Thursday, February 24, 2011

Retirement Needs Chocolate

I went to a "Week of Chocolate" event on February 9, 2011, where the bulk of the chocolate offered came from Meadowood, a retirement community in my city.  Since they were give to me, they qualify as a potential Sacrament and their marketing director was there and asked me to do a review.  Therefore I decided to do one and to raise the question of when you should think about chocolate in your life and in the life decisions you have to make.  To make a stronger connect, February 1912, is when Oreos were first introduced on the market.  I wonder how many folks in retirement communities today could tell us about their first time seeing this cookie.

The four Oreo truffles came in this gold box.  They were clearly handmade when I opened them because they truffles were not perfect spheres or even half spheres. They reminded me of some I hope I could make as well since so far, your Chocolate Priestess has failed in her own personal truffle making ventures.  These are a good size, about an inch in diameter and a good half inch plus tall for two good bites.  The inside is a dark truffle semi-solid and it has a very strong Oreo fragrance.

I can also tell these are made with quality chocolate and not a lot of preservatives because they start to melt as soon as I touch them and have no waxy texture or flavor when I take a bite.  They have a definite Oreo flavor, chocolate cookie of the darker variety, a creamy, sugar essence as well.  Letting a bite melt in my mouth only increased the cookie taste I was getting but also let the darkness of the chocolate through.

So I've never done a featured review of something made in a retirement community.  I've done reviews of products from big name companies, small family businesses, small independent chocolatiers, and restaurants.  A retirement community serves it's residents in may ways and one of these is through food that is made and delivered to the rooms or apartments or in a dining room functioning either as a restaurant or a communal space.  Of the retirement communities I've visited, many half a dozen so far in my life, I've seen a wide range all ready of the food, the service and the layout of the dining area.

One challenge as we get older that such businesses must deal with is that our scent of smell and taste can change radically.  Have you ever noticed that older people seem to get skinny? Part of that is that frankly eating isn't as much of a pleasure when it does not taste or smell the same.  So if you want to make food an older person will eat you either have to play with textures or intensify the taste.  These were intense truffles but I image for someone in her 80s or 90s the taste might have even been subtle, I'd need that intensity to really enjoy them.

Chocolate has an intense flavor plus it has a cultural and personal cache that I think make it ideal as a food for everyone.  I know that every grandmother I've ever known, loved chocolate and I suspect that to do in part with the messages she received growing up that she should love chocolate.  I know that one of my grandmothers months before she passed away would only eat chocolate.  That probably wasn't enough nutrition for her but at least she got some pleasure when she ate.

So while you may think about location and cost when considering a retirement facility for yourself or a loved one, I want to urge you to think about food as well.  Don't forget the chocolate, please.  They clearly have not forgotten it at Meadowood here in Bloomington, Indiana.

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