Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Candy or Confection

On a shopping trip to Brussels I spotted a small sweet shop that said "Leonidas". It was fall, 1979, and at the time, to me reasonably good chocolate candy came in a box, bought at the drug store. Or maybe a See’s or Fannie Mays store where you selected from their showcase of assorted pieces.

After I stepped inside the Leonidas shop the sales person said to me in perfect English, “May I help you? “ I replied that I wanted to buy a piece of chocolate candy, and pointed to a small Airstream shaped chocolate, one among many, in a refrigerated case. She opened the case, picked up my selection, and with her white gloved hand, placed it a little box then handed it to me. I opened the box, and took a bite.

I bit through the chocolate shell into a center of sweet cool whipped cream, to discover a pecan nestled in the center. I knew that I was in the process of eating something very special. The combination of texture, the smooth silky shell, fresh whipped cream, and crisp pecan was unbelievably yummy. Hey, yummy does it for me.

I talked with the sales person, and she told me that I had selected a praline, a bon bon. Now I knew what a praline was, and even a bon bon, at least I knew what these words represented in the States, and what I had just savored had nothing at all in common with them. She used the word “confection” as she told me about the other pralines in the case, not “candy”, and from then on whenever I was in Brussels I nearly always stopped in to buy a few bon bons.

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