No, I don’t mean Chocolat the book (although if you can get hold of it, read it: it’s better than the already-good movie). I mean chocolate. No, Chocolate with a capital C. It deserves the capital.
What’s your favourite? Mine is of the light brown variety (milk chocolate, not white, not dark), and the Lindt estate with its creamy palate and caramel nose beats everything else hands down.
But sometimes I venture into the dangerous world of Belgian pralines and truffles. I say “dangerous” for two reasons. The first is the Forrest Gump one: you never know what you’re going to get, and while that may be exciting in life, when it comes to chocolate, it’s a no-no. Imagine the disappointment when you’ve prepped yourself for a soft melt-in-the mouth experience of crème, only to be stuck with a porn-hard centre!
The second reason is that when buying hand-crafter chocolates, you have to interface with salespeople. Some of them are wonderful (the chocolate shop in Takapuna’s Hurstmere Rd, the heroine in Chocolat), others can be cows (the chocolate shop in Birkenhead).
Picture this: you walk into a chocolate shop and, without browsing, you head for the counter where the Florentines and the Chocolate Pigs and the Cherry Liqueur Pyramids await. The two salescows are happily chatting among themselves. Being a polite sort of customer, you wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually you hazard an “excuse me”, only to be greeted with a look that makes it only too clear what a terrible burden it is to have to serve you. Oh, and don’t make the mistake of asking which pralines are the coffee-flavoured ones - that’s the sort of thing you’re supposed to judge from the shape of the chocolate itself. The one with the coffee bean on top then, right? Nope - that’s Irish Cream, and you should have known it. I honestly don’t know how the shop is surviving in this competitive market, but it’ll have to do it without my support.
Oh, look, my Lindt slab is almost totally gone. Speak of subliminal messaging!