The Wonder of Glass Chocolates
Glass chocolates are lovely to look at, but they're not edible... which may be a little too extreme for some of us
If there's such a thing as too extreme in the world of extreme chocolates, glass chocolates may just take the cake.
Mind you, in the past we've covered things as weird as chocolate brassieres, chocolate-covered seaweed, chocolate-sauerkraut cakes, and whole hotel rooms crafted from chocolate. Not to mention chocolate statues of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, which is impressive if a little scary.
But when you can't actually eat the goodies, maybe you're a little too far out there.
Now, many chocolate extremos do appreciate the decorative aspects of our favorite food. Who hasn't admired a nice, colorful chocolate bark on occasion, or wondered at the smooth perfection of the printing on a Hershey's?
Not to mention our admiration for deliberate chocolate artwork, like the Stones mentioned above... or the occasional cacao-based undergarment, for that matter.
However, all those do actually contain chocolate in some format. Oh, it may not end up edible, and sometimes you wouldn't want to eat it anyway for one reason or another, but it started out as a bean growing on a tree somewhere tropical.
You can't say that for glass chocolates, which started out as, well, sand. Possibly on a beach somewhere tropical, yes, but sand nonetheless.
The urge to create fragile beauty is easily understandable; hence the popularity of art glass all over the world. Glass chocolates are all about beauty... and frankly, yours truly is much less nervous around little glass candies than around objets d'art worth $20,000 or more.
Perhaps the premier purveyor of art glass chocolates (because let's face it, this isn't a huge market), is the Hulet family of northern California, consisting of three ladies who have been working with glass for up to 36 years each. They've been selling these chocolate-free chocolates since 2005.
Besides the artistic rationale, there are practical reasons for chocolates made of art glass. They provide ideal displays that aren't ever going to melt or age, for example; all you have to do, if you happen to be a chocolatier, is match the appearance.
And the options are all over the place, from hoity-toity gourmet chocolates, to seasonal collections and all the classics like freira, tiratrice, and coupes. They even have exquisite little chocolate drops and cupcake truffles.
Expect to pay about $3 each (or $36 per dozen) for these products, though the li'l drops tend to cost less. That's not too horrible for top quality chocolates.
So if you're feeling terribly extreme, keep these artistic objects in mind when making your next chocolate purchase. But remember to warn your houseguests that as beautiful as they are, glass chocolates aren't good for the digestion.