I have found the answer as to why chocolate is so loved. It comes down to this: its versatility. In fact, so accommodating and versatile is the chocolate, it could be a metaphor, if not symbol, for world peace. We have a number of new chocolates that prove the point beyond reason:
Chocolate covered ginger patties. The Mesoamerican chocolate merged with the Asian ginger plant for a perfect balance of spicy, bitter and sweet. All the better as these are hand-dipped in a shop that opened generations ago.
Chocolate covered apricot glace´. The cultivated apricot originated in the Mideast and Mediterranean, where, exactly, no one knows. So did the process of coating fruit in a sugar glaze aka glace´ – this goes back to the 1300s, probably earlier. The sugar tasted good, acted as a preservative, and had health-benefits. Naturally, chocolate, with its Mesoamerican roots, accommodates it nicely.
Chocolate-covered coconut Needhams. This one is the oldest of our new selections, a favorite of a Reverend George Needham in the 1870s. The authentic ingredients include potatoes. We know how the European potatoes got to Maine but how about the coconut? Maine was a hub for whaling ships who traveled the world in search of whale meat and oils…and returned with other exotic prizes, the coconut among them.
As always, if you have any great examples of chocolate merging with other fruits, let us know. Something passed along from your family? Even better!