Monday, October 29, 2012


One of my favorite movies of all time is Chocolat. If you haven’t seen it – DO! The acting, scenery, and storyline are fabulous. It has multiple plotlines, some dealing with serious topics, but remains quirky throughout. The authenticity of the little town and characters make you want to move there. Of course, then you’d be living on a movie set.

I won’t ruin the story for you if you haven’t seen it. But to tempt you, the gorgeous Juliette Binoche plays the main character. She befriends the amazing Judy Dench and talented Lena Olin. The movie is dripping with all things chocolate, and just when you think your sweet tooth is satisfied, in comes Johnny Depp.

One of the many chocolate items featured in the film is hot chocolate. Now, this isn’t just any hot chocolate. It’s ultra thick and has a hint of chili pepper in it.

This movie sparked my interest in chili chocolate. I was hesitant at first, imagining chocolate with strong Mexican flavor. Really, chili chocolate is nothing more than yummy chocolate with an after bite of heat in your mouth. It’s wonderful.

And because they have it all, Van Otis offers their version of spicy chocolate. Dark Volcano Bark and Milk Volcano Bark can be found at VO’s retail store in Manchester, New Hampshire. Well, I say they have it all. Johnny Depp isn’t included.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Let the Games Begin

The Olympics reminded me how important it is to train for any sport. Therefore, I started early and believe I’m prepared for fall sports season. I streamlined the time it takes me to maneuver a folding canvas chair in and out of its ridiculously compact carrying case. I can throw my voice to carry “Go Team” a fair distance. I’ve also worked my rotator cuffs so that I can swat mosquitoes in my nether region. I’m ready to play sports spectator.

If you have elementary-aged kids, they may participate in a volunteer recreational program. This is the time when the parents are divided – volunteer coach or spectator. I’ve always fallen into the spectator category. I figured I’d be much better at it than coach.

Not every parent volunteer does this type of self-analysis before raising their hand. My kids have had their fair share of well-intended volunteer coaches who carry a For Dummies book in their back pocket and yell, “Good Try!” a lot.

I never judge. I think that anyone who will give up 6-8 hours each week to teach kids how to field a baseball rather than pick dandelions deserves only gratitude.

But here’s the dilemma. What do you give these volunteers at the end of the season to express your appreciation?

Van Otis has a tasteful solution to your gifting needs. The Sweet Impressions line offers chocolate plaques for football, tennis, soccer, baseball, and music enthusiasts. Most plaques also have accompanying foil-wrapped chocolates to compliment each theme.