Merry Christmas — and pass the chocolates

Contributed photo Harley Hay says Black Magic used to be the ‘creme de la creme’ in the world of chocolate comestibles.

I was pretty much hooked by the time I left elementary school to go to middle school for Grade 6.

I blame it on my happy childhood. I mean, if you grow up in a loving home with parents who tend to spoil you, then a full-blown chocolate addiction is virtually inevitable, especially at Christmas.

And what’s better than being spoiled at Christmas?

I still am spoiled, as a matter of fact, even though my precious mom and dad had their last Christmases a long time ago, around about the time the magical Black Magic chocolates were still what they were supposed to be.

And if you don’t know what I mean about the Black Magic chocolates, you aren’t quite at the level of chocolate compulsion that I am.

Black Magic used to be quite literally, the creme de la creme in the vast and seductive world of chocolate comestibles. At least in our house they were. And they mostly only appeared at Christmastime, which made them as special as Rudolph’s red nose, or the bright star on the top of our tree.

I can still see that beautiful black box with the bright red ribbon and bow design, and my old chops still slaver a bit when I use my time-travelling Superman X-ray vision to gaze right through that box to the magical contents nestled inside, like little individual gems of chocolate perfection snugged exactly right, each in their own custom compartments.

And there was a map inside the lid, but real chocoholics didn’t need no stinking map to find their way around a box of Black Magic. The rectangular nougat, the square caramels in the corners, the pointy orange cream. I could be blindfolded and still snag a crescent coffee cream in one grab.

The big Brazil nuts, since there were only one or two of them in a box, you had to fight for them at our house, although they were never my first choice.

But my favourite was the hazelnut cluster. Three — count ‘em — three round hazel nuggets covered in dark chocolate, and even back then, I was well aware that those hazelnut cluster delectables were a wise choice on account of everybody knows that nuts are good for you.

Thing is, until it all changed. As someone wise once said, “Go ahead and change the Pot of Gold, but leave Black Magic alone.”

OK, so I said that, and I’m not that wise, but I do know a good chocolate when I eat one. And somewhere back in the swirling mists of time, the world’s greatest chocolates were taken over by some other non-magic company, and this new company committed a mortal sin by changing the beloved assortment in the Black Magic box. And they changed the box, too. Sad, I know, but true.

I can’t bring myself to research the whole sordid story of the rise and fall of Black Magic by clicking on Wikipedia for five long minutes, because it’s just too painful to dwell on the unfortunate deteriorating details of bygone bonbons.

Let’s just say its a darn good thing I discovered Purdys Chocolates, which happen to be made in Vancouver and happen to be pretty darn magical themselves in terms of chocolate indulgences.

They might even be the new Black Magic — all they need now is a nice, dark hazelnut cluster.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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