WAIT!! DON'T LEAVE!! COME BACK!! I'm alive; really, I am. I just had the exceedingly frustrating experience of a computer behaving badly for about a month, only to realize (as the first two days of our vacation pictures spiraled into the black abyss of cyberspace) that our ill-fated computer had a virus. A very, very bad virus. Basically, as my dear brother told me (and he's the resident expert on these things), it was only a matter of time before things blew up in our face. And blow up it did. But as I sit here typing this on my brand-new MacBook (I shall never, EVER return to the world of a PC), I do not wish to dwell upon my losses. I shall move on and attempt to put behind me the technological nightmare that has been my life for the past month. The hours of frustration...the wailing and gnashing of teeth...the feelings of utter stupidity and hopelessness...oh, wait; I'm supposed to be trying to move on. Okay. MOVING ON...I have just one question for you:
Are you ready for a rather Gruesome Tale of a Rather Frightening Tin of Chocolates?
I mean, really ready? Really, really ready?
Because this tale is not for the faint of heart, and it is not what you might expect it to be.
Very well; if you insist.
It all started with Customer Service Appreciation week at Steve's office. Do NOT be fooled by the benign nature of those words. For four days, employees had the chance to play a game to win "free stuff" (Steve's words) from the Customer Service Department, provided by various vendors. It seemed harmless enough, and hey; it's not like my house is overflowing with toys, crayons, coloring books, and trains (Can you sense the facetiousness??). Bring on the junk!!
Day One: Steve brings home a FedEx plane. The boys were delighted.
Day Two: Steve brings home a small FedEx truck. The boys were, well; delighted.
Day Three: Steve brings home a little something for me. Oooh! A tin of Belgian Chocolates! WOW! I totally cannot WAIT to dig into this bad boy!
Day Four: Steve brings home a giant laminated map of the world. We spread it out on our obnoxiously huge dining room table (I still have yet to find a tablecloth large enough for this monstrosity of ours), and we have a fantastic time with the boys, pointing out different countries and trying to pronounce as many names as we can. THAT was fun.
Now, before we go any further, let's look back at Day Three. Yes. The Tin of Belgian Chocolates. It was so very sweet of Steve to think of me during Customer Service Appreciation week, and I could not wait to dig in.
Seems harmless enough, right?
"Oooh, how cute," I cooed as I tore off the ribbon (which was already in the trash when I snapped this picture).
Please ignore my archaic kitchen counters.
Let's take another look.
Oops. Sorry. This is my eldest, who is convinced that he needs to Save The Day. All Day. Every Day. He is truly a kindred spirit.
*hee hee hee*
Ahem. Back to the Tin of Chocolates.
How innocent. How beguilingly innocent.
Let's open it up, shall we?
Oooh, this looks promising. It smells positively delightful; a delectable aroma of almond, hazelnut, and, of course, CHOCOLATE waft up to my eager nostrils. Wow. Eager nostrils. That's really gross. Anyway...what you don't see in this picture is a nifty little pamphlet that was placed in the box so you could read about the chocolates. I glance through hurriedly, more concerned about pigging out than learning at the moment. After all, it was just some old weird story about this guy who was in charge of this boat in Brussels, and if you couldn't pay your toll, he'd chop off your hand and throw it in the river.
You'd think something would have registered in my head after reading that. But no; I was still more concerned about the gluttonous feast awaiting me than some goofy Belgian legend, which ended with another guy chopping off the hand of the original hand-chopper-offer, and nobody in Brussels ever had to pay a boat toll ever again. Hurray for the Belgians!! The river was getting kind of nasty, after all, with all of those pesky hands floating about. Wait a minute. What? I stopped and thought for a second. Why are there multiple images of hands printed on the front of this tin? What could this possibly mean? I thought a bit more, and it dawned upon me the instant before I lifted the corrugated foam which so gracefully disguised the mayhem underneath. I drew a in a short, sharp breath and let out a small scream...
Yes; there before my eyes sat a TIN OF CHOCOLATE HANDS!!!! Have you EVER seen anything like it??? Maybe I just lead an incredibly sheltered life, but CHOCOLATE HANDS??? Seriously? Let's take another look!!
There they are.
On the bright side, they were quite delicious (although it took me a couple moments to get up the nerve to eat a chocolate hand), especially this little number:
What we have here is white chocolate with a chocolate hazelnut cream filling. Now, I am usually not a fan of white chocolate. At all. Too sweet, too waxy, and an imposter on the chocolate front. BUT...when combined with chocolate hazelnut, it's a match made in heaven. Or Belgium.
Isn't the detail work impressive and disgusting at the same time? Every fingernail, every knuckle...those chocolate artists in Brussels must be very proud.
Here's my dainty paw alongside the chocolates to give you some perspective. Yes; I have unusually long thumbs for having such small hands.
And there you have it. A Tale of a Rather Frightening Tin of Chocolates!! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed writing it. And now, time to embark upon a quest for recipes that focus on combining white chocolate and chocolate hazelnut! I'll keep you posted...and if any strange man wielding a rather large machete tries to convince you to take a boat ride with him, do the smart thing. Stay home, and eat chocolate. :)