Actually I’m a little bored
You want me to go outside and play?
But it’s cold outside
None of my sweaters fit anymore
The one the old lady with the hairy nose made for me?
It smells like dentures
I can’t breathe when she squeezes me so hard
But I won’t have any fun outside, guaranteed
I need two grilled cheese sandwiches
I’m going to have lunch outside with Thomas
He’s my new friend
And another sweater
He’s cold too
He doesn’t have any clothes at all
He’s a snowman
I’m going to marry him
Can we come inside and play in my room?
Oh don’t worry. I’ll take care of him
He can sleep in the bathtub
We can turn off the heat
Dada can get more ice from the gas station
I don’t need any more baths
I thought you loved me
I bet Hannah’s mama would let her keep Thomas
Can I have a dog?
Call toll free: 1.866.283.5181
This month Lisa Part reprises her role as Mink’s guest blog contributor.
Make Someone Happy With Chocolate
It is surprising how many people think of chocolate as being a cheat’s gift, as something that they might buy without putting any real thought into it at all. It may surprise you even more to know that we think this notion is wronger than a wrong thing that studied at Wrong University. Chocolate as a gift is something that can be tailor made, created for someone with real passion and given for a variety of reasons. Not only that, it actually has a really strong history behind it that is very interesting and covers many different countries across the world
When did buying chocolate for someone become popular?
To discover the origins of chocolate as a gifting item, you have to go right back into the annals of history, when people had to make their own entertainment (and consequently ended up with rather large families). In fact, you have to go right back to The Aztecs, who had entirely the right notion about cocoa. They believed it was a gift from the Gods and therefore something that was suitable to give to noble people and royalty. They made their own versions of a cocoa type drink to give out and for years kept it as their own. If the Spaniards hadn’t invaded Aztec lands and demanded that they hand over their cocoa beans so that people across the world could enjoy them, Mink Chocolates might not exist today. That’s a sad thought…
Once cocoa beans had started to traverse the continents, other cultures started to pick up on this notion of it being something rich and spectacular to indulge in or give as a gift.
You know Casanova? He passed alcohol over for chocolate, believing that it was cocoa that gave him his legendary virility, rather than the quaffing of fine wines many others were known for. He didn’t seem to struggle much did he?
However, in relatively modern times, it’s the plucky sugar loving Brits we have to thank for really making the notion of chocolate as a gift take off – and believe it or not, it took a war for it to actually become a reality. It was Queen Victoria who took it upon herself to send troops who were fighting in the Boer War boxes of fancy chocolates, to cheer them up and give them a little taste of home as they battled in foreign climes and missed their loved ones. This idea caught on all across Europe so that by the mid 20th Century, chocolate was the gift to give to anyone you loved. In fact it was Edwin Starr who sang:
“War, huh yeah – what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, uh huh, War, huh yeah – what is it good for? Well I got a box of chocolates in the last one, uh huh”.
OK, might have made that last bit up…
Why give chocolate today?
A little history lesson is always good, but it’s the here and now that’s important and people need to get used to the idea that giving real, good quality chocolate is a thoughtful and kind gift with a lot of feeling behind it. You can:
Really make someone smile…
Harking back to good old Queen Victoria – a woman best known for not being amused, she might have done well to have a little bit of the old dark cocoa solids herself from time to time, (it might have made her laugh bit more, for one thing). See, the notion that chocolate can help with depression is not a new one. The signs and symptoms of depression in women are often such that they report a craving for sweet, carbohydrate based foods either generally or at certain times of the month. That’s why giving a box of good quality dark chocolate can not only be thoughtful, but actually help to improve someone’s mood. Two of the main minerals in chocolate and in particular dark chocolate are Magnesium and Chromium, known for being good at relaxing people and boosting serotonin in the brain. It really is worth a try for anyone who needs a little cheering up. In moderation, it’s a good thing to enjoy.
Tell someone you love them
Don’t say it with flowers. Flowers don’t taste nice with a cup of coffee. You know, our aforementioned Mr Casanova did actually have a point. It was believed that chocolate could not only help to increase libido if you were in a relationship – hence the rush on cocoa based comestibles on Valentines Day – but would also help your wilted ego pep up in the event that you got dumped, too. It is said in times gone by that French Doctors used to prescribe (or recommend at the very least) chocolate to anyone suffering from a broken heart as it would help them recover and improve their mood. Just don’t go into their surgery and ask them to write you a prescription for a bar of Certifiably Nutty…
Say thank you
It’s easy to say “thank you” to someone (though not enough people do these days generally) but you can really show you’re grateful to someone by giving them a gift box of chocolates – especially so if you tailor it to their own personal likes. Picking out someone’s favorite flavors, tastes and sensations and gifting them a box of really good chocolate is so much nicer than buying something off the shelf from the local grocery store.
