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Today is an amazing combo in that it’s summer, which is the perfect time for a trip, and that it is Chocolate Day. So I’m going to tell you how to enjoy a trip, get some amazing chocolate, and even turn it into a fun and easy history learning experience! (Interestingly enough there are actually 4 Chocolate Days a year, but that’s just an ADHD inspired tidbit.) We actually do a lot of tours and trips, mostly because we live close to so many, but also because my approach to history is that it is better to see and do than to read and quote. It’s one thing to read that John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln and then ran, it’s another thing to see a replica of the gun used during the escape in the attic he put it in. (Surratt House tour, they do a great feature at Christmas time.)
My general rule is that we always get a postcard or two, and my son gets something based on his favorite part of the trip, within financial reason. When my husband goes too the souvenirs tend to be a bit more prolific. A few years ago at one site, my husband got a tiny chunk of chocolate. I don’t even know if I noticed the chocolate in the store. Recently I got a press release about the same chocolate and was able to read more about it and got sent some to play with! The company graciously sent me free chocolate so that I could tell you more about it.
Now admittedly, my goal was to visit a historic site that sells this historic chocolate and make a whole thing of it. I even got free passes to a local site from the library to do it. Then it was hot. I mean REALLY hot. So I did not follow my plan. No shame, no game, I just didn’t do it. (We DID actually go to a historic site but it wasn’t one that sold this chocolate like planned.) Little side tip- check out your library for things besides books! Ours has a weekly family pass to a local historic site that you can check out. Some have all sorts of things! Fun trips don’t have to be expensive! The place we visited where my husband originally bought chocolate was actually a National Park that is free to enter.
But let me get back to the chocolate! American Heritage Historic Chocolate makes chocolate using a historic recipe. The little chunk my husband originally bought was about $2, the more expensive drink mix is around $23. If you’re on a budget grab one little stick and share it amongst your family. Then at least everyone will get to say they tasted it. If your budget is larger buy more, it’s good stuff. So again, trips and souvenirs don’t have to get expensive. Visit a free location, spend a few bucks, and there you go a family fun day that involves chocolate! I find that kids especially relate to history when they experience it, so even tasting a bite of chocolate and pointing out that maybe they could have gotten some like that years ago (relate it to wherever you are) can be quite a fun and affordable link. What a great way to experience history!!
Our package happened to come on a day when we were out a bit and it got a bit squishy, so I put it in the fridge, and then pretty much left it in the fridge, so I can’t talk too much about the texture of it. Don’t get me wrong, the texture of mine is great, but some are misshapen and I can’t tell if it’s hard because of the formula or because it’s been in the fridge. I like my chocolate a bit hard, so once it got put in the fridge I wasn’t much inclined to take it out. The taste is like nothing else. Really. Everyone in my family seems to pick up on a different spice. I greatly notice the very faint anise flavor, my son says it’s savory.
The first thing we did was snap a bar into a few pieces and all tasted it. We all liked it, but again it tasted different to all of us. Then my son and I followed a recipe on the website and made truffles. Truffles are SO easy and wonderful to make. If you haven’t made them before give it a try! Your hands get all chocolatey and when you’re done you can lick them, or wash them, whatever. The chocolate block is literally a chunk of chocolate. To make the truffles we had to chop it. We started with trying to grate it, but quickly switched to just chopping it up with a kitchen knife. Guys, look at this chocolate!
The recipe called for 8 ounces of chocolate, but it comes in a 6-ounce block, so I used one box and used slightly less cream. I should have left the cream the same, our truffles came out pretty solid, they were tough to scoop and mold. The chocolate really melts very well though.
We finished the truffles and rolled them in the drink mix, then I opted to follow the directions on the can and add water to the leftover drink mix in the bowl. You guys, it is INTENSE. I can imagine how our forefathers could run a country if they were chugging that stuff! So good, but so intense, very chocolatey. I think the only person in my family that could easily tolerate more than a few sips was my chocoholic son. Next time I make myself some I will be adding more water, or maybe diluting it with some milk. My son enjoyed the fact that supposedly George Washington himself used to savor a small cup of this drink regularly. ( Fun fact- they do sell this chocolate at Mt Vernon, so that’s an easy tie in.)
If you chose not to buy the drink mix, you could just finally grate some chocolate to roll your truffles in. The truffles were delicious! Since ours were hard to shape I pulled out the best few to photograph, the recipe made a lot more.
Let me give a quick breakdown to how awesome of a family activity this is:
- Make memories spending some time at a historic site
- Taste historic chocolate
- Spend time laughing, talking, and having fun together while you roll truffles
- Enjoy truffles together.
I’ve been talking about how I want to encourage people to relax and try things and what better way than chocolate!??!?! I knew this idea was perfect. My family is still enjoying just trying the chocolate in different ways. I just noticed another recipe that makes a chocolate syrup, I think that will be on my list to do next!
If you want your own tasty chocolate experience you can use the website to locate a historic site near you that sells it! That’s how I pieced together the local site that has passes at the library!