Fruit and Chocolate

It was a standard Hanukkah party thrown by my Grandfather and his then-wife Bea. All the usual characters were there and Bea fluttered around the room, true to her name, making sure everyone was happy. I, being about 7 or 8 years old, was bored out of my mind. Don't get me wrong, it was a lovely party but I was the oldest grandchild, the next oldest being my sister and believe me I had seen enough of her. I whined to my mother, "Can we go nnnooowww???" "No sweetie", she said in her perfectly even keeled voice. To this day I don't know how my mother is so patient. I need a lesson. "We haven't even had dessert yet. Go have fun with the other kids", she cooed. I gave her the biggest eye roll I could muster and skulked back into the other room, head hung low in defeat. And then, as I passed the dining room buffet table I saw them. The biggest, most delicious looking strawberries dipped in chocolate. Some had dark chocolate, others white chocolate, and even ones with white and dark chocolate stripes. From an early age I had a deep appreciate for chocolate and strawberries separately, but together, oh, my little brain could barely handle it! I had never seen chocolate-covered strawberries before and if I had, they sure as hell did not look like these. The berries were about the size of my fist and the chocolate fit each like a snug little bootie. "These are chocolate covered strawberries from the best dessert shop in town", Bea whispered to me. "Very special". Heck yeah they're special, I thought. So special I'm going to eat them all!

I took my time choosing just the right one to begin the berry eating extravaganza. It had to be the biggest but also contain the most chocolate surface area. That one? Nope, the chocolate doesn't go close enough to the stem. Maybe this one? Eh, a little too small. Finally, smack in the middle of Bea's perfectly arranged dessert plate, I found MY chocolate-dipped strawberry. The berry was giant and beginning to sweat a little from the heavy coat of dark chocolate surrounding it. Here we go!

The first bite was exhilarating! Chocolate, strawberry goodness finally converging with my anxious taste buds. It wasn't until the confection hit the back of my tongue that I knew something was terribly wrong. This tasted awful! Actually worse. It didn't taste like anything at all. The chocolate coated my naive little tongue with a tasteless waxy-like substance that I could not seem to scrape off and the strawberry tasted like water. Not even strawberry favored water. Just plan boring water.

Yuck! This was disgusting! Of course I tried one more small bite just to make sure and yup, this thing was inedible. It was then that I decided (and as you know, I stick to my decisions) that all chocolate covered fruit items were to be banned from my edible repertoire. I'm sure some of you are thinking this decree was unfair. These confections were obviously not representing berries and chocolate at their finest. Perhaps if I had started with a flavor-bursting organic strawberry and gourmet dark chocolate things would have turned out differently. (I have since tested the organic version and am still not impressed.)

Having sworn off all fruit and chocolate combinations for the last two decades, you can imagine my reaction when my dear friend Jennifer sent me a recipe for Blueberry Truffles. Immediate reaction.....gross! After staring at the recipes for a good month I thought, "You know, Jennifer has very good taste and I've been holding onto this grudge for quite a while. Why not let it go and try these." By the way, I highly recommend talking to yourself daily. It really helps.

As it turns out these truffles are the smoothest, most delicious one-bite treat I've ever made. No joke. The creaminess of the walnuts mixed with the sharp sweet of date and chocolaty richness is fantastic. Now I don't know if I will ever be a fan of strawberries dipped in chocolate, but at least I know there is one fruit-chocolate combo that definitely lives up to my expectations.

Blueberry Truffles

2 cups of walnuts 1 cup of pitted dates 1 cup of frozen blueberries 1/2 cup of cocoa powder 2 tablespoons crushed oats and cocoa to roll the truffles in (mix together with a mortar and pestle or grind oats in a coffee grinder the combine)

Blend ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. Shape the mixture into small balls and roll them in oat/cocoa combo. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then serve.

Makes 12 truffles.

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