Photo by rosevitaAfter a rough day earlier this week, I stopped by my favorite chocolate store for a little treat. I bought six caramels of three different varieties. Now, I could have eaten them in the store or on the walk to the Metro or even as soon as I entered my front door. But I didn’t want just to eat them but to savor the whole experience. So, I let the anticipation build.

Sometime after dinner, I opened them. The first was a lavender caramel. Its delicate purple hue was lustrous. Placing it on my tongue, I closed my mouth and eyes and let it start to melt. Soon, the outer chocolate coating began to dissolve. And then, it cracked. The filling gushed into my mouth, flooding me with a perfume-like quality that was anything but cloying.

A few minutes later, I repeated the process with the salted butter caramel, marveling at its richly golden color. Again my mouth was awash in sensation. Calling it flavor seems almost limiting. The texture! The crackling of the thin outer shell! The gooey rush of the filling! Sweetness. Richness.

And then the final type a while later, a rosemary caramel. You read right, rosemary. It worked amazingly well and had a taste intensity that rivaled the other two.

I had three more caramels, one of each that I had just tried. All in all, I spaced them out over about an hour, writing or reading in between. But whenever I ate one, I was sure to stop whatever it was I was doing and fully revel in the experience, in the taste, texture, and color of each piece.

To truly indulge isn’t about quantity. It’s not necessarily even about quality, although I’ll take six hand-crafted confections over an entire box of store-bought candy any day. To be a voluptuary is to attend to our enjoyments, to let sensations linger, and not rush merely to consume more.

Indulgence also doesn’t have to be expensive. You can take delight in just about anything, be it a steaming mug of your favorite tea on a cold day, taking a lingeringly hot bath by candlelight, or listening to a favorite piece of music while doing absolutely nothing else.

Pause, relish in the experience, reflect on it, and enjoy!