My earliest memories of craving something to eat are about chocolate. Not sweets, CHOCOLATE.
For a tickey (anyone remember those?) I could buy a small slab of plain chocolate. I would walk the 4 blocks to the corner café with my tickey safely clutched in my sticky palm, and proudly ask for my chocolate of choice. Then the slow walk home, anticipating the delights that awaited me. Then at home, time to sit and slowly open the wrapping and slowly eat the contents, all the while I’m sure I was smiling.
As I got older the chocolate price went up, and so did my taste. Not for me the Bar One or Crunchie, for me the SLAB of milk chocolate! After all, why eat sugar if it’s not mixed with chocolate?
Over the years I experimented occasionally with other things mixed in. The cherry and cashew slab got the occasional thumbs up. Whole nut too. Never never mix chocolate with mint has become my battle cry.
I had always quite liked marzipan as found on Christmas and wedding cakes, but when I discovered that adults could buy a ‘bar’ of dark chocolate wrapped around even better marzipan, that was added to the possible list.
Then I discovered those orange peel slivers dipped in dark chocolate, and a new mix took the forefront.
As I got older I discovered more of a taste for darker and darker chocolate. Until someone brought me a slab where there is just NOT enough other stuff to make it palatable on its own – somewhere in the range of 98% cocoa. That sits in the cupboard and pieces get used now and then in cooking.
Recently I discovered the Lindor very dark balls, oh yum yum yum.
When I started looking into chocolate preparation I discovered a story of a chain starting usually with small farmers in hot places. Usually their crops end up with the big suppliers, but these days organically grown chocolate has its own aficionados. The chocolate shop at Hyde Park often has chocolate from different areas, and you can TASTE the differences. Just like red wine, chocolate is affected by soil, water and preparation, from the pod onwards.
When I travelled a lot I discovered that the Americans in the USA don’t make decent chocolate. I was sustained by discovering Lindt and Godiva shops in various shopping centres. Of course Europe has so many chocolate delights I had to stop myself from leaving all my clothes behind and bringing as much back as I could carry.
I have a chocoholic friend who loved me to bring him slabs from place I went, and when he travelled he would do the same. Both have changed our working lives and the foreign chocolates no longer feature in our coffee sessions.
a CHOCOLATE a day keeps the blues at bay.