Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fa La Stinkin' La

Years ago we invested in an artificial Christmas tree. Yes, we’re those people. We did it as a matter of principle. One year Christmas trees cost an average of $16, and the following year they were $40. Maybe it didn’t happen that quickly, but that’s what it felt like.

Last year we were digging out the Christmas decorations and could not find the base for our tree. How does something like that go missing? It’s not like we said, hey, we don’t really need this anymore, or, gee, this is taking up too much space. But, poof, it’s gone.

Ironically, we still had a stand for live trees - $16 ones – so my husband rigged up a solution that involved wooden blocks, several people, and a lot of patience.

This year I decided that I’d surprise the family by getting the tree up, lit, and ready for decorating. I had forgotten about needing several people and patience, and so the unspeakable happened – I swore at our Christmas tree.

I didn’t just swear near the Christmas tree. I swore right at it.

This clearly had to be bad ju ju. So I took a moment and grabbed a Van Otis Gingerbread truffle. This was exactly the burst of holiday that I needed. I love the spiced crunchy coating on the outside of its dark chocolate shell. The center is so creamy and tastes just like a gingersnap cookie. Yum, yum, yum.

I quickly got back into the holiday spirit, apologized to my plastic tree, and successfully finished the task at hand. No one is allowed to walk too closely or briskly by the tree – just in case.

Find other holiday-ins truffles and candies such as Gingerbread, Eggnog, Dulce de Leche, Hazelnut Praline, Candy Cane, Champagne, and my kids’ favorite, Pomegranate truffles, at Van Otis’ Manchester retail store on Elm Street in Manchester or online at

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Snowball Fights

I’m sitting here enjoying a little treat of Van Otis Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds. These crunchy almonds are coated with a sugar-glazed crunch and surrounded by handmade milk chocolate. Each chocolate-covered almond is hidden by a layer of powdered sugar, making them look like tiny snowballs in a bag.

This reminded me of the snowball fights that we’d have in my childhood neighborhood. Everyone would run home from the bus stop after school, put on oversized parkas and moon boots, and meet outside.

There was always that one kid who delayed battle by spending all afternoon on a snow fort. It was proportional, fortified, the envy of the snow kingdom. The fort came complete with a stockpile of symmetrical snowballs, which were finished just about the time our moms called us in for dinner.

Then there was the kid who was ready for war. He’d burst out of the house and immediately grab anything resembling a snowball - snow-covered rocks, ice, a shovel left out from the day before - and immediately start throwing. This kid didn’t need no stinkin’ fort.

I was the kid with good intentions. Once my mittens got wet, I traded in my war paint for a warm house and cup of hot chocolate. To my defense, corduroys and wet snow pants are a cruel test of endurance.

Inspire a memory with one of Van Otis’ holiday treats found at their Elm Street, Manchester retail store or online at