This post first appeared on Annmarie Kostyk’s blog, Chocolate Goddess. Check it out for great recipes, and the largest resource of makers of 70% or higher dark chocolate bars.
Well into my vacation, I dream that instead of putting the nightly deposits in the safe, Ben puts five bags of cash in the milk chocolate ganache and all the deposit slips and till tapes in the dark chocolate ganache. All the while the machines are spinning and everyone is oblivious to the shredded bits of banknotes floating in their fondues.
He rationalizes it as the equivalent of putting the family heirlooms in the cereal box because the home invader would never think to look there. I wake up fretting about whether or not that tactic is food safe.
I tell the story over breakfast to my wife who is trying to feed our 2-1/2 year old. Levi gets to pour a glass of water onto his make believe rock garden every time he eats a big spoonful of Cheerios. Picking her battles, my wife is convinced she’s won this one. Between shoveling processed oats into his mouth, and trying to feed herself, I ask her if she thinks the dream is indicative of my constant state of worry that the chocolate shop will be in disarray when we get back to town.
She thinks it’s simple; there was too much MSG in the previous night’s Chinese takeout.
Convinced I’ve foretold a variation of some sort of calamity, I send Ben a text. “How’s it going?” I’m nothing if not succinct. He’s slow to reply, which is disconcerting because like all my staff, their iPhones are in their aprons, set to vibrate, and always at the ready. I assume the Café has either burnt down, or Ben’s leading a staff retreat at the Lions Pub.
Soon my BlackBerry plays the opening refrain to the James Bond Theme, the song I’ve set as Ben’s alert. I like to think of him as an operative and me as the mysterious benevolent chocolate dictator, and all our communiqués are top secret. “May I speak?” is his cryptic text that lets me know he can chat on the phone if I’m available. I call him up.
We exchange hi, how are you’s, then he’s all business.
“Things are quite good”, he says, “people still want to eat chocolate even if you’re not here”.
I get the numbers, all the phone messages, and updates on various staff drama, and am temporarily reassured.
“Cohen’s taken it upon himself to make a merchandising statement in honor of Pride weekend, using only the Queen Cake chocolate bar”, Ben tells me, trying to contain his laughter. “You’ll definitely have to put it into production when you get back”.
Queen Cake is Mink’s 70% dark chocolate bar hand filled with marzipan. It’s my take on some versions of king cake eaten during the carnival season in the South. Didn’t think of it at the time, but I guess the cross promotion is self evident.
Ben and I hang up. I’m home in a couple of days. They’ve managed without me, and done quite well actually, so at my wife’s behest, I’m going to try and chill the rest of the trip.
I hit the pool. I’m trying to finish Candy Freak by Steve Almond, billed as a journey through the chocolate underbelly of America. I started the paperback just after Christmas, when the hysteria of the biggest chocolate season of the year slowly wound down, but put it aside as both the 2010 Winter Olympics and the start of construction on the new Mink A Chocolate Café retail outlet at Morgan Crossing was getting underway.
I pick it up at the bookmark. Two pages into this candy porn confessional, and I’m fast asleep. I dream that everyone in the Café is eating my chocolate bars like Big Walter Horton playing the harmonica, sliding them from side to side. Ben’s playing boogie woogie blues on an old upright piano. The keyboard not only makes music, it can send text messages. I learn the deposit is in the safe. It’s easier to sleep when there’s nothing to worry about.
Mink Chocolates Inc.,
Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.
Call the store: 604.633.2451
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Nine out of every ten persons say they love chocolate. The tenth lies.
– Anthelme Brillat-Savarin