One of the funniest passages in “True Confections,” featured on the nightstand a few months back, concerned the disastrous introduction of a white-chocolate product to a small, family-owned candy company’s long-established line. It begins with a candy trade-show encounter with the products of Green & Black, a chocolatier of which I’d never heard.
The author, Katharine Weber, throws in a lot of real candy brands in the course of her story, I assume for verisimilitude. But the line at the center of it is entirely fictional, so I wasn’t sure about Green & Black. I eat plenty of chocolate, but until recently — until reading “True Confections,” in fact — I have stayed away from most candy bars. It’s a terrible vice for a stuck, non-smoking writer to be near vending machines, and I overindulged when I still had an office job. Of course I make exceptions for the usual Halloween/Easter events. Not to do so would be wrong.
But I’ve discovered what probably everybody does, eventually — two or three squares of really good dark chocolate is more satisfying after a meal than a piece of cake, and has fewer calories, too.
Anyway, the “True Confections” narrative goes on at some length about Green & Black’s white chocolate bar. Rapturous length, in fact — its texture and strong vanilla flavor and so on. And so, last week, when we stopped for the night in Toronto en route to Montreal, I had the strongest possible endorsement fresh in my memory when I stopped in to a little grocery in search of a newspaper and found a checkout display of Green & Black chocolate bars. They exist! They come in a million different flavors! And there, right there in front of me, was the storied white-chocolate variety. Newspaper forgotten, I snatched up a 100-gram bar and tucked it into my purse.
We didn’t eat it until the next day. But it didn’t last long. It was too irresistible, too easy to break off square after square, place it on your tongue, and let its creamy vanillatude melt in your mouth. Weber points out that too much white chocolate is chalky and overly sweet, but this had just the right proportions of everything.
I saved the label and hit the website when we got home, and was amazed to discover it’s available at Kroger, Target, Meijer and other run-of-the-mill stores. Where have you been all my life, Green & Black? When I visited Target, I learned where: Hiding behind the better-known Lindt and Godiva and Ghiradelli, that’s where. Target only had two varieties, the original dark and the newest — peanut. My guess is, G&B doesn’t have the cash for big-time slotting fees at places like Kroger. My search will go on, and I believe I’ll only have to travel as far as the nearest gourmet grocery.
Meanwhile, while we’re talking books and things I didn’t know about until recently, I have to say that until the ridiculous and widely mocked trailer for Glenn Beck’s new “book,” I didn’t even know such a thing existed — trailers for books, that is. Excerpts, sure. Not videos. So I apologize for being late to the party, but it’s a pleasure to offer this one, for Laura Lippman’s own upcoming release, “I’d Know You Anywhere:”
The book doesn’t drop (as the hip-hopper say) until August 17th, but I just spent some Amazon bucks to pre-order it through my store, Nance’s Kickback Lounge, and if you’re planning to do the same, well, I thanks you.
Now I have Laura’s and Martin Cruz Smith’s new novels to look forward to in August. Get outta my way, other lazy bums.
Christopher Hitchens has cancer. Sad news for anyone, and the second throat-area cancer diagnosis I’ve heard this week, the other being Mike Harden, my former Columbus Dispatch colleague and, like Hitchens, another long-time smoker. Smoking is only one risk factor for esophageal cancer, which Hitchens has. Another is drinking, two activities Hitchens has excelled at for years. I know he’s unpopular in many lefty circles, but let’s not go there, OK?
Alan is perplexed by this story, and wants someone to explain it to him. As near as he can tell, it’s about a hipster doofus who decorates axes and sells them to other hipster doofuses, and if there’s more to it than that, please send up a flare.
We haven’t had an OID (only in Detroit) story for a while, so here’s one: The acting superintendent, the woman who blew the whistle on the board president for fondling himself in front of her during their meetings, didn’t have her contract renewed. But the board president was charged. For “misconduct in office.” I’ll say.
And with that, it’s off to work. A good one to all.