When I was quite young, my uncle would keep bags of Kahlua-filled chocolates in his refrigerator. Whenever I went over to visit, I would sneak a few of them. (Perhaps I was not quite that young. Early teens). They were shaped like bottles, wrapped in foil printed to look like Kahlua bottles. Really, they were adorable. I would either carefully bite off their tops, suck out the liqueur, then eat the chocolate shells, or I would pop the entire chocolate in my mouth and savor the explosion.
Many years passed, and I would be in college before I was able to enjoy the sensation of liqueur-filled chocolate again. Occasionally someone would have those cherry-filled chocolates, with a burst of kirsch-flavored syrup inside, but it wasn't quite the same. The physical sensation of hard chocolate shell breaking apart to release liquid filling was there, but then you were missing that faint burn at the back of your throat, the heady perfume of Kahlua or Grand Marnier or cognac or whatever.
And then I was nearly nineteen years old and flying from Helsinki to New York with a group of classmates, part of a longer journey that began in St. Petersburg and ended in Seattle. There was an endless layover in Helsinki, which I spent reading British fashion magazines while others explored the wonders of duty-free. I had arrived in St. Petersburg with about $1000 in my pocket and had miraculously left (one! month! later!) with $900. (This would change after twenty hours spent in New York). This is because a) I don't drink (much) and b) I don't smoke, and c) I had no interest in collecting souvenirs which would wind up collecting dust on the floor of someone's closet. Unlike several of my traveling companions.
My reticent (some would say boring) nature did not, however, prevent me from accepting several cute little blue chocolates from M., who was sitting across the aisle (along with a copy of Playboy, which I accepted gratefully because by then I was completely out of reading material). Upon closer inspection, these little chocolates turned out to be shaped like bottles of Skyy vodka, which is why it came as no surprise that they were also filled with Skyy vodka. I looked over at M., and by that point he had eaten about half a bag of these, ahem, chocolates, and was clearly, happily, inebriated. I was not nearly as euphoric, but I found that the sweet chocolate followed by the cool burn of vodka was a happy sensation.
Which brings me to yesterday, when K. and I came into work to be greeted by our supervisor (the other K.) bearing a pile of liqueur-filled chocolates thoughtfully purchased at the Canadian duty-free during her vacation. There was a wide assortment, filled with Kahlua or raspberry-flavored vodka or cognac or whiskey or bourbon. After an enormous lunch, the hours spent peering into the microscope (bobbing along to the early 90's techno booming on my ipod) were broken up by occasional forays towards the enticing array of bottle-shaped chocolates. Which was a lovely way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon at work, floating on a cloud of liqueur-filled chocolate-induced euphoria.