It’s A Sweet Marriage

Maybe it began with the chocolate cherry cordial.

Perhaps, it began with the fondue pot.

It might have even begun with Lorraine Lorusso. (Who was she?)

Dear Readers, the “it” about which I am speaking is the notable, eye-catching chocolate covered strawberry.

The Perfect Combination

Miss NiNi has often enjoyed the ambrosial goodness of many fresh fruits enrobed in chocolate. Bananas, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, oranges, apples, and apricots covered in dark, milk, or even white chocolate have encountered my taste buds. Mmm! Beautiful, beautiful natural sweetness!

However, we might more fully associate a chocolate/fruit flavor combination with the cherry as in a chocolate-dipped cherry cordial. After all, those sweet chocolate-dipped treats of cherries or cherry filling—often with liqueur–have been around since 1864.

But since, this is the week of Valentine’s Day when Cupid mythically will shoot an arrow into the heart of his sweetheart, chocolate dipped strawberries triumphantly take the spotlight!

And just as an aside, have you ever wondered how that beautiful red berry acquired its name? Here is the myth. It is felt that the name came from the concept of putting straw around the base of the strawberry plant for both nutrients and protection. Go figure!

Now then, let’s reconstruct the deconstruct of the love affair between two ingredients–chocolate and the strawberry, shall we?

A Special Treat … For Centuries!

Realize, Dear Readers, that chocolate has been enjoyed as a special treat since 1100 BC when Aztec and Mayan civilizations savored its cocoa flavor as a beverage and even used cocoa beans as currency.

Strawberries were found growing wild in Italy as early as 234 BC.

Native American tribes cultivated the fruit beginning in the 1600s. That’s a long time ago!!

The betrothal and marriage of two fabulous food ingredients was hundreds of years later during the mid-20th century. Hey, that’s when Miss NiNi was a child! Now, that’s NOT such a long time ago!!

Two factors came about in this marriage—the fondue pot and Lorraine Lorusso.

The new fondue cooking craze of the 1960s was as much a part of our rural community as it was across America. Members of the active Menoken (ND) Homemakers’ Club gathered monthly for fellowship and education.

As a member, Mom created an educational presentation and introduced this modern mode of cooking/entertaining to the women of our neighborhood. Part of that presentation included dipping fresh strawberries in a chocolate dipping sauce that stayed warm with the help of a votive candle underneath the spotlighted fondue pot.

The Technique

Of course, Mom had to practice her presentation and her fruit-dipping-into-chocolate-with-a-long-handled-fork fondue technique before sharing it with the neighborhood ladies. That’s when the initial love affair with chocolate dipped strawberries was planted within the heart of Yours Truly!

Subsequently, then, how does Lorraine Lorusso fit into the history of the chocolate covered strawberry?

She was not a Menoken homemaker. But, she was a Midwesterner who worked at a store called the Stop N’Shop in Chicago. She tempered a version of gourmet chocolate that was served in the small shop and then dipped the season’s freshest strawberries into the mixture. After allowing the chocolate to harden, the perfect treats were sold to paying customers. It’s no surprise to Miss NiNi that the treat was an instant success!!

Perhaps, Dear Readers, this will be the week that you imbibe in a delicious chocolate-covered strawberry.

Are you wondering where they can be purchased? We have those big juicy treats available for you at Miss NiNi’s Desserterie. When you sink your teeth into each dessert beauty, be sure to have a napkin at hand to catch the overflowing juicy sweetness!

And then remember to give thanks for the chocolate cherry cordial, the fondue pot, and Lorraine Lorusso—all contributors to the divinely sweet marriage of chocolate and strawberries!

Miss NiNi