firstname.lastname@example.org The holiday season is one for the senses. Everywhere, cash registers and receipt printers ring in our ever-growing debt, and TV radiates hours of prepackaged cheer, turning your eyes as red as Rudolph’s nose. That’s not Santa’s warm embrace you feel, but a sweaty headlock from some irate, 250-pound father proclaiming his rights to the last PlayStation 3 in the store. All in all, this time of year can leave a pretty rotten taste in your mouth.nn
So, it’s only fair that the season causing that rotten taste can also inspire a remedy.nn
Christmas and treats are almost synonymous. Few other weeks of the year allow for as much massive guilt-free gorging. And because of their nondiscriminatory nature, sweets give all people a warm feeling inside (or is it the eggnog?).
Anyway, here’s my top-five list of holiday treats to really sink your teeth into this year.nn
5. Caramel-dipped apples'Have you ever received a fruit basket for a gift? No matter how artfully the fruit is arranged, in your head you’re thinking, “Lame!â€ or, “Thanks for your groceries.â€ But imagine if all those apples were covered in gooey goodness'maybe the best present ever? If any candy purist can walk by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (at various locations including Trolley Square, The Gateway, Salt Lake City International Airport) and not salivate over the display of beautiful covered apples, then my hat goes off to you. Just be careful to not lick off all the caramel first, because underneath, it’s just an apple.nn
4. Salt water taffy'How could I not mention this? Because of its extensive history and locally based production, taffy is as much of a part of Utah heritage as beehives and Sea Monkeys. It’s also delicious in its simplicity. Unlike other variety candy (i.e., jelly beans), you hardly ever see strange flavors like “popcorn” that can taint a whole mouthful. Peppermint taffy is a welcome departure from all the overpowering candy canes you eat all season. If you don’t believe me, take a trip down 800 South and tell me that Taffy Town (55 W. 800 South, 355-4637) is not the taffy-est place in the city.nn
3. Baked goods'Nothing is more “spirit of the season” than a plate of homemade brownies, cookies, cakes, tarts or fudge. The only thing keeping love from being listed as an official ingredient in grandparents’ recipes is that McCormick & Co. hasn’t found a way to bottle it. But be wary of whom you accept your goods from because that bearded man from the drum circle in Liberty Park is not Santa, and that funny feeling you have after eating his brownies is not “holiday cheer.nn
2. Popcorn'Props to popcorn for being the only nonsweet treat on the list. Seriously, how many tri-segmented tins of this stuff can you go through this season? Of course, the caramel section is always the biggest and least likely to be finished, only because it violates the salty/sweet boundary that shouldn’t be crossed. A gourmet company like The Mad Popper (47 Orange St., 466-0330) also lets you mix and match with more flavors if caramel isn’t your thing.nn
1. Chocolate'I have a friend who doesn’t like chocolate, and he lives with his parents, hasn’t had a date in years and he’s probably a communist. Coincidence? I think not.nn
OK, so it’s not a shock to see chocolate as No. 1, but it’s the truth. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac, an addiction and it was used as currency in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (not even alcohol can take credit for that). A box of chocolates from local vendors like V Chocolates (factory at 3590 S. Via Terra St., 269-8444) makes a very elegant gift, but there’s also no harm in eating a 1-pound bag all by yourself while you watch your VHS copy of California Raisins’ Christmas Special for the 88th time.nn
nThree oddities for Ã¼ber-jaded holiday thrill-seekers:
- Chocolate-covered bugs (CandyDirect.com)'Hey, if covering them in chocolate makes them any sweeter to eat nn
- Religious candy (EnjouChocolat.com)'If I eat thee, Communion Lollipop, have I sinned? Mmmm, sacri-licious.nn
- Pez (everywhere)'There’s a scene in the 1989 Patrick Swayze classic Road House where, to defend his position as the No. 1 club bouncer, he rips another guy’s throat out. I think of this scene every time I eat Pez.