Defining Romance

Candy equals love. Or, so I thought. When I was in second grade, Kirk Fyson placed a box of candy on my desk with a handwritten note wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day. I was smitten. I fondled each heart-shaped morsel while re-reading the messages in a whisper. Flipping them back and forth with my fingers, I would eventually consume them and my mouth would turn bright pink. Be mine. Love you. Kiss me. I recited them over and over in my head. Meanwhile, all the classroom activity around me remained just a muffled blur. I was in love. My candy told me so.

Growing up, my Valentine’s Days had very mixed reviews. It morphed into funny cards, handmade cards, photo collages, boxes of candy and a few lovely flower arrangements. Romantic dinners and dancing were a joy. Dressing up was my favorite part. And yes, indeed, some February 14th’s were a complete disappointment. A break-up just prior to the big day was an instant deflator, or the flu would hit, or some forgetful moron I was dating would go surfing and completely forget the date entirely. Needless to say, he was instantly off the list.

Fast forward to today, and, indeed, my husband is very thoughtful. He showers me with flowers and cards and even makes the dinner reservation all by himself for our evening out on the town. We often return to the restaurant where we had our first blind date. We glide right past the table where we dined that very first evening, and we smile and squeeze each other’s hand. It is fraught with wonderful memories for both of us.

After being wined and dined, a precious box magically appears on the table. And, just like the blue box, I know exactly what is inside. I anticipate it every year. It contains the most decadent dark chocolate turtles by Valenza Chocolatier. Large pecans anchor the gooey, rich caramel, and I can just picture the warm dark chocolate that was drizzled on top, overflowing along the sides. One bite and I am so gone.

Chocolate equals love. No. Chocolate IS love.

Deirdre Michalski is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. You can read more about her adventures on her website