Tag Archives: chocolate

FERRERO ROCHER

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Reader, I know full well what you want me to write in this blog.

You want me to go straight in on The Ambassador, don’t you.

You want me to put down on this niche blog what you’ve always wanted to express, namely this: fuck you, The Ambassador. Fuck your impeccable taste in mediocre sweetmeats, your mediocre moneyed guests with shit accents and over-enthusiasm for your mediocre sweetmeats.

Fuck everything you stand for, The Ambassador, you utter besuited prick. Fuck the diplomatic codes of politeness, clandestine soft intelligence gathering, sweetmeats arranged like ancient tombs.

But I can’t express any of that with honesty, no matter how much you might want it. Average Food Blog cannot be the crowd-pleaser you so eagerly crave.

Because Ferrero Rocher, if you look beyond all the abject wankery of Ferrero’s marketing department, are pretty decent.

Sure, it’s hardly the world’s best chocolate or premium nuts involved in the mix, but the combination of flavours and textures is somewhat compelling, especially within the context of finding yourself lolling in the sort of advanced state of passivity that only major Christian festivals can bring.

They are not the best of their food genre but nonetheless are indelibly linked to serial eating, much in the same way that Pringles are not a leading crisp but have the same effect.

Of course, there is some possibility that mind-altering chemicals have been injected into each and every bobbly, spherical melting pot of doom to make me feel this way. That ultimately I’m being duped, that the powers that be have got their claws into AFB in a way that strongly suggests the direct or at very least implied involvement of yes, you’ve guessed it, The Ambassador.

OK OK, fuck