A Valentine’s kick in the buds

Tim and I are not really “into” Valentine’s Day. It’s not something we systematically decided as a couple; it’s not a stand we’re taking (it is, however, quite convenient that we share our opinion about it). But yesterday he left for a quick trip to Baltimore, and in his absence, surprised me by defying our established pattern of ignoring the Gooey Day of Love. Heading to bed last night, fairly exhausted, I found this on my pillow:

Have you ever had one of these? They are fantastic. I first heard of mixing chocolate with heat a few years ago, when I was working the counter at a local bakery. One Valentine’s day, the pastry chef cooked up something she called “Chocolate Bombs,” which were basically dark chocolate truffles with cayenne pepper. It sounds like an odd combo, but really it’s brilliant. I don’t want this every time I eat chocolate — but every once in a while, you must allow yourself to experience: rich dark chocolate, with the occasional bite of sweet dried cherry, countered explosively by the finish of ancho chili heat. It’ll leave you wanting more, and then maybe just a tiny bit more. I promised Tim on the phone last night that I’d save him some. Is this what they mean by tough love?


Addendum: I was just flipping through my revered copy of Perfect Scoop, because it’s been way too long since I used my ice cream maker. I landed on a recipe for Aztec “Hot” Chocolate ice cream, where the description points out that the tradition of mixing chocolate with chile peppers goes back about a thousand years. So, I’m apparently a little late in the game.

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