I have been absolutely obsessed with peppermint this Christmas season. Obsessed, I tell you!
It started a few years ago when I heard that a good, low-calorie option at the coffee shop is a peppermint latte. Maybe the syrup isn't as sugary as other flavors, and it's certainly lower in calories than a mocha. I will drink a peppermint latte any time of year, so I was disappointed when Eurocafe, one of my favorite locally owned cafes, stopped carrying peppermint syrup after the holidays last year. This year, I was looking forward to my favorite taste of Christmas as December approached. Before Thanksgiving, they started making the Peppermint Mocha Trio at our Borders. It's not low in calories at all. Okay, I felt like I had to make that clear, but from here on out I am not talking about calories because this is a post about peppermint bringing pure pleasure to the senses--not about navigating the Holidays without gaining weight. (That might be a good post, but probably not on my blog because the only Christmas I didn't gain weight I owed my success to food poisoning.) That first taste of the peppermint mocha at Borders had me craving more peppermint. But on my next visit to Eurocafe, they didn't have peppermint (yet, I thought). So I kept buying my poison at Borders and even--gulp--Starbucks. I used to shun Starbucks like the plague, but alas I have succumbed. Before you judge me, look at the area where you live. Do you have locally owned coffee shops within walking or short driving distance? Then don't judge me. If I lived closer to Zummos (the ultimate local coffee shop with amazing freshly roasted coffee and even a clover!), I would not set foot in another cafe (except for a drive-through maybe--oh, wait, that wouldn't be my foot anyway).
So, the next time I drove through Eurocafe I asked for peppermint again. They still did not have it!
"Are you going to be getting it this season?" I tremulously asked the boy at the window.
He turned to somebody in charge. When he appeared again, he shook his head.
"What?" My heart sank. "Not at all?"
Do you know what this means? I've been going to Starbucks more often. I feel like a hypocrite because I used to blast them to everybody. I even indulged in their peppermint brownie. It was pretty good--but I couldn't help thinking that I could do better. My brownies are to die for if I do say so myself. And how hard could it be to make that icing? So I looked up a copycat recipe on the web and tweaked it (a lot). The results were . . . I just can't find the words. I'll be making them again--soon. And dressing them up a little more if I have time.
But I still wasn't thrilled with my buying options for peppermint espresso concoctions. (Totally did not intend to rhyme that.) I posted my disappointment with Eurocafe as a status on Facebook and got a few suggestions. One, Mansour's Market, served me an amazing latte. I'm definitely returning there, but it's not a very convenient location for me. Last week I happened to take the kids to Tioga Bistro for lunch after we all got haircuts and I was pleased to see a Peppermint Patty Mocha on their menu. I asked for one to go.
I have found it. The perfect peppermint mocha. I will be moving in next door to Tioga Bistro.
I guess I could just buy an espresso maker and some peppermint syrup, but what fun would that be? Actually, it could be a lot of fun. And it could save me money. I just don't know what would keep me from drinking peppermint latte after peppermint latte all day long.
Addendum: After avoiding my favorite locally-owned coffee shop, Eurocafe, for most of the month of December, I discovered early in January that they actually did have peppermint this Holiday season! I don't know who said they weren't getting it, but last week they still had peppermint syrup and they will make a delicious peppermint white mocha drink on request. Yum!