Taste, like smell, holds incredible memory power, so naturally, chocolate memories are clearly etched in my mind. Three moments in particular stand out for me, for their flavor and their impact on my chocolate journey.
The first took place when I was twelve years old. My family had moved from California to Georgia a few years earlier, causing my best friend and I to be separated by over 2,000 miles. When her Bat Mitzvah approached, my mom agreed to take me out to California for a mother-daughter trip, including attending the big event. I had never been to a Bat Mitzvah before, and Stephanie’s was impressive for its glittery decorations, for the incredible number of guests, and for all that I learned about Judaism that day. Also on that trip, my mom and I visited Ghirardelli Square, watched chefs making chocolate behind the glass windows, and ate massive chocolate sundaes together. The trip made me feel grown up and close to my mom in a new way. It was also my first memorable moment with chocolate!
The next experience took place about six years later. I was studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico, doing an internship with Adelante Abroad and immersing myself in Spanish. One of my favorite things to do in a new place is walk the streets, observing the people and the culture in action. So, I spent many days walking around the main square or Zocalo. A large part of it was under construction, so I often had to weave through scaffolding to visit the smaller alleys and walkways. One day, I came across the Mayordomo main storefront. The walls are lined with chocolate products, stacked all the way to the ceiling! I had never seen anything like it, and it smelled amazing. I bought a few grainy rounds of the thick drinking chocolate as souvenirs for my friends and family. The unique flavors of this chocolate were different from any chocolate I had ever experienced. I was by no means an expert then (nor do I claim to be now), but I could tell it was something special.
Recently, I visited some old friends. One of them is pregnant and due in January. I asked her if she ever has any cravings now. She shook her head, saying that she just eats more than usual. Then she paused and remembered out loud, she actually did crave something – that crazy chocolate I had brought her from Mexico back in high school! I couldn’t believe she remembered the chocolate I brought her almost 10 years ago and went online to see if I could order some to give her as a baby present. Unfortunately Mayordomo only has online sales for Mexican addresses. If anyone knows where I can buy Mayordomo in the US, particularly in the Bay Area in California, I’d really appreciate it!
The third memory I’ll mention for now happened earlier this year. In April, Richard led a backpacking trip for a group of our friends to the Lost Coast in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, which is a beautiful and remote area of California. We packed light but needed to carry in (and out) all of our food. I had been unsatisfied with trail mixes recently, so I made my own, including some Hershey’s milk chocolate chips I found in the back of the pantry. Later, when we reached the beach where we’d camp for the night, we pulled out the trail mix to re-energize. (Side note – this part was absolutely stunning and I highly recommend this hike for the adventurous trekker!) Yum, it tasted delicious!
Recently, when I re-tasted the trail mix, I almost spit out the chocolate chips, a reaction Richard had when he first tasted the mix back in April. Our chocolate tastes have clearly evolved this year. In fact, I think we’re becoming chocolate snobs!
What are your more memorable chocolate moments? Share in the comments below!