Love is in the Air
As I gingerly open the door to the packed room, the sight and smell of dozens of different types of chocolate treats quickly arouse my senses. There are throngs of men here at Betsy Ann Chocolates outside of Pittsburgh to do their last-minute Valentine’s Day shopping. Personally, I loathe Valentine’s Day. Professionally, I love it.
For the second year, Karen and Jim Paras, co-owners of Betsy Ann Chocolates (http://www.betsyann.com/), have given me a reason to look forward to Valentine’s Day. Last year, Karen asked us to partner with them on a special project to bring a little sweetness to military families. They would supply the sweets, we would provide the shipping.
I’m standing in their festively-decorated retail store that is attached to the Betsy Ann Chocolate factory where for the past 70 years they have handcrafted the best truffles known to mankind. I’ve done enough product testing to know. Along with the dozens of men in the store, we’re here to pick up some special Valentine’s Day treats — dozens of boxes of gourmet chocolates which will be delivered by FedEx Home Delivery to the stateside loved ones of military personnel overseas.
Working with the Army and Air Force Reserves, deployed troops from the Pittsburgh area had the opportunity to send an extravagant gift from Betsy Ann Chocolates to their families, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. My guess is that chocolate stores like Betsy Ann’s don’t abound in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even sweeter than the chocolates were the notes the soldiers penned to their loved ones like this one, “A Little Sweet Treat to Let You Know YOU Are the Sweetest Part of My Life. I Love You and The Kids Bunches!!!”
Feeling a rush of love for Valentine’s Day, I bought my oldest and dearest sweetheart a little something to celebrate the day. Amid the boxes of chocolates for the military is a box of peanut butter meltaways for my 89-year-old grandmother.
Photo caption: Mr. Cupid — Jim Paras of Betsy Ann Chocolates.