Do it just because
Sometimes you don’t need a reason at all. Sometimes a surprise is the nicest thing. Hey, it’s Tuesday! It’s Happy Tuesday Chocolate Day! That could work, right? I like your shoes, I bought you a box of Mink Chocolates because they’re so nice…I think we’re the same size. I’ve got a party coming up next weekend, can I borrow them….? Oh well, it was worth a shot…
Wednesday. Dave Newson, man at large, joins me at Holt Renfrew to meet the visual display people and discuss the props available for our Valentines pop-up store. I envision chandeliers, mannequins, black velvet curtains swagged from the ceiling. They offer up a six foot table and a power bar. Dave senses my profound disappointment and assures me he’ll make it work. I skulk back to Mink and take an Advil.
Thursday. Dave pulls the two primary colors from the Mink Valentines poster, and arranges to have wide vinyl striping applied alternately on the table. He coerces them into giving up a couple of plinths with glass cubes that he’ll use to showcase my Artist Series bonbon boxes and anchor either side of the table. He pulls a graphic detail from the poster and instructs the vinyl guy to produce a band with that image in repetition that will finish off the bottom of the cubes. He confirms there is more to come.
Friday. I have one week to produce all the chocolate I’ll need for the pop-up shop, as well as the Mink store downtown and the one at Morgan Crossing. Sales volume from last year isn’t much of a predictor, as Valentines coincided with the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics, and the organizing committee, Vanoc, scared the bejeezus out of everyone and implored them not to come downtown unless absolutely necessary. We still had a great holiday, albeit not entirely an accurate reflection of our potential.
What’s the mood this year? In retail, unless there are significant indicators of pending calamity, you have to be an optimist and plan for a 10% increase. But the pop-up store? It’s entirely unknown. Holts is the pinnacle of fashion retailing in Canada. I should kill, but what if I don’t? Hand filled hearts don’t have the same value the day after. I take the rest of the afternoon off to work from home.
Saturday. Mrs. Mink is planning Jr. Minks 3rd birthday at the Sunset Community Center. The list of planned activities is long, and the guest list longer. She runs a few perfunctory details past me, knowing I’m only half paying attention. I perk up slightly when she references something about paying for it all from our joint account, but I’ll clarify that at the end of the month when the statement comes.
Sunday. I get an electronic e-vite to my son’s soiree. I open it, admire the choice of template, and click on my name. I have the option of attending for sure, attending maybe, or not attending. I choose the latter. For the benefit of all the parents of his pre-school buddies and their nannies, I feel compelled to decline with an explanation. Levi originally had a due date of February 15. Had he adhered to the schedule, I’d be having cupcakes after finger-painting. He chose to take an earlier flight, and arrived on the 13th.
The day before Valentines, and the day of Valentines, are the two single biggest days in the chocolate business. By the time my business will allow me to party with the pre-schoolers, he’ll be in University. I go into his room and interrupt him playing with his trains. I tell him I love him and I’m sorry I won’t be at his birthday party. I try and explain that had he stayed in his womb until it was time to leave, I’d be there. He gave me one of those innocent quizzical looks he so often does, then asked if Toopy and Binoo would be there instead.
Monday. I’m stressed. Shecky texts me to say stressed backwards is dessert, and that I should have some rice pudding. Instead, I walk up to the Bentall Center and get my shoes shined. Sitting in the chair, watching my Blundstones get a new lease on life, I think back to when I’d go with my Dad on Saturday’s to get haircuts, him a shoeshine, then off to Mikes Cigar Store, where he got a stogey and I got a Dinky Toy. I couldn’t tell you anything about my birthday parties from those years, but I’ll never forget Saturdays. I call my wife and propose that going forward we celebrate the kids birthday on his due date, not his actual arrival date. Valentines will be in the books, and I won’t have to make excuses.
Mink Chocolates Inc.,
Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.
Call the store: 604.633.2451
Call my mobile: 604.376.3464
Call toll free: 1.866.283.5181
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In Person: 863 Hastings Street West, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N9