Chocolate keeps showing up in the oddest places lately. Recently, on a whim, I tried a few dark chocolate chips on my yams, and it was heavenly. Even Jared the yam-hater keeps talking about how tasty they were.

But chocolate on chicken .. That’s one I didn’t see coming.

On Saturday, my mother-in-law treated us to lunch at Applebees. Since she’s the sort of person that’s done in by black pepper and prefers most of her meals as plain as possible, most of the menu looked too spicy for her palate. Finally she settled on the Margherita Chicken.

“Just how tangy is this glaze?” we’d asked the server. “VERY tangy. Very vinegary. So if you love vinegar you’ll like this.” Vinegar is spicy too apparently, so the glaze was served on the side.

The server forgot the sauce the first time around, so we asked for it (curious just how tangy this would taste of course!) and out came a tiny bowl of a thick, dark sauce. Imagine our surprise when we heard Jared’s mom exclaim, “Oooohhh, this is GOOD!” And then she proceeded to use it as a dip not only for her chicken, but for her broccoli as well.

As we were finishing up our meal and waiting for dessert, I asked if she’d mind if I tasted the glaze, thinking maybe I could figure out how to duplicate it at home. Now I know that reduced balsamic vinegar has a lovely sweet caramel flavor … compared to most vinegars. But when they brought out the Triple Chocolate Meltdown, sure enough, the hot fudge matched the glaze flavor to a T.

Who knew if you were having trouble getting your kids (or mother-in-law) to eat their dinner, all you really need is a little Hershey’s Syrup?