March. It is an unpredictable month to say the very least, yet so far, we’ve been blessed this year with not only an early Easter, but early spring weather to go with it. So, despite the fact that it will just barely be spring, if you’re looking for a fun event for Easter weekend which gets you outside, on the move and winning prizes, then look no further! Join us for the 3rd Annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt in downtown Foxburg – rain, shine, or snow – the hunt is on!
For the past two years, hundreds of participants gathered between the valley walls to support local non-profit organizations while having good old fashioned fun doing so. Treasures hidden in colorful eggs speckle the grounds of downtown Foxburg presenting participants, a.k.a. “Eggers”, chances to win grand prize drawings for gift baskets filled with goodies, plus valuable coupons and trinkets from multiple Allegheny Clarion Valley businesses. There will be hundreds of dollars worth of prizes to be won, but best of all, it’s just an all out good time!
Participants are encouraged to register online below to save time the day of the event.
REGISTRATIONS FOR THIS EVENT ARE NOW CLOSED
The on-site registrations will begin at 9:30 AM in front of the Foxburg Library – the hunt will commence soon after. All participants are asked to contribute $5 donation to benefit the Parker Volunteer Fire Department and The Boys and Girls Club on the Allegheny, both of which serve the entire AC Valley region and beyond. Since some of the prizes and coupons are alcohol related all Eggers must be 21 years of age or over. Seniors over 65 and visibly pregnant women will get a 30 second head start. Egg hunt will last for an hour or as long as the supply of eggs last.
The hunt will occur rain or shine! So, in case of less than sunny skies, be sure to bring umbrellas and rain gear. The Grand Prize drawing will be held around 11:00 AM in front of the Library.
The morning of the 2nd Annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt in Foxburg on April 4th was brisk indeed, but not enough to keep eager eggers from pursuing the thrill of the hunt for colorful eggs containing many prizes, including tickets for a Grand Prize drawing held at the end of the event.
Along with many local inhabitants, people from as far as Pittsburgh came to join in the fun while offering up support for the area non-profit organizations, Foxburg Free Library and Allegheny Center for the Arts (ARCA), as well as paying a visit to their favorite valley businesses after the passing of a long, arduous winter. Sharon Enslen from Prospect, PA stated, “Thank you so much for putting this on. I had a blast!” adding that, “This is the first I have hunted eggs since I was ten years old and I’ll be turning fifty two soon!”
Attendees found everything in their eggs from redeemable coupons to nine area businesses located in Foxburg and Emlenton, trinkets, chocolates and candies, and of course tickets for the Grand Prize Drawing which was valued at over $200. The contributions from participating businesses were so significant, that two additional drawings were added to “share the wealth” of prizes. Participants contributed a $3 “pay to play” which raised nearly $500 to be evenly dispersed between the Library and ARCA which gave them each a nice boost for their 2015 programs.
Many are already reveling in the excitement for next year’s hunt, anxious to join in the fun again, as they relive precious childhood memories and maybe even win some prizes along the way!
Imagine… it’s the day before Easter, the skies are clear and blue, the birds are chirping their happy tunes, and hundreds of people are revving up to hunt for Easter Eggs in the sweet spring air! If you’re looking for a fun event for Easter weekend which gets you outside, on the move and winning prizes, then look no further! Join in an Adult Easter Egg Hunt in downtown Foxburg where hundreds of colorful plastic eggs will be planted all across town, in the gardens and surrounding various buildings and shops!
This year, businesses from the whole AC Valley are getting involved and stuffing every egg with a “prize” from trinket to valuable, redeemable coupons or a raffle ticket for the Grand Prize worth around $200. The more eggs one finds the more chances to win!
The hunt will begin at 10:00 AM, right after signing up at the Registration Desk in front of the Foxburg Library. You may also register online to save time. All participants are asked to contribute $3 donation to benefit the Foxburg Free Library and Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts, both of which serve the entire AC Valley region. The first 250 registrants will receive a complimentary collection bag. Since some of the prizes and coupons are alcohol related all Eggers should be 21 years of age or over. Seniors over 65 will get a 3 minute head start. Egg hunt will last for an hour or as long as supply of eggs last.
The hunt will occur rain or shine! So, in case we don’t get those “clear blue skies”, be sure to bring umbrellas and rain gear. The Grand Prize drawing will be held around 11:00 AM in front of the Library.
Before spring finally makes up its mind, here’s a suggestion for a bleak wintry night. A river story, by legendary spookmeister Algernon Blackwood (what a name). He lived from 1869-1951, and this, perhaps his most famous story, is called “The Willows,” the tale of a canoe trip down the Danube by two young men. The way it evokes the glories of that famous river is wonderful. Until things get weird, of course. Guaranteed to add a chill to the bones of winter.
You can find it in several anthologies online. I like the reading of it on YouTube through LibriVox.
It’s a glorious example of how rivers speak to us.
Look for more Allegheny (and other river) posts soon.
Welcoming Spring and her bounty is a favorite time for all, as we shake the last few flakes of snow from our boots and our thoughts, shifting them toward warmer days.
