Sex & Candy: The time my mother-in-law accidentally bought me edible body frosting

Illustration: Karl Gustafson
FeaturesFeaturesStories from The Takeout about food, drink, and how we live.

Last Christmas was mercifully routine for my family. Weeks earlier, it looked as though we’d face a wave of holiday disasters involving extended family members. One relative’s health was failing. Another was fighting addiction. Not to mention all the personal brushfires that needed to be left unattended until the holidays were allowed to play out. Grim stuff.

It was no small pleasure when Christmas morning arrived with all of the truly bad stuff at bay, and the time came to open presents at my in-law’s place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We traded cozy, utilitarian comforts like gym shorts and kitschy pajama pants. The best gift of all was given to me by my mother-in-law. It appeared to be a food spread of some sort. This is technically true, but what I unwrapped that day was so much weirder than your everyday Welch’s or marshmallow fluff. Inscribed in sheepishly small block letters was a two-word phrase: “Body Frosting.”

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Alarmed, my mother-in-law asked why my spouse and I were laughing at this perfectly valid gift. Unsure how else to explain it, my spouse looked over and said, “por sexo.”

Photo: Zach Brooke
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Here is a smattering of facts about my mother-in-law:

  1. She loves bargains. Goodwill and the Walmart clearance aisle are the alpha and omega of her retail universe, occasionally supplemented by trips to Sam’s Club to procure Ensure in bulk.
  2. She’s not a native English speaker. Both her and my father-in-law grew up in Puerto Rico. Despite the fact they tried like to hell to minimize the amount of Spanish in their home as to better assimilate their kids into the Anglophile world, they prefer to communicate in Spanish. My first Thanksgiving with my in-laws was spent watching Paul Blart 2 en Español. Though I speak nary a word of Spanish, I enjoyed the parts that communicated through the universal language of Segway pratfalls.
  3. She has no idea what I like. She shares this trait with my own mother, who has eschewed personalized gifts altogether in favor of scratch-off lottery tickets and gas-station gift certificates.
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It’s clear what happened here. My mother-in-law was sauntering amid Walmart’s clearance stock for last-minute Christmas gifts, and thought she came across a set of fancy jams. Five flavors encased in glass screw-top jars, festively shrink-wrapped. Being a busy woman, she plunged the item into her cart and got on her with life, not thinking twice about her selection until the Christmas Day unmasking.

What’s less clear is… everything else. Who would use something like this? What was Walmart thinking when its staff stocked it? Are we a couple of fiscal quarters away from each superstore housing its own adults-only red-light aisle? How does this stuff taste, anyway?

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Two of the flavors are fruity-chocolate combo; two others are coffee-esque. The last one is classic cocoa. The frosting’s texture is thick, yet runny. Not quite a fluffy buttercream, but more viscous than Hershey’s. I imagine using all of it in a single go would leave you looking like Winnie the Pooh masquerading as a raincloud. No ingredients are listed—which is very disconcerting—but each bottle comes with a set of instructions (see photo):

Step 4: “Dessert’s on me”
Photo: Zach Brooke
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There’s an 800-number printed on the label for obtaining nutritional information, in case extreme CICO logging is part of your foreplay. Calling it leads to a dead phone line. The accompanying website, bodyfrosting.com, is also out of commission. A search of the archived history for the company’s website reveals a nostalgic layout and copywriting reminiscent of the chain emails of internet 1.0. The body frosting was introduced in 1998, and was just one in a line of what the makers’ dub “sensual chocolate products.” Similar offerings included, well, just let them tell you about it:

“Two of our favorites are our Body Talk Tattoo Set, shown here, or our Strip Chocolate Game®. With our Body Talk Tattoo Set you can say it with Chocolate, and then eat your words! Or experience the game of ultimate sensual pleasure with our Strip Chocolate® Game. It’s sexy, and it’s very, very tasty! But don’t worry, there’s more! Discover our elegant Sensual Chocolate Products today, and let the fun begin!”

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In fairness, the company sold more than sex chocolate. The same team also developed chocolate “pasta noodles,” pictured tossed with blueberries and raspberries, and “chocolate flavored coffee spoons.”

Chocoholics Divine Desserts moved its headquarters between California cities three times throughout the 1990s and 2000s. At some point, it contracted with Walmart, which must have been a boon. Then it disappeared. The last Yelp review of its tourable factory is from 2009. Whether it was the Great Recession, the low-sugar craze, or a prudish nation turning its nose up at sensual chocolate, the dream of a pair of outside-the-box chocolate fanatics was not meant to be, and this body frosting gift basket bequeathed to me on Christmas 2018 is at least a decade old.

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It would be a shame to let perfectly good, albeit old, frosting go to waste. But I have no desire to slather it on myself, nor lick it out of my partner’s body hair. I’m too vanilla to have sex with chocolate.

There’s got to be another way to enjoy this marital aid, I thought. Using it in place of jam as on toast or matzo was unremarkable—not bad, but far from orgasmic. As might be expected, liquid chocolate paired well with strawberries. And stirring some into silky Greek yogurt was pleasantly appetizing, reminiscent of Dannon Double Delights.

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Molé was my most absurd concoction. I spent a good chunk of an afternoon blending and simmering pungent peppers and fragrant seasonings only to create a rich, smoky sauce whose most intense note was the espresso flavoring of this particular sex chocolate. Bitter and off-putting by itself, it was palatable when smothered on roasted chicken, and even better the next day as a homemade McNuggets dipping sauce.

Sex chocolate mole
Photo: Zach Brooke
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With the limited contents of the small jars running low, and the lacking the know-how or desire to obtain more, I decided to use the last remaining smears for something closer to the original intention. Chocolate sex play may not be in cards, but it’s still frosting.

Ta-da!
Photo: Zach Brooke
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