Monday, January 9, 2012

Hometown Pride

When I go home to the place I grew up, it's always nice to see familiar things. To eat in familiar restaurants, shop in stores that don't exist elsewhere, and generally re-experience the best sights, sounds and flavors of my childhood.

One of those flavors happens to be DeBrand Fine Chocolates, a small (you guessed it) chocolate maker based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Best. Chocolates. Ever. I say this as a person who isn't always a big chocolate fan. I always choose vanilla ice cream. When it comes to candy bars, I'm more likely to go for sweet and fruity Skittles rather than bitter dark chocolate. But I do love DeBrand. They make everything, from simple filled chocolates to elaborate mounded truffles and exotic designer chocolates. All tasty.

Despite appearances, I'm not trying to be an advertisement for DeBrand here. As a kid, I didn't even know DeBrand was a local company that people might not have heard of. I assumed they were everywhere. So when I grew up and learned that this special treat was Fort Wayne-specific, I was a little disappointed. They always seemed bigger than that to me.

I'm especially fond of DeBrand's new Faces of Diversity chocolates, which feature light to dark chocolates molded in the shape of faces. About a year ago, I saw these particular chocolates featured in O magazine in their "Look What We Found" feature, which shows off little novelty gifts and accessories.

I remember feeling so proud of seeing a Fort Wayne thing appear in a national magazine. Unaccountably proud. I remember thinking how neat it was that something from my hometown had come to the attention of someone as influential as Oprah. (Okay, that might be a stretch--it's doubtful that she takes note of every detail even in her own magazine.) But I was having a particularly rough day, as I recall, and it meant something to me, to see a little box of chocolates I knew well had made it to the big time. It sounds cheesy, maybe, but it gave me hope.

At home over the holidays, I received a Faces of Diversity box for Christmas. I'm still savoring them, bit by bit!

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