What’s life without chocolate? I don’t understand it when people say they don’t like chocolate.
How can you not like chocolate? What’s not to like? It’s perfect.
I went nuts at the Times Square M&M flagship store. It was the first time I had seen so much chocolate in one place. A whole shop full of chocolate candy. It was such a memorable visit, and when I visited the London store it felt like coming home.
Just the same. Down to the glass dispensers.
Flagship stores for chocolate brands are a whole other level. Wedel Chocolaterie in Poland has a cafe and the menu is entirely devoted to chocolate. It’s brilliant. I was there around Christmas time so they had tons of Christmas themed chocolate. It’s also great fun to pick up homemade chocolate from local Christmas markets.
My most surprising find, however, was in India, where I first saw Chilly Chocolate. It was such an interesting juxtaposition that I couldn’t help but get some, but I didn’t quite like it. I like my chocolate sweet- and standard- for the most part.
Sure, it can have some interesting flavours, like Manuka Honey chocolate from New Zealand, or organic dark chocolate from the Daintree rainforest in Australia.
Sweet Farms in Queensland make these amazing handmade dark chocolates, along with a host of cocoa products.
Dark chocolate lip-balm..
Natural cocoa tea..
Hand-made chocolate soap..
Gourmet chocolate sauce..
Fascinating to see how chocolate is enjoyed the world over. In Dublin, I had a fancy dinner where I was recommended a Melting Valrhona Chocolate Sphere for dessert. Tres bien, I say!
I don’t think I’ve ever boarded an international flight without comparing the chocolate prices at duty free. At Cairns airport, I was so shocked to discover that that my favourite peanut MnMs were a quarter of the retail price, that I bought a dozen bags; then wiped them cleaned within a week.
I never buy Hershey’s at duty free because I feel like I’ve had my fill. Hershey’s was the foreign-return chocolate. Every time a relative would visit from abroad, they’d get Hersheys chocolate bars.
Growing up, I was aware of chocolate brands abroad that we didn’t get back home.
But when I discovered that Kit Kat from abroad tasted better than the local Kit Kat, I was shook. it was richer, smoother, creamier. It came in better packaging too.
On my first trip to the USA I discovered that Dairy Milk came in flavours. It was like waking up to the secrets of the Universe. Mind blown.
My favourite chocolate memories are from my childhood.
An Indian chocolate brand, Amul, used to sell animal-shaped chocolate. My favourite was the fish-shaped one because i would love to eat it scale by scale, one scale at a time. To my OCD brain, it was extremely satisfying.
I don’t know why they stopped making those. They were the best. I think they also had a bear-shaped one.
Another favourite was the burfi (Indian sweetmeat) my granny used to make for me. It didn’t have chocolate but it was dark brown in colour, had a sticky-gooey consistency, was topped with coconut shavings and was loaded with sugar, and tasted heavenly. I used to gobble them up by the boxful; and boy did she me send me boxes. Every few days, before my supply could run out, I would get a box. By any estimate, I must have eaten tonnes of burfi- literally. Every time i would visit her- I would get more. She always had a freshly-made batch ready for me- slightly warm and sticky-sweet.
I guess I have to credit my sweet tooth (and multiple dentist trips) to my grandma. I don’t eat quite as much sweet now, but every time I do, in my heart, i feel like she’s handing it to me.
Thanks, Cuckoo. Keep ’em coming!
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