That is what I call the first few seconds when I or anyone else around me opens a beautiful box of chocolates (or maybe just a small cellophane bag filled with chocolate goodness). Here’s how it happens, from the store all the way to my stomach: I walk in, breath deeply and head straight for the counter where all my little friends are decked out in their Sunday best. Usually I go for a custom-filled box, so I take my time in choosing flavors (all things caramel, yes! Liquors and marzipans, maybe not…). Once the shop attendant starts giving me an eyeful for taking so damn long, I ask him/her to just finish the box with something classic, like orangettes or simple dark chocolate ganache. After that, and depending on the weather (no melted choccies, please) I skip or rush back home and take a seat at the dining table. Whoever heard of this chocolate run is probably there already, with a glass of water to sip between tastes. We admire the packaging, the sturdiness of the box, the artistry of the logo. Then we unfurl the ribbon, take or slide the top off and, lo and behold, our little friends just waiting for us. The best boxes usually come with a great little picture menu, so that you always know what you are going to eat. But sometimes, blind tasting is fun. We each pick out a bonbon, look and smell it carefully and then bite into it, checking for a thin casing around the filling and a smooth ganache or sandy praline or whatever the case may be. Then we switch bonbons and compare. We only have two or three bonbons at a time. I think it’s because we enjoy this brief, wondrous moment all too much and want to recreate it as many times as possible with each different box we ever get our hands on.