“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” – Victor Hugo.
Like most folks out there, Hubby and I have found ourselves weary of winter. Yes, we have been spoiled in recent years with milder temperatures and snow that melted within a day or so of snowfall. This year’s snowstorms, while expected for winter in the Northeast, have left us with the desire for warmer temperatures.
Over the past few weeks, our walks with our eight-year-old Catahoula, Luna, have been abbreviated due to the snow and ice on sidewalks. Our usual walk takes us around Woodland School, whose sidewalks have not been shoveled as efficiently as in years past. Just this week, Hubby attempted to walk on the sidewalk and nearly slipped on the poorly shoveled walkway. We commented that the walk was a bit too dangerous to continue, and moved out to the street, where we were essentially walking in the center of the road, an option that was not much better.
My aunt commented that she had purchased something called “Stabil-icers,” a type of cleat-like apparatus that fits over shoes and enables the user to walk on ice “as if you were walking on solid ground.” A friend of ours purchased a pair of snowshoes to enable him to trek in local preserves. Hubby and I broke out our hiking shoes, but they offered little protection from two inches of solid, packed-to-the-ground ice.
I called my mom, who recently had emergency surgery and is in the latter stages of convalescence. We discussed the impending snowstorm, our desire for the springtime and warmer weather, our abbreviated walks and things that helped to lift her spirits. She was feeling bored and had been perusing a “Vermont Country Store” catalog at the time of my call.
Mom mentioned something that we often had during dessert on Easter Sunday, which was a treat for the adults. She said that for several years, the catalog offered a dark chocolate coconut egg and a milk chocolate fruit-and-nut egg that was about 16 ounces and was served as slices on a platter. For years, Mom wanted to order the eggs as a dessert for guests at Easter dinner. This year, we would not be able to share in the festivities, but Mom still wanted those eggs.
I remember those large chocolate eggs. As a child, I always wanted to take the pretty sugared flower from the top of the egg. Every year, I took that piece of hard sugar and attempted to eat it like it was the first time I had ever tried it. I do not know how I was expecting it to taste, but I almost broke a tooth on the hard sugar and the taste was horrid.
As I discussed the eggs with my husband, he recalled those boxes on counters in several local bakeries, including Continental Bakery that had once stood on Friendly Avenue by Wantagh Parkway in Hicksville. Those boxes, which were either purple or yellow, had a cello wrapper through which you could see the delectable confection. The greatest thing about that candy was the aroma that was released when one opened the box. Sweet chocolate goodness wafted tenderly past our nostrils as Mom placed the egg on a platter and sliced it with a sharp knife. I enjoyed the coconut egg as a child, though as I got older, the fruit-and-nut variety with bits of walnut, cherries and pineapple was the slice for which I often reached. It was cloyingly sweet and rich, but it was a traditional part of our Easter celebration.
As Mom pored over the catalog, she realized the eggs were not included on the pages. I mentioned that it was still only February and a later catalog might offer the candy. After I hung up, I found the reason why it was not included as a catalog offering: the item was sold out.
After googling “large chocolate filled Easter eggs”, the results were in line with what Mom and I had discussed. Lerro Candy Company of Darby, PA offers a 16-ounce whopper that is filled with coconut cream. True to my memory, it boasts a small sugar confection atop its rich chocolate coating. On the purple cardboard box are two adorable mascots of the season, a small chick and a laughing bunny. Peeking through the cello wrapper was that delicious-looking chocolate egg. For those interested, the chocolate egg is offered through Amazon.
I just sent links of both the Vermont Country Store’s fruit-and-nut egg and the Lerro coconut egg to my sister to show our mom. She responded with a gif of a thoroughly grossed-out Steve Carrell. Clearly, the eggs were not her favorite. “Eww”, she texted, “I hated those.” My sister loved her Reese’s peanut butter eggs and gumballs in the shape of a robin’s egg. In retrospect, I must admit that those were some delicious favorites.
While we still have another month-and-a-half of winter, how nice it is to look forward to the soft kiss of springtime breezes, crocuses that pop up from their slumber beneath the frozen ground and the sweet memories of Easters gone by. After reading a review of the current eggs offered by Lerro, I have realized that sometimes, things taste a lot sweeter in one’s memories than they taste in real life. And honestly, that’s okay, too.
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.