Mmmmmmm Chocolate. One of my most favourite flavours in the world! It's not secret. It's not one of those hidden guilty pleasures that I hear people talk about. Nope. My chocolate addiction is right out in the open. Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, knows about my love of almost anything chocolate.
I'm not alone. The first known fans of chocolate were the Aztecs in roughly 1100 BC. They drank it unsweetened. No thanks. By the mid-1500's chocolate had become very popular amoungst the aristocracy and it became a delicious symbol of wealth. By the 1800's it's popularity soared around the world on all socio-economic levels. Of course until roughly 1830, every step of grinding and pressing of chocolate was done by hand, a laborious endeavor. Then as the industrial age dawned, things starting looking up. Mass production stepped into the room and suddenly, every step of the process became faster and easier and chocolate became even more accessible to everyone.
The inhabitants of Switzerland consume the most chocolate every year, just short of 20 lbs of it per person! (Maybe I need to visit Switzerland?). The US barely made the top ten, coming in at #9 with 9.5 lbs of chocolate eaten per person. Overall, more than half of the people in the world vote in favour of chocolate. I've read numbers as high as 96% of people in the world! But I think that may be a bit exaggerated. I'm happy with "more than half" as a good firm non-specific number.
Of course there are different qualities of chocolate, different forms and even different types. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, bitter chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and even white chocolate which isn't chocolate at all. And everyone has their own preferences.
On a very cold wintery day, nothing quite beats a cuppa hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows in it. I have a killer chocolate cake recipe that an old friend shared with me that is honestly the best I've ever tasted. (hey, it ain't braggin' if it's fact, right?) Chocolate chip cookies are enormously popular across the board. There are very few people who will turn one of those down. Even people who aren't crazy about chocolate enjoy a good chocolate chip cookie.
Surprisingly, I am not a big fan of chocolate chip ice cream, with the notable except of a serving of exceptionally good Rocky Road. Yeah, I'll gobble that up in the hurry. Otherwise, I like chocolate IN my ice cream, but I want the ice cream to be vanilla. I think it's about contrasting flavours. Sort of like, that awesome chocolate cake recipe I told you about? Yeah I either put whipping cream on top or white icing, not chocolate. And I know people who think that cakes should be mono-flavoured: chocolate cake with chocolate icing, vanilla cake with white icing...etc. Personally I'm big on diversity.
But when it comes to candy, I have to admit that I honestly do not have the appreciation that I should for high end, expensive, fancy chocolates.
I was recently surprise gifted with a box of Chocolates from Switzerland. What a lovely thing for someone to do. Knowing how much I adore chocolate, giving me, for no particular reason, a beautiful box of chocolates. Truffles in fact. Everything about them was exquisite, from the packaging to the chocolates themselves. It was a classy presentation. The paper insert was even beautiful AND informative.
There were 4 different rows of chocolate truffles, each rolled in cocoa powder, each a different shape, sitting pretty in it's beautiful gold fluted paper. According to the insert, the first was from Madagascar with a lovely 64% cacao. The second from Venzuela with an impressive 65%. The next hailed from Ecuador and showed off with 72% cacao. And Have Mercy the last was created in the Dominican Republic with 75%!!! I should have been in chocolate heaven right? Right?
After admiring it all at length and reading the insert and considering all of the choices, I made my selection and took a healthy little bite aaannnddd.....didn't like it. I can't even really put my finger on why. There was an almost bitter after taste that put me off for one thing and the rest, well, I just don't know. I tried to put it off to not having a very sophisticated palate but Tim disagreed. He pointed out some rather high end things that I actually do like, very much. So it's a mystery. I guess I will just say that I just didn't care for it and leave it at that.
The fancy chocolates didn't go to waste. Tim thought they were just the bees knees. He was a fan. And that makes me happy. The gift was doubly appreciated. By me, because who doesn't love receiving a surprise gift, right? And by Tim, because he thought they were yummy.
For the record, one of my favouite methods of getting chocolate from point A to point B (with B being in my Belly) for me is M&M's. Don't know why, but I do adore them. Especially if they are really cold, right out of the fridge. Not high end. Not aristocratic. Not fancy. But Sam approved. I make no excuses for liking what I like.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.