Workers at gourmet chocolate company Bodega Chocolates discovered under a vat a 2-inch-tall column of chocolate drippings that they believe bears a striking resemblance to the Virgin Mary.
Since the discovery Monday, employees have spent much of their time hovering over the tiny figure, praying and placing rose petals and candles around it.
"I was raised to believe in the Virgin Mary, but this still gives me the chills," owner Martucci Angiano said as she balanced the dark brown figure in her hand. "Everyone should see this."
Kitchen worker Cruz Jacinto was the first to spot the lump of melted chocolate when she began her shift Monday cleaning up drippings that had accumulated under a large vat of dark chocolate.
Chocolate drippings usually harden in thin, flat strips on wax paper, but Jacinto said she froze when she noticed the unusual shape of this cast-off: It looked just like the Virgin Mary on the prayer card she always carries in her right pocket.
"When I come in, the first thing I do is look at the clock, but this time I didn't look at the clock. My eyes went directly to the chocolate," said Jacinto, dressed in a hair net and apron as she paused from her work. "I thought, 'Am I the only one who can see this? I picked it up and I felt emotion just come over me. For me, it was a sign."
The stack of hardened confection has a wide base and tapers gently toward a rounded top, giving the appearance of a female figure with her head tilted slightly to the right. The dark brown melting chocolate hardened into subtle layers that resemble the folds of a gown and a flowing veil.
A tiny white circle, about the size of a pencil eraser, sits in the upper center of the creation, just above a slight ridge that runs across it. Cruz says the white speck is the head of the Baby Jesus as he is held in Mary's folded arms.
read the rest of this madness