Spring is indeed the “brainstorming” phase of Nature’s cycle. It is a time of revelation. A time of awe and wonder… and planning. Easter celebrations mark the spirit of reflection, renewal and rebirth, as family and friends emerge from their warm and cozy dens. We join together again, sharing insights from the calm heart of winter, which lays the foundation for the active Summer days.
Filling up baskets full of Springtime goodness!
Many of us take care to fill this time with anticipation, bringing forth glimpses of the bounty to come. We hold the first feast with our loved ones since the coming of the New Year. We engage in outdoor games and hunt for evidence of the blossoming season, including that which has been hidden by the Easter Bunny. We indulge a bit in delicious treats and revel in the sweetness of the revival. It is a very special time indeed.
So fill your hearts with eagerness and fill your baskets with provisions! Summer is officially on its way! Yet, take the time to enjoy the masterful glory of Spring’s changeability. She will show you all that is possible, if you know just where to look!
Join us Saturday, March 28th at 10am for our annual Easter Egg Hunt!
Note: Our beautiful cover image for this post is the masterful artwork of Emily Balivet.
Now that we have explored one aspect of naming chocolates, wherein sounds form words, which become names leading to flavor fusions, resulting finally in a creative chocolate confection, let’s delve a little deeper and explore how the physical characteristics available to the sensory perception of taste, communicates its own name into auditory being!
As we know, there are six flavor qualities which occur in varying degrees in any given substance. They are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. Naturally, in chocolate making, I deal primarily with the first three in the list; carefully interweaving accents of the latter to create interest. Now, some things are obvious, such as people’s unabashed love of chocolate and caramel, but have you ever thought about the varying degrees of flavor contexts that could be used to amplify the chocolate caramel experience? I have… quite extensively I might add. I dare to say, that in the name of all things Divani, we have hardly missed a beat in this arena.
Some of you may be familiar with our Gourmet Chocolate Caramels I presume? We have pushed the limits on what’s ‘normal’ when it comes to creating combinations based on these six flavors. Then, back to the naming thing, once a new chocolate caramel creation was made, I plopped that baby right in the center of my mouth, allowing it to coat every corner, then gently began to chew and “listen”.
No – I wasn’t waiting to hear the chocolate’s plea for help as I mercilessly devoured every bit of it, but rather for its essence to whisper its name into being. One of my favorite examples of this phenomena is the “Midnight Sun”. Fancy this – Semi-Sweet dark Belgian chocolate plated above and below a surprisingly vivid orange caramel center. It’s as if the solar life force of our galaxy were shining its blissful rays at the peak of night! It’s brilliant!
A few more examples of this profound naming process are as follows: Rumalicious, Berry Patch, and Gingerbread. And those are just the caramels! We also have Karmaluscious Barks such as Tropical Tease, Fluffernutter, and Allegheny Forest whose names divulge a depth of flavorificness! (So good they need a new word to define them.) And don’t even get me started on the creative beverages served in our cafe, and how these chocolate treats can easily be combined indefinitely with various drinks to create all new, yet to be named experiences!
By now, I’m pretty sure you’re hip deep in Wonderland, so I’ll just leave you with that for now. Of course, if you’d like to get belly deep… pay us a visit!
“I sat in a field of shamrocks for a year, then ate some blackberries and talked to the local almonds and now I have all these points!”
~ Quote from a dream I had once.
The “Otherlanguage” of Sound
When asked how I come up with the flavor combinations for our chocolate confections, an enigmatic response arises. Sure, it may seem like a straight forward process, but truly, it is based upon a menagerie of ideas, concepts, and inspirations. I’ll start with the ‘name creating flavor’ approach.
“What is in a name? Would a rose by any other name smell less sweet?”
~ William Shakespeare via Juliet Capulet
It’s a rather quizzical and philosophical metaphor posed by Juliet, which makes for great romantic tragedy, but I have a feeling had Romeo been named Seymour Butts instead, he might not have shaped up to be the person he presented to Juliet on the night of their meeting. Nor would Juliet have been too eager to become Mrs. Seymour Butts.
You see, sounds carry information. And information does just what it says it does, it puts things “in formation”. It arranges circumstances and knowledge with imagery, giving way to a specific, definitive outcome. Certain arrangements of sounds, when uttered together, could convey to a listener anything and everything from confidence to mystery to humor to innocence. When was the last time you heard someone describe a food and said something like, “Oh that sounds delicious!” or “Ew, that sounds disgusting!” based solely on the sound of the word(s)?
It’s because the sounds carried forth information based on a plethora of perception. Now, some perceptions are more obvious than others, being that they are indeed from a relatively modern era and can be traced back to their origins. Still others come from a space seeming otherworldly and inexplicable. But we won’t go there for now. After all, in the art of naming confections for consumer appeal, one must remain harmonious with common contexts.
So where does this bring us? Close your eyes…. no wait… don’t close your eyes, you are reading and won’t be able to continue if you do. Okay, so… leave your eyes open… but allow your mind to drift freely when you read these next words and utter them aloud.
