It's Time for the Emergency Chocolate Run
Forget About Space Mountain for Now
I know what you're thinking. California has so many things to do and see and you're talking about a candy store?
My response to you is that I know there are a lot of things to do in California like visiting Disney or Hollywood or driving up to the Big Sur. But the reality is that in California there is a best kept secret. It's a place that most Californians know about but visitors seldom discover. There is a candy store here with the most mouth-watering chocolates on the planet. It literally makes you crazy.
So forget about Space Mountain or seeing John Wayne's Hollywood star or driving along the Pacific Coast Highway. Skip these iconic spots for now--go right to a place called See's Candies and get some of that yummy confectionery into your belly. You'll float around sunny California in ecstasy--I promise!
A Candy Selection that's Etched in Memory
In the White Room with White Curtains
I try to stay away from chocolates that are sold in supermarkets or pharmacies. My feeling is why waste your money on regular chocolate when you can fill up your tummy with the best.
So when that moment hits us, when my girlfriend and I are absolutely dying for some cocoa in our veins, we hop into the Rav 4 and make our way up State Street to Five Points, turn left at the light and find a parking space across from See's Candy.
The candy store sits between a row of stores that includes a wine store and a couple of food chains. Its facade is all white and its name stands a top in black letters. It's curtains are typically drawn during the sunny parts of the day.
The inside of the store is white and it has an antiseptic feel. The candy display jumps out at you like a hungry shark. All those chocolates lined up in perfect rows and columns. Everything is in order. Everything is just perfect.
The candies are systematically categorized into milk chocolates, dark chocolates, white chocolates, nuts and chews, brittles and toffees--along with the fudges and the truffles.
Although the candies are separated by a clean pane of glass, it is a thing of beauty as you inhale the intoxicating candy smells deep into your lungs. Inhale too much and you might get a little lightheaded and rubbery-legged.
In the white room with white curtains, the candies are all around you, frozen in time. You don't know for a brief moment where you are, you are lost in space. You are in a state of limbo between heaven and earth and all you have to do is choose your candy...chocolate cream-filled truffle or a kona mocha or a California crunch or a white chocolate cashew brittle or maple walnut or a scotchmallow. I guarantee your head will spin with all the choices as the lady in white behind the counter smiles and offers you a sample of the milk chocolate bordeaux.
My head spins like it did during those college fraternity parties. The smiling lady offers my girlfriend one of her favorites, the Polar Bear Paw. She eats it and she growls in pleasure. I eat my mouth-watering sample and my eyes roll to the back of my head.
I take a deep breath and ask for another free sample to last me until I fill up my bag.
A Happy Sampler
A Nice and Friendly Willy Wonka
Sometimes I think of the back room of See's Candy. I imagine it is a big and beautiful chocolate room. I wonder what goes on and what it would be like to be there.
I imagine it to be like the room at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory but with more of a warm and friendly vibe, without a loony and sarcastic Gene Wilder or the creepy and sinister Johnny Depp.
i imagine seeing the river of chocolate, dark and milky waters moving along throughout the room in big waves. I dream of taking a swim, doing the backstroke and floating atop the slow moving river in dreamland.
I imagine sipping on a fizzy lifting drink given by the friendly maiden of candies. I am in cocoa nirvana as I am rich, having several golden tickets in one hand and a piece of chocolate pecan fudge in the other.
There are no chutes or ladders that take me to the land of the lost. There's nothing to scare innocent children in here. There's no cryptic songs that hint of your demise. There's no bubble room that you can't get out of.
I only find peace and happiness in the back room at See's. Just heaven.
We Leave with a Smile on Our Faces
While my girlfriend knows exactly what she wants and makes her choices in rapid fire, I take it slow.
Part of my chocolate experience is the lingering and the gazing and smiling at those luscious cups of goodness. I also like to listen to the chocolate experts behind the counter who explain what ingredients are in the chocolates and its popularity and its magical ramifications if you should eat one.
My girlfriend and I get our own little See's bag. She has hers and I have mine and we put our names on them and make sure that we don't sneak into each other's bag. Because each piece of chocolate is precious and valuable to its own particular owner.
So at some point, when I'm too tired of standing up, I start making my selections. I pick the chocolates carefully and with much thought. I don't like the caramel or the brittle ones. I love dark chocolate and anything coconut, so I make my way to the coconut special.
Once my bag is full, I shuffle to the register. The cashier reminds me that there's a sale on the peanut brittle but I decline like a gentleman. We pay gladly, not caring how much it cost and we leave the White Room with White Curtains with a bag in our hand and a smile on our faces. Our emergency run, completed.
Hey, that Bag has My Name on it!
- Helps with depression
- Provides energy
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Helps reduce tumors
- Reduces effects of premenstrual syndrome
- Chocolate high in cocoa dejects tooth decay
- Enhances sexuality
Meditation on Chocolate
Sitting comfortably or lying down with eyes closed, let's begin by becoming aware of the dark chocolate between your lips ......
Feel the taste as it enters with a cool feeling and then warming as it gently travels down into the belly.....
Filling the belly, awakening your taste buds, bringing in energy, vitality and prana, the life force.....
Stay with this wonderful taste, focusing on the feeling of deep peace for ten deep dark and creamy inhalations and exhalations....
Become aware of its sugary, sweetness in every cell.....
Feel the wave of chocolate travel down into your body from the top of your head, slowly going down into your face and neck, traveling down into the shoulders, all the way down into the arms, down to the fingertips.....
Feel the healing chocolate energy going down your chest, all the way down to your hips.....
Feel it continue traveling down your legs all the way down to your toes.....