My mother did not have an easy upbringing. Her early childhood was spent with her extremely strict grandmother in Holland. Days were filled with school work, household chores, family errands and little else. The house she grew up in was missing the toys, special moments, traditions, family pictures and hugs, many of you probably seek to include in your homes to help your children, one day, fondly remember their own childhood.
For my sister and I, my mother corrected all of the wrong from her own childhood many times over in raising us girls. However, she simply didn’t have much to pass along in the way of family recipes, heirlooms and traditions. For this reason, the one and only family tradition she did actually recall fondly and felt compelled to share with us when we were kids, is near and dear to us. Plus, it involves food, which is also near and dear to us.
The tradition is a holiday one, and the version of it we keep up with now probably comes across as pretty typical, but we remember the evolution and how we used to do it right back in the day.
As a child, on Christmas Day, and only on Christmas Day, my mother was allowed to join in on the fun the rest of the family was having. Each family member collected sweets, from a table where they had been gathered and displayed in the home, after hours of preparing them by hand. From cookies to chocolates to dried fruit to breads…on this special day, sweets were on the menu and plentiful, even for the children. I always remember my mother telling me how excited she was to be allowed to reach to the adult table, choose a dried fig of her own and place it on a plate of her own, right next to a chocolate and a homemade cookie, which she would slowly savor, all day long.
From the time I can remember, a few weeks before Christmas our “Christmas box” from Holland arrived. This box and its contents were all we ever knew of our “Oma Holland”, our great grandmother who raised my mother. She sent a huge assortment of homemade and store bought treats from Holland for our Christmas plates. The box would be hidden from us and it was completely off limits until Christmas Day. As the years went on, our own grandmother added cookie recipes to our Christmas plate assortment and less and less foreign treats came by mail, but each Christmas, without fail, our plates were filled with something from Holland, an assortment of homemade cookies and the best, most quality chocolate money can buy.
A lot has been lost in translation for my own kids, but they know of our Christmas plate tradition as a chance to load the plates with all kinds of treats of their very own which they can enjoy how they like, when they like, for one special day. For the rest of us, we still look for the key pieces that make the tradition our tradition and a most important contribution to the plates is really excellent chocolate.
I’m not talking about Hershey bars here. No offense to Hershey. In this case though, I’m talking about handcrafted chocolate, made with real ingredients, from a passion and love for the product that results. So, I was most pleased to learn of Tallahassee’s own handcrafted bean to bar chocolate, SRSLY chocolate, growing by leaps and bounds in popularity locally and now beyond. Our Christmas plates this year will most certainly include chocolate again and this year the chocolate will be SRSLY delicious, SRSLY made from organic and fair trade cacao, SRSLY handcrafted locally and SRSLY the highlight of the entire assortment of sweet treats. I cannot wait to share the good stuff with my family this year, especially my mom and sister, who appreciate taking the time to find something special enough to make the Christmas plates.
About SRSLY chocolate
SRSLY chocolate is at the Lake Ella Growers Market most Wednesdays from 3-6pm, other local markets in and around Tally and in all of these local retailers.
Can I send SRSYL chocolate to folks out of town?
Yup! Just order online.
Who founded SRSLY chocolate and why?
[quote]Hi! My name is Bob and I’m the founder of SRSLY chocolate, a small bean to bar chocolate maker based in Tallahassee, Florida. Lets talk about chocolate…[/quote]
How is SRSLY chocolate made?
[quote]We start with organic & fair trade cacao beans and gently roast them. After roasting, the beans are cracked and winnowed yielding the nib. That’s where the good stuff is. The nibs, along with organic cane sugar, are placed in an electric granite stone mill and refined for 12-16 hours until liquid chocolate is produced. After cooling, these blocks of chocolate are aged for a week to bring out more flavor. Finally, the blocks are melted, tempered, molded and packaged. All of this is done by hand.[/quote]
How can I stay in the know about SRSLY chocolate?