The dark and frigid air circulates with ceaseless whispers; carried in these windy currents is the intoxicating aroma of cooking chocolates. The very molecules of the night agitate with the upward swell of chords of music elongated by sweeps of tensed horsehair hanks over the tremulous strings of a quartet of violin, viola, cello, and upright bass. The music is heavy with passion and enchantment. A dancing duo pivot into the scene– they take steep and measured tango steps towards the azure entrance of Shane Confectionery. Her burgundy dress billows in the breeze; his tuxedo shirt is illumed by the pearly light that frays outward from the building’s façade. Tonight is a night of romance. Our young gentleman knows that in order to bring his date to the zenithed height of ecstasy, he must take her to the grounds of 110 Market Street, so rich with a heritage of sweetness. He must take her to the space perfumed by the aprodisiacal fragrance of tempering chocolates.
The young lovers enter through the in-swinging door marked with the names and reigns of master confectioners. The couple whose veins rush with crimson torrents step onto a beryl carpet; they look out onto the mirror-bottomed display cases which array hundreds of homemade sweets and delicacies. Cordial cherries with garnet-colored interiors and umber exteriors lie lavishly, chocolate dipped strawberries of elephantine proportions are invitingly situated on the shelving, menthyl Valentines Holland Mints dot along, pastel Jordan Almonds fill glass display jars, red hot Cinnamon Hearts warm one’s stare…the elegant arrangement makes their hearts pound like tympanies.
Truffles catch our lovers’ eyes– dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate filled with chambord, invigorating dark chocolate espresso, milk chocolate hazelnut, fizz-ensnared champagne– all of these beckon the salivating tongues of our star-destined pair. Our lovers issue their purchase and exit the confectionery with beaming smiles. Once more they pass the string quartet, and they dance to the doorway of 116 Market Street a few paces down the block.
They approach the soda fountain, whose xanthic light radiates from a milkglass lamp. They enter the store, seeing familiar faces that greet them warmly. Offers to sample the newest ice cream flavor, “Black Forest” are immediately made. The deliciousness of the flavors overtakes them. A dashing young soda jerk calls their attention to homemade cinnamon marshmallows, gently wrapped and ready to take home. The soda jerk explains that they make great gift items. He then calls their attention to an arrangement of real dark long-stemmed roses. Our couple smiles at one another. Perhaps the lovers would like some Chestnut and Port Wine truffles penned “Nipples of Venus.” The soda jerk blushes. He then brings them to a glass display case of fine woodwork, where chocolate-dipped pretzels are arranged; they come in three flavors: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. Wait just a moment– the soda jerk knows exactly what the lovers want. They would like an ice cream soda romantically served with two straws to quench their thirst. It is the newest item to the menu, and just in time for St. Valentines Day, the “Coeur D’écarlate,” or “The Scarlet Heart,” a treat consisting of strawberry purée, fresh milk, sparkling water, and a scoop of sweet and creamy coconut ice cream. They order one and enjoy it slowly, its irresistible taste overcomes them both. Our lovers leave, satisfied, knowing that they both will come back for more.
This concludes this chapter…
The Berley Brothers and Staff
On January 26th, brother Ryan was invited to join in a conversation between Mayor Nutter, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and a select group of Philadelphia food leaders. Topics discussed were food stamp programs recently under fire, nutritional lunches for schools and the recent rise of farming activity in the United States. Ryan asked Secretary Vilsack how the Administration can overcome the variety of barriers to get more Americans to buy local and domestic food. His answer? Communication of information related to micro and macro food processing, labeling foodstuff as “Local” or “Made in America” and education about the related benefits of better health, more domestic jobs and greater safety controls with food grown and processed closer to our homes. Yes!