Now add the layer of knowledge that this is a collection of chocolates in a box. What might be in it if you were the creator? What combinations would convey these sounds into flavors? Or, even if you don’t want to get as involved as to dream up these tasty treats, just imagine if you were seeking a chocolate experience and happened upon an assortment by this name, without even looking at the contents, does your first instinct whisper, “You have got to try those!”?
Well, this is in fact one such variety of boxed chocolates whose name conveyed its contents. How does creamed honey with pure essential oil based flavors sound to you? That’s what they are.
Here’s where a clever someone might say, “But I don’t like honey”. To which my response would be, “That’s why I didn’t call them Honey Dreams.” To have called it Honey Dreams would have diluted the essence of the experience and made it finitely attached to a persons perception of honey.
“But wait!” you say, “I thought you named it first than came up with the combinations!” And I did, but it just so happens that these matters are sort of like Wonderland and somehow wind up being all inside-outsee and topsy-turvy. The name spoke of a delightful sweet, dream like experience, which was precisely how I felt the moment I tried creamed honey for the first time. Whisked away to dream land where all is divine! I just knew that sensation had to be enraptured by chocolate. And so it was.
Wonder awaits at the bottom of the rabbit hole.
Want to see what we mean? Try Sweet Dreams in Milk or Semi-Sweet Chocolate!
Valentine’s Day. It’s is all about the love. Seems fitting that, hey… so are we! Hence, why we produce the one confection that pretty much says all there is to say in terms of love. Chocolate – or more specifically for this particular holiday, chocolate covered strawberries! Red, ripe, chocolate covered strawberries are great for all kinds of crazy love, such as: friendly love, family love, respectful love, appreciative love, sympathetic love, self love, and of course, romantic love.
We tend to think a lot in terms of what sort of love these luscious delicacies are for, but what about the love that goes in to these sumptuous sweets?
There are a lot of caring steps involved in delivering you and your loved ones the best of the best in terms of chocolate covered strawberries. Some are undertaken by ourselves, and others by those with whom we choose to work.
So, here’s a little timeline snapshot of your Valentine’s Day berries in how they get from the farm to your, or your loved one’s, heart!
First, being outside of our strawberry growing season here in Western PA, the strawberries are grown in California’s temperate region, are picked on a Saturday, then freighted the same day to arrive at our local distributor on Monday.
Depending upon which day the holiday falls, we either pick up our reserved flats immediately or allow them to remain in store until day before dipping.
Once brought to our kitchen, they are thoroughly washed in special high-alkalinity water to remove any pesticides, dirt, or all other residues that don’t belong. They are then spread out on a flat surface in a clean, cool environment to air dry.
The very next morning, before the sun rise, they are individually hand dipped in our signature Belgian chocolate, and topped with the appropriate toppings.
Finally, they are boxed and ribboned for presentation to our lovely customers!
I make it sound easy, don’t I? But the truth is, it takes a lot of love and a lot of life-force to conjure up these fabulous confections for that one very special day – for everyone’s very special someones. All in all, to see the faces of mostly grown men, light up, when they pick up their Princess or Queen box of chocolate covered strawberries for their sweetheart – well, that makes it so worth it!
While winter is too easily thought of as the season that rudely squeezes us indoors, limiting our fun to seeking sedentary clusters of warmth, stoked by family, friends, food and TV (which still ain’t bad), there are also many joyous experiences of nature to be had and be thankful for, between November and April. Outdoor enthusiasts in the winter relish a trek to the ski slopes or day on the pond of ice fishing, but most physical activity in the winter months is limited to the sterility of exercise equipment. Good for us, but just not as much fun as outdoor exercise the rest of the year.
There still are outdoor activities, and they don’t have to be vigorous (or chilling) as skiing or skateboarding. When I asked Darl Black, superior fishing expert and writer on the subject, about winter on the river, (contact oilregion.org to subscribe to his regular fishing reports; read his blog “Going Fishin’” at www.darlblack.blogspot.com), he confesses he doesn’t like cold weather or ice fishing one bit. But…”The Allegheny River often remains fairly ice free,” all winter long if things stay mild. Take care to find a safe boat ramp with no ice, however, and dress warmly, he cautions.
Walleye and musky are the most likely to hit during cold water, especially on jigs (hair jigs/tube jigs) or live minnow/chubs. So when a partly sunny, mostly calm winter day (temps above 35 degrees) arrives, you’ll find Darl fishing the Allegheny – and loving it. A recent report indicated the walleye fishing around Foxburg was excellent.
Yet, in another way the nature that winter presents us in this part of the world has a benefit the visions of nature’s summer can’t offer. When the weather is warm we feel the need to be outdoors to appreciate the season’s loveliness. But in the winter, while some outdoor activities continue, we can also take a luxurious bath of delight in simply staying put and staring out the window at a beloved homestead. Snow-clad trees rolling in a tender wind, or the gentle push of snow being winded around can both provide real relaxing visual pleasures. Not all of winter is awful.
PS Coming soon, Darl’s new website – www.blackwolfecommunications.com.
PAUL ADOMITES has written fifteen books and edited several dozen others. This article begins his exploration of the Allegheny River and will continue, here and elsewhere. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.