How can I NOT be grateful for chocolate, the most delicious and satisfying food developed by human kind?
How can I NOT be utterly thrilled to be able to legitimately buy it and eat it for 'research purposes' and even be able to claim it back on my tax?
How can I NOT be puffed up with pride at seeing my reviews on an international website and chat to the delightful Amanda Blair on radio about a topic so close to my heart?
I have my dear old Mum to thank for this life-long obsession with chocolate. In the 1970s there wasn't a huge variety about - Cadburys, Nestle and Smalls (whatever happened to them?) but every week at least one out of the three were on special. Mum would buy ten blocks at a time and hide them throughout the house - under her sewing machine, in the vege crisper, her bedside table and handbag, but wisely made sure to leave a few in the pantry cupboard to stop us from being suspicious.
On Saturday nights after we three kids had bathed (yes, in the same, Milo-brown River Murray water which youngest brother Dave would tend to wee in, so he was always the last one in), we'd settle in front of the TV after dinner. If it wasn't 'The Sonny and Cher Show' it was Davey Crockett repeats, Walt Disney Presents or some old Danny Kaye film. Mum would delicately peel oranges and apples and feed them to us in segments, which we loved. After all, fruit does taste better if someone else has done all the hard work for you. Then, and only then, would come the chocolate...
Mum -bless her sweet, sensible, intelligent, strong, decent and loving heart - was of the view that denying us chocolate was only going to make things worse, so we were always allowed to have a good share. I'm sure that it was a couple of rows each then, but for me, these days, it can range from 50g to 200g. Each day. Twice, sometimes.
I've had chunky Kit-Kats from vending machines for breakfast, Wagon Wheels and TimTams for morning tea, a king-sized Snickers for lunch, Lindt balls for that mid-arvo slump and whatever dark block is offered by Love Chunks after dinner. He's long stopped saying, "Oh, let's be crazy and have some chocolate, hey?" because it's likely to be my second or third helping for the day.
I could wah on about the endorphins and the good nutrients within chocolate and how the dark stuff supposedly lowers cholesterol levels and has loads of fabulous antioxidants, but who cares. I could also pontificate on about the quality of cocoa beans from Ecuador, Ghana and Indonesia, especially when hand-picked by Andeluvian village virgins dwelling on the south side of the rainforest mountains in an area revered for its lawlessness and purity of flavour, but sometimes a Cadbury Creme Egg will hit the spot as effectively as a chunk of Vahlrona.
What's important is that chocolate tastes great, is relatively cheap, very plentiful and won't hurt anybody but yourself if you develop an addiction for it.
Ooooh, time to wind this up - Whittakers' is on sale for $1.99 this week, and Coles has those dutch Pastilles for only 99c a box and dark M&Ms 400g bags are only two bucks.... Long Live Chocolate!