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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 04/16/15

Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 CATEGORIES OF TASTY CHOCOLATE TREATS TO DIE FOR!!








    I know there are thousands, if not millions of chocolate lovers out there. I happen to be one of those people and have tried several different chocolate treats in my lifetime. So what do I consider to be the top chocolate treats? I find that there are several different chocolate treat categories and there are treats in each category that are better than the rest. This article will stick to foods you can buy in almost any grocery store. These chocolate treats are low in price but high in taste.













Candy bars: We've all tried several varieties of this chocolate treat, but which ones are the best? Throughout my life, my tastes have changed and I've had several different favorites. My favorites lean now to either the milky way bar , with it's chocolate and caramel, or a nice big snickers bar, with the chocolate and caramel and a little dose of peanuts to go with it.














Ice Cream: Let's face it, just plain old chocolate ice cream is wonderful. It's right up there with vanilla. Vanilla you say? But I thought this was about things chocolate. You're right, but vanilla is like a canvas of a painting you can add anything to it to make it whatever flavor you're craving at the time. Anything from hot fudge to chocolate chips, a little or a lot, it's up to you to decide. When we talk ice cream it's all about the quality of it and the QUANTITY of it. We can go to the local market and get anything from rocky road to brownie batter ( chocolate ice cream with chunks of brownies. The ice cream world is your oyster, shuck it and eat it all up!!!













Cookies: When most of us think of a cookie, it's probably a nice, chewy, gooy, dunk in your milk, chocolate chip cookies. My family can't even wait for them to go into the oven, they'd rather eat cookie doe instead. You can make up a batch of them and after they come out of the oven, take some chocolate chips, put them in a microwave safe bowl, and when the chocolate has melted, dip half of the chocolate cookies in it for a little bit of a chocolate high!














Snack Cakes: Nothing says comfort food more than a box of individually wrapped ding dongs or ho ho's! A couple of them with a glass of ice cold milk hits the spot. I don't think there's a snack cake made that isn't good.












Candies: When you think of loose chocolate candies, does anything come to mind? Anyone?? Anyone??....You in the back row, with your hand up, what is it?.......I box of See's candy sir! Nuts and chews if you please!!.....Good answer! Good answer!
Anything from truffles to chocolate covered almonds with caramel and everything in between. Like Forrest Gump always says, "Life is like a box a chocolates! You never know what you're gonna get!" So be sure that it's a good quality chocolate, not a box of some unknown companies chocolates that you got at the Dollar Store (that sure doesn't taste like the chocolate I'm used to!).
    While there are several other chocolate treat categories, these are some of the best. I hope this article made you think of all of the different flavors and smells coming this holiday season and make sure you eat it in moderation. So next time when you're having a craving for more of that ding dong or those nuts and chews, there will be some more for you to eat, that little stash you keep for yourself, your family doesn't know about.










THE SPANISH SEMANA SANTA TRADITION!









    While Semana Santa is a national tradition throughout Spain, the "Andalucians" arguably "feel" the week more than other regions of Spain. Throughout 7 days, Andalucia is surrounded by a spiritual halo.Semana Santa is a tradition which is repeated year after year, a time when the devout and curious joint together to participated in the procession and converge on the streets and squares which take on the ambiance and mystique of an open air temple.












    The skill and expertise behind the parades rest with the religious fraternities and brotherhoods. They have the responsibility of maintaining the statues as well as coordinating the penitents and musicians. Sometimes up to two thousand members of a brotherhood take part, some carry candles, rods or banners depending on their level of seniority. The most senior is the president who carries a golden rod.











    The "costaleros" who carry the weight on the floats and their sculptured representations of the biblical scene are directed by the overseer or head of the group who ensures that the float is carried with maximum seriousness, grace and tradition. To be able to survive the long hours and distance carrying the heavy "thrones" the costaleros have a cushion, known as the costal, which prevents the direct contact of the wood rubbing against the skin. The thrones are followed by "nazarenos" dressed in tunics, hoods and masks and women dressed in traditional costume.











    The high point of the procession is when the float exits and enters the respective church. This is the moment when art and religion seem merged into one. A sculpture of images created by superb craftsmen. The best floats date back to the 16th and 17th centuries and can still be seen today.
    The entire scene is alive with color and sound, thanks to the polychromatic variety of tunics, hoods, ensigns and banners. Emotions are stirred by the slow rhythmic beating of the drums and processional marches, the swaying paces of the bearers and the poignant wailing of the "saeta" which is a sacred song similar to the flamenco and sung through the Holy Week processions.











    Even if you are not religious, it is difficult not to be moved, the atomsphere is so vital and poignant. For some it is a fun filled fiesta time, for others a week of ritual and reflection. Without a doubt, Holy Week in Andalucia is a tradition that is an integral part of the culture and appropriatly reflects the spirit of the people.
    Year after year, each and every village proudly enjoys the berauty and mystery of "Semana Santa", although there are variances and some towns for instance, will preserve certain traditions more than others. The villages and hamlets generally hold their parades on Thursdays and Fridays, while the large capital cities have week long celebrations and attract thousands of people from far and wide.
    Irrespective of size, each float represents the pride and enthusiasm of every Andaluz who will spend the entire night, from dusk until dawn, accompanying them in solemn reverence to his or her religion.