Do you remember the not-so-good old days when most “boxed chocolates” were heart-shaped and could be found at your local drug store? It is not that I miss those days because, frankly, the Whitman’s sampler and Russel Stover boxes were really not that good. Nothing can be good that has a 5-year shelf life.
Times have clearly changed. There is no longer such a thing as “just” milk or dark chocolate. People want to know what percentage of real cacao is in chocolate. Is it single origin? Is it organic and fairly traded? Today’s Chocolate can wear anything from bacon and chili to anything else you can dream up.
I do love sampling all of the cool new-fangled varieties of chocolate products, but every once in a blue moon, as in once during a particular time of every month, I crave chocolate and I don’t crave chocolate bacon bars or $80 a pound Cocoa Bella chocolates. I definitely don’t crave Godiva. I crave/need the Assorted box from See’s.
Before Godiva took over the “box of chocolates” market in the 80’s, for the West coast, there was See’s. When I was little, I remember walking into See’s candies with my mom to buy one piece of chocolate because they automatically gave you another one for free. This just seemed like the most amazing thing in the world to me. All See’s Candie’s stores look the same. They are stark white with black and white checkered floors and boxes of chocolates wrapped in whatever holiday is coming next. I think the sales people have worn the same uniform since See’s was founded in 1921, white shirts and skirts/pants with a little black tie.
I love See’s, but like many, assumed that the ingredients were probably not the best. I am a nerd as most of you know, so I wrote See’s and asked them if their chocolates contained hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup and guess what? They don’t. In fact, if Wikipedia is correct, they get all of their chocolate from Guittard in San Francisco. Guittard is a family-owned, premiere chocolate maker where many of the best chef’s in the US get their chocolate. I’m snapping my fingers in a z-formation. Take that, Godiva.
HOW TO EAT A BOX OF SEE’S: Start with a 1/2 lb box of “Assorted” chocolates. In my non-expert opinion, you don’t go to See’s for truffles, you go to See’s for a “box of chocolates”. Open the box, bring it close to your face, close your eyes and take a nice long whiff of chocolatiness. Make sure and let everyone know that this is YOUR box of chocolates. My technique involves taking a bite out of every piece. Gross you say? I think not. I usually do this anyway because I forget what the centers contain. There are only one or two that I can identify just by looking at them. If you must share, buy two boxes.
I sometimes wish See’s would re-vamp their packaging and web site a bit in order to compete with all the fancy new chocolate companies’ but this would go against who they are. They have been around since 1921 and I don’t think they are going anywhere. What would I do every month if they did?!
If you don’t have a See’s near you, fear not, you may order from their lovely web site!
I am sure some of you are wondering why I didn’t go into detail about the different flavors. As Mrs. Gump said. “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” — Why ruin the surprise?