Showing up sweaty, “bumming out” in gym clothes, and carrying helmets under our arms made my friends and I the talk of the school. At my school out in the county, everyone rode the bus or drove to school. But, we rode our bikes from my house to Central Davidson High School, an easy three miles. Except, the ride was more challenging on the way back when we had to contend with increased traffic, the sun blaring down on us, and pedaling uphill for what seemed like most of the way. The return trip was always at least five minutes longer. We each pedaled to my house, staggered up the steep driveway with our bikes, and walked into my house plopping down in a haphazard order. Everyone was welcome to help themselves at my house, in fact, raiding of the cabinets or finding some sort of baked good and beverage was always a must. We started with water until everyone made it in the house.
Then, it was snack time. We deserved it (or so we told ourselves) after our bike ride. On several occasions I remember opening the cabinets and all of us being unanimous on the jar of Nutella and the bag of pretzels. We all gathered around my bar, perched on the high stools and passed the bag and jar back and forth. This went on until we had finished gossiping or sharing funny stories, by which time there was serious damage done to both the Nutella and pretzels. The salty sweet combination was incredibly addictive and the small pretzels made the perfect vessel for the creamy, chocolate-y Nutella.
As you can imagine, we probably consumed more calories than we burned from these bike riding adventures. But, it is something that I will always remember as a great time with friends, especially now that we don’t get to see each other every day.
Just recently, I had something that reminded me of this communal chocolate and pretzel experience. It was my first trip back to Davidson Chocolate Co. this year. Although I have come to develop high expectations, I was not disappointed in the least. Literally every time I get chocolate from there I am so bewitched by the flavors and the mastery of the chocolate making (also, I love to watch them in the kitchen making the chocolate) that I absolutely cannot decide which of their chocolate confections is my favorite. The toffee, the milk chocolate caramel, the truffles. Let it suffice to say that they are all good. Seriously, you cannot go wrong here.
After much deliberation and pacing in front of the glass display cases Sunday, I settled on the chocolate pretzel caramel (milk chocolate). Unfortunately I do not quite remember the name but it was those three words in some order. Regardless of the name, it combined sweet and salty, crunchy and gooey into a combination that was nothing short of life changing. The flavors and textures themselves were wonderful, but it also took me back to those afternoons in high school, talking and eating a ridiculous amount of Nutella and pretzels with some of my best friends that I miss dearly.