Sunday, February 10, 2008

This Post Has Cake In It

Yes, Valentines' Day is coming up next week. As nice as I imagine it might be for couples around the world, that still doesn't change the fact that it's a corporate-manufactured holiday designed to sell overpriced flowers, hawk overly expensive chocolates and, in certain cases, force a general overbooking of local hotel rooms. In addition, it's an agonizing holiday for single people all over the world, which means that while dozens of men and women out there are enjoying the fruits of massive spending, an equal number of people are organizing "singles-only" tours where they can go out, drink themselves silly, and then go to bed feeling sorry for themselves.

Being one of those creative bakeshops that is nonetheless willing to take advantage of the unfortunate masses, my family bakeshop offers a special something or Valentines' day every year. This year, it happens to be a small circle of pastries meant to be given as a gift to peoples' loved ones. Or failing that, you could always eat them yourself. They might not ease the pain of utter loneliness or the shattered consequences of a bad breakup... but hey, you'll at least have something to chew on? Right? Er... right?

Seeing that I am a single man who has unfortunately fallen in love with these pastries (this is an appropriate figure of speech, yes), I planned to pick up a few of them as giveaways this Thursday. The only question involved who was supposed to receive them. Giving one of them away to everybody in my office (a crowd of more than thirty people) would be a trifle expensive; Counting out a small number of recipients would leave me open to post-Valentines' demands ("What do you mean, you didn't get me one?"), and considering that these wouldn't be available after Thursday, I definitely have some thinking to do right now.

Complicating the matter is that I have at least two choices on the table right now. The first one is a solid-looking candy-shell heart, which looks like the samples below:

Yes, they're nice. We offered the same thing on Valentines' Day last year, and they were so popular that we decided to give them a second go.

The large candy hearts are actually hollow -- they're essentially a sugar- and gum-type candy shell that, although non-chewable, are perfectly capable of melting in your mouth for a while. The insides are filled with miscellaneous hard candies, which means that even if you have to break your heart (so to speak), you'll still find it a sweet enough prospect in the end.

What I particularly like about these is that their shelf life is a lot longer than the other "pastries" I encounter. The hearts are likely to last for at least a week before they start getting stale, and even then the candies inside will still be edible -- you'd just need the simple expedient of a jackhammer to get them out. Still, they're pretty good for people who want to display them a bit before breaking them up.

The second choice I have is the cake whose picture you see at the start of this post. I have another picture here, in case you'd like to have a look:

These cakes are actually a little small -- about the size of one's fist -- but they're made of lemon chiffon covered in strawberry fondant icing (I think), so I imagine that they taste fine. They're not bad for occasions where you expect the recipient to eat them immediately after the gift-giving. In short, they'd be perfect for the perpetually-hungry co-workers in my office. They're cheaper, too.

Of course, being a single man, I'd normally be nursing the (alleged) pain and loneliness of my situation by chewing on these myself. It's too bad that I don't have the sweet tooth that forces me to take advantage of the family bakeshop. As a result, well, I'll have to see whether or not I'd like to give these out.

And, just in case I turn out to be too busy this Valentines' Day... I wish you all a nice holiday, whether you have someone to spend it with, or not. Chin up, and don't eat too much of the sweet stuff for your own good. You'll want to look good for next Valentines', after all.

* No, I haven't suddenly sold out and gone commercial on you. But I am bragging that I have access to almost limitless amounts of this stuff for a good price. That's got to count for something.


Ida said...

They look delicious! :D I really like the stuff bake shops come up with during Valentine season. Makes me wish it was Valentine's day everyday! :)
(Also, if that were the case, they probably wouldn't be overpriced anymore :P)

Dominique said...

I have the perfect plan for you: send 30 or so of these to yourself but label it as coming from "Your secret admirer." Then you can give it away without any guilt...and you don't come out looking so SAD (and by SAD I mean Single Awareness Day.)

Sean said...

Ida: I must point out that these sorts of things land on my family's dinner table about once a week on average, and that they're the reason why I don't have a sweet tooth. It's certainly true that you can have too much of a good thing. :)

Dominique: Gosh, if I were that sad, I'd buy a whole cake instead. (Yes, one of the other offerings is a two-inch-high heart-shaped white-chocolate-based cake. Be afraid.)