The Gift of Chocolove

It was a day sort of like today, an early summer day.

I rode my bike to town, a small farming community in Iowa. The post office asked me to pick up a package.

I was curious and optimistic to be receiving something despite not knowing who had sent it or what it was. As I looked at the package stamps and postmarks, I recalled my time in Switzerland a few years prior staying with a farming family, hiking alpine pastures, and tending cows. I wondered how it was they had located me and what they had sent.  

When I opened the package, I was surprised that it was full of chocolate bars and a note that expressed gratitude. And then standing there, in small-town Iowa, it became clear that the Swiss man I had rescued in a blizzard earlier in the year had sent a gift from Switzerland to thank me. I see that day very clearly, although it was many, many years ago. I recall unwrapping and tasting the chocolate right away and having a radiant joy of discovery at the texture and taste, nothing like any chocolate I had tasted; it was a premium Swiss chocolate. The unexpected gift at an unexpected time, the gesture from a person so far away, and the joy of new taste buoyed my spirits.

I rode my bike home and set the package on the kitchen table, where the Swiss man had sat months prior, and enjoyed the moment. I was so impressed with the taste and quality that I took a couple bars to work the next day. I walked through my place of work and shared squares with everyone I met, and they too enjoyed and marveled at the richness. I was a spice and tea taster at the time, so I found intellectual enjoyment of unraveling the flavor profile. I rationed the remaining bars, a few squares each afternoon after riding home from work. The afternoon snack was a pivot point between work and relaxing the rest of the day.

The layers of that gift were millifold and the gift that the Swiss man sent continues to give to this day. That gift opened my mind to the possibility of a truly great tasting chocolate, and that a few squares can be a great, simple joy in life to look forward to, and, perhaps most of all, that the gift of or sharing of great chocolate can brighten a person’s day. That seemingly simple gift was the seed to great joy for millions of people: Chocolove.