food and sundries

Liverwurst and Chocolate

Filed under: Uncategorized — November 20, 2006 @ 8:24 pm

Speaking of Germans, I have to credit them for teaching me early the finer points of two essential world foods:  pate and chocolate.  (I should also thank them for my spouse, a half-German as whole-foodie as I am, but that came later).

I recall the yellow-orange label, velvety smoothness and particular smell and taste of liverwurst from my first days of school.  My mom would spread the stuff on white bread with mustard and I ate it like a normal kid would devour PB&J.  She, apparently, never explained to me what it really was, but I caught on eventually.  Oh yes.

By the time I was in second grade, my love for the stuff had dissipated into disgust.  I have a very poignant memory of throwing my sandwich away one day, realizing, as it plummeted into the oversize cafeteria trash can, that my mother had gone through a lot of trouble to make it for me and obviously loved me very much, experiencing the sort of guilt that only those raised Catholic truly can appreciate, and fishing it out of the trash hoping no one would see.  They did.  Extreme mortification followed, from which I have not yet recovered.  It was my last liverwurst sandwich until I discovered the creamy delights of pate much later in life.  Always an animal lover, however, guilt still burdens my relationship with liver.  I veer more towards the vegetarian these days, which doesn’t fully explain the tiny can of foie gras sitting on my kitchen counter, a souvenir from a recent foray into the gastronomic delights of France.  Sigh.  Life is constant struggle.

For chocolate, however, I bear no guilt.  I do bear the scars from having to suffer American-style chocolate after returning to the states from my family’s assignment in Germany though.  Having spent four years celebrating the candy-laden holidays of Halloween, St. Nicholas Day (another German tradition, which I recommend to you) and Christmas in a country famed for its chocolates, I was appalled to learn that all the Americans had to offer in quantity upon my return were bland over-sweetened under-chocolately concoctions like the Hershey® bar.  I lamented this for years, proselytizing to whomever would listen the virtues of dark chocolate and hoarding the tiny quantities of mini Special Dark bars I was able to pull together from Hershey’s variety-pack bags.  They, and the occasional dark-chocolate Mounds® bar, were the best it got for a middle-class kid whose allowance couldn’t cover air travel to Europe.  Gummi bears (that’s gummi—long “u”—not “gummy”), thank goodness, made the import leap into the U.S. sooner.  Haribo was my constant consolation in those dark years.

It has taken many moons, but the market finally heard the voices clamoring in the chocolate wilderness.  Over the last decade, I have watched with a Wonka-licious thrill the coming-of-age of a gourmet chocolate industry in the United States.  There’s no going back once average folk have tasted the glory of Vosges, available in their local grocery.  Hershey’s knows it.  Now Special Dark comes full size.  Oh, and have you seen “Extra Dark”?

Favorites of the ones I’ve had the pleasure of trying thus far:


  1. Camille:

    My friend Lindsay gave me some hot chocolate from vosges for Christmas. It is dairy free. Wanna come over a try it sometime?

  2. Ate-to-the-Bar:

    Mmmmm. Yesh.

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