Hoppy looked around with satisfaction. The Island was nice…very nice indeed. It had taken some getting used to, the heat and humidity and buzzing insects that delighted in his exotic northern blood. The locals had welcomed him with a lei of purple orchids when his coconut igloo sailing vessel had first arrived on their shores – and a delicious repast of whole roast pig, pumpkin greens, and breadfruit in coconut milk. After filling his round tummy twice over, Hoppy had followed his new friends to a comfortable hut in the center of the village, and passed out in a jetlagged food coma.
In the days since, the islanders had taken him all over – to the craft market, pumping reggae nightclubs, lovely seaside cafes. But he never felt more at home than when he was wandering around the Island’s bountiful fish market. Shimmering parrotfish, fat tuna, spiny blue lobsters, not to mention squid, oysters, and sea cucumbers lining the stalls – all of his favorite delicacies, plus a hundred rainbow-colored reef fish that made him happy just to gaze at.
With all that seafood, and mango and papaya trees right in his front yard, Hoppy found that he no longer had to spend much time foraging for food. Instead, he learned to surf. On his second day on the island, his new neighbors invited him out to their break, loaning him a special local surfboard. The board was dark and rough-edged and nothing like those he had seen in magazines.
“Seems sturdy,” Hoppy observed, holding it out under the bright sunlight and bumping it a few times with his beak. “What’s it made out of?”
“Cacao for buoyancy and strength,” said the neighbor’s boy. “Reinforced with local seeds and desiccants, and waterproofed with sea salt.”
“Amazing,” said Hoppy. “I wonder what else it could be used for.”
“Storm shutters, for one,” replied the boy. “Kept our family home from blowing down during the last cyclone. And, you know, if you get really hungry, you can always take a nibble.” The boy broke off a tiny corner of the board and let it melt a little in his fingers before popping it in his mouth.
“Marvelous,” said Hoppy. He clapped his flippers together, excited to learn more of the traditional knowledge of the islanders.
They took the boards out on the water. “Big set coming!” shouted the boy over the roar of the waves. Hoppy flippered quickly through the water to catch the wave. At the top of its crest, he caught sight of the island from afar and lost himself for a moment in its lush jungles and volcanic peaks. But a shout from his friend reminded him. He crouched and landed in the trough of the wave. Suddenly he was zipping back and forth in an enormous tunnel, dwarfed by the elements spin cycling around him.
“Whee-heee!!!” shouted Hoppy, as the magic board took him up and out of the tube and high into the air. Where, for a moment, he spread his wings, and became the first flying penguin this side of the southern hemisphere.
- 2 bars dark chocolate or 2 cups of 70-85% dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler, add vanilla.
- Spread cranberries and pumpkin seeds evenly over parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Pour melted chocolate evenly over everything.
- If chocolate needs help spreading put another piece of parchment paper on top and flatten with a cutting board. Put in fridge to harden.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!