I’ve noticed that few adults are comfortable admitting a shameless love for holidays and the traditional foods they engender. Turns out it’s oftentimes associated with that social-pariah status known as “basic.” I can count on one hand those I know who admit to hotly anticipating Thanksgiving or Christmas. But poor ’ole Valentines Day tends to elicit an eye roll and snarky swipes at Hallmark (holiday HQ for us greeting-card-loving basic bitches). These naysayers are not my people. My people are those who own an encyclopedic collection of cookie cutters and seasonally themed sprinkle sets. My people plan menus weeks in advance, then save said menus for years, tucked into favorite cookbooks, dog-eared and splattered with batter and butter. My people embrace any excuse (who am I kidding, like we need one) to buy expensive handmade chocolate, even if they eat them all alone while watching Cyrano de Bergerac (Depardieu, not Ferrar). For my people, I fear not.
But I’m pretty worried about the rest of you guys. Let me spill a little secret: Food is love, especially when it’s small batch and made by hand. Obviously, I write this from a perspective of privilege and in a pair of pants with more than a soupçon of lycra, but I’m pretty freaked out that current conversations about food tend to almost always turn to what people are piously not eating, as opposed to what they eagerly are. (I’m looking at you rolled oat, applesauce, and carob powder “cookie.” #sugar-free, #gluten-free, #vegan)
This week, I offer up our Food Is Love series: five shameless plugs for sugar, flour, butter, and chocolate—all under the auspices of Valentine’s Day indulging.
Note: I’m not advocating a steady diet of caramels and cookies, but let’s live a little, people.
Exhibit A: These filled chocolate lips (think orange and red wine, amaretto caramel, and truffle with red chili), salty caramel-filled hearts, and outrageously tasty bars are the ne plus ultra of local chocolate production. Shalini Latour is nothing less than a high priestess of chocolate improvisation. She turns up the heat on white chocolate’s one dimensional richness (as in the Cadberry bunnies of yore) by adding crystalized ginger, orange, and smoked habanero chili for a spicy variety called, apropos, “Naughty.” Latour’s Dark Passion bar studs dark chocolate with dried hibiscus flower, blood orange, and cinnamon—a combination so sultry and exotic that it conjures up cover art from Regency-era, bodice-ripping romance novels. Fear not, all Chocolats Latour items are available at Coffee Emporium, Dean’s Mediterranean, and Jungle Jims, but supplies may be limited.