They come in a boring cardboard box…

Dec 6, 2020 | 2 comments

Nyel’s Box of “Darks”

Anyone who knows Nyel very well knows that he loves chocolate — the darker the better.  Me… not so much.  Especially not the darkest kind.  However, there is a special place in my heart for Dilettante Chocolates (especially the Not Dark ones) from Seattle because they were significant when Nyel was courting me.  But that’s another story.

Recently, I ran across some of the articles my Uncle Willard wrote in the 1940s for his “Family Man” column in Good Housekeepting Magazine.  The name of this particular piece was “On my likes and dislikes in chocolate candy” and it could have been written about Nyel and me!  Here is how it begins:   

Almost “A Plain Brown Wrapper”

This is a highly personal plea to anyone who may ever take a notion to present our household with a box of chocolate candy.
First, a clarification: the card on the box may read “to Hilda,” but it is Hilda’s husband who will do the eating.  Hilda is not particularly fond of chocolates, and I am.  This fondness is partly responsible for our marriage.  When we were courting, I used to bring her boxes of choice candy, which I always ate; the arrangement was ideal, killing two birds with one stone; I would never have dreamed of buying such fine candy for myself.  One night I bit into a particularly toothsome caramel, and before the taste had faded from my tongue I found myself engaged.

One other paragraph in his column also could have been written by Nyel (If Nyel were a writer.  Which he is not.)
Alas, one man’s sweet is another man’s poison.  Mixed chocolates plucked from a drugstore counter contain much of heaven, but much also of hell.  I have never learned to decipher the insignia which mean to the initiated that this piece is flavored with peppermint and mint, while that one is a compound of ragweed.  So I go fumbling doggedly through each box, still confident despite inumerable disillusionments that every square chocolate is a chew and every round one a vanilla drop…

Sydney’s Box of “Lights”

Nyel has solved that particular problem by just ordering “Dark Ephemere” — the darkest of the dark chocolate truffles from Dilettante Chocolates by Dana Taylor Davenport, Chocolatier.  Each toothsome bite is guaranteed to be dark chocolate through and through!  Too bad he and Willard never had the chocolate conversation!  I wonder if my sainted uncle even knew about these morsels of perfection?  They’ve been around since 1898, so maybe…





  1. Kristina Jones

    Beloved Cuz,

    Ahhhh, Christmas again! AND chocolates! Two of my favorite things with some current adaptations: 1. I only have a 14 inch Christmas tree which is a pot of rosemary all decorated up to be planted later and 2. no chocolate for this kid. No sugar. No nuthin really FUN with food unless you can count cheese with broccoli, which really doesn’t qualify. Ah well. I remember boxes of See’s candy arriving throughout the holidays. Especially prominent was a two layer version that Bruce and Kash and I finished off in one never to be forgotten evening when the parents were not at home; out playing bridge or something. We got in trouble but OH was it worth it! Seasonings to you, Dear Heart! Love, KK

  2. sydney

    Kuzzin Kris — I hope it doesn’t interfere with things if I eat a piece now and then on your behalf! I SO admire your discipline am mightily impressed with the results! You are a role model for us all (except for with regard to a little chocolate during the holidays.)
    Love, S.


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