Santa's got a brand new bag, and it's loaded with candy.
You've seen those holiday chocolate commercials. People treating shiny boxes of chocolate like bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild.
But as William over at Chocolate Obsession cautions, you never know how old boxed department store chocolate will be.
How long do you think that Ferrero Rocher Christmas bell has been sitting on the shelf at Walgreen's?
Although I have nothing against Godiva, Ghirardelli, or my favorite drugstore chocolate, Lindt, I'd be reluctant to pay more than a few dollars if I didn't know how old the chocolate was.
Especially if someone, let's call him Phil, bought a $50.00 box of Godiva chocolates, then left it to fend for itself in a room containing two labrador retreivers. The one with the holiday assortment breath looked very much like Roscoe here (left).The actual culprit, a known associate, was bigger, a little older, and suffered no serious side effects. I suspect the active participation of the "smart one" (right).
There are a lot of candy gift boxes out for Christmas, and who doesn't enjoy a Whitman's Sampler under the tree.
The point being, if you're going to spend $50.00 on a box of chocolates, don't gift wrap it for your dog. No, wait, the point being, you don't know how old most gift boxes are, and as William points out, freshness is key.
Even if you don't know your neighborhood confectioner the way people used to know their butcher, support your local candy maker. Do a sweet search. Type in "chocolatier" and your city and state—enter the name of a larger town if you don't get results. We have some exceptional ones in the Madtown area. (Candinas, The Chocolate Caper, James J., Gail Abrosius) Take that, Milwaukee.
And if your dog has a sweet tooth (see previous entries on dogs and candy), try treating your expensive chocolates like food on a camping trip.