to get around any Beverly Hills ordinances against “vending machines.”

I have to admit, it’s pretty shiny.

Though if I’m craving cupcakes that badly at midnight, I’d probably go for a box of Hostess—or better yet, Zingers—from the nearest GasMart.  You get eight for less than four bucks and they have creme filling.

‘Cause I’m just that klassy.


Edible Art

A Chinese street vendor makes the most beautiful snack I’ve ever seen.

You can see this little boy thinking, “But . . . if I eat it . . . it will be gone.”


The First Sign of Spring

And the reason I traditionally give up dieting for Lent.

If you haven’t tried at least one of these and you don’t have a tragic medical reason for not doing so,* do so.

Start with the original.

You can thank me later.


I Can’t Explain This One

Except to say that I must have a dirty mind, because I’m still not sure if it’s Safe for Work or not . . .

 . . . and I did say I was sorry.


*Which, in my opinion, includes not caring much for chocolate.  This isn’t just a pathology, it’s a crime against Nature, which wants us to be happy and evolved cacao trees specifically to do the job.

Please Stand By . . .

Funny Pictures - Lioness 30 Foot Leap

I wrote until almost midnight last night, fueled by inspiration, an afternoon nap, and more chocolate than I will ever admit to consuming (only my dentist will know for sure).*

Two hours after the inevitable sugar crash cut me off mid-sentence and I dragged my doomed rear to bed, Sunny decided she was lonely and scared and her tummy hurt.  I spent an uncomfortable few hours scrunched up in her day bed, before she was asleep enough to allow my escape.

My husband had rolled over in my absence, taking the covers and the cat with him.  I took ‘em back and snuggled in.

And then my alarm went off.

That’s why whatever comments I’ve left around the Internet have been more incoherent than usual and why there’s not much of a post here today.  At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.**

Tune in tomorrow when I will explain why there is a giant stuffed gorilla  in my living room, with photos.


* I’m afraid to look at the pages, lest they be filled with references to Cadbury Crème Eggs and peanut butter meltaways.

**Since I’m about 35% sugar and chocolate solids right now—on the principle of you are what you eat—I’m sticking to everything . . .


See more Lolcats and funny pictures

Random Thursday

A character in one of my stories knows five ways to kill someone with a paperclip.  I don’t—hey, Lawrence Block claims he can’t pick locks—but today I learned how to kill a keyboard with a paperclip. 

It’s easy:  just knock over your uncapped diet Pepsi while reaching for one.

The board’s only mostly dead, but since the letters are worn off most of the lefthand vowels and the E sticks,* I’m springing for a new one. 

Maybe I should start measuring my life in keyboards instead of teaspoons**—measuring it in spilled diet Pepsi is too depressing.


News flash:  Your children’s disgust for a certain kind of cereal is directly proportional to the amount of that cereal you just brought home from the wholesale place because it was the only thing they wanted to eat for breakfast for the last two weeks.


The above is from a great post on Kataphatic

It reminds me that Janie wants roller skates for her birthday.  Maybe this weekend, I’ll take her up to a roller skating rink and see how we do.  If she still wants a pair, maybe I’ll join her—I used to be pretty good on them.  Mom says I could skate before I could walk, but I haven’t been on wheels for at least fifteen years.  Wonder if my old in-lines are in the garage?


Between Halloween and the Twelfth Day of Christmas, if you ask any three-year-old—as long as she’s ours—what vegetable she wants with dinner, the automatic answer will be either “chocolate” or “Reese’s peanut butter cups.”   Guaranteed.

When you explain that chocolate isn’t actually a vegetable, her older sister, to whom you have spent the last few bedtimes reading your beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,*** despite a persistent cough, will immediately turn on you and declare that chocolate is made from the cacao bean, so it is so a vegetable—and peanuts are, too.

If you counter that cacao beans are seeds and that peanuts are legumes, she will ask why peas and corn and lentils (with requisite gagging noises)  are okay for dinner if cacao beans and peanuts aren’t.   As you’ve wondered the same thing yourself many times, your only recourse is to tell her that, as pleased as you are that she’s pursuing a career in legislative debate,^ one more word and you’ll pull out the bag of frozen Brussels sprouts you’ve been saving for just such an occasion.

She will flee in shrieking horror, leaving your younger daughter to say, “I wike bussel spouts, Mommy.  I want dem,” and to throw a tantrum of Oscar-worthy intensity when you admit you don’t have any.

This is why Because I said so is a perfectly good answer when the Mommy code doesn’t allow you to say, “Because chocolate is for breakfast.”


Eight hundred more words and some polish and the next section of Fun Project will be on its way a day early, leaving me with an entire day to . . . get cracking on serious project’s next chapter.  Which, I think, could use a paperclip or two.



*Does anyone happen to know what the most frequently used letter is, at least for English-writing typists?  That’s right.

**A brownie point for those who can ID the reference, which is one of my favorite poems.  Another brownie point for giving me the line you like best.

***With different voices and the Oompa-Loompa songs and everything. I rock the Oompa-Loompa songs—I don’t really have the chops for anything else.

^And that she knows lentils are legumes and corn kernels are seeds.  Go, Food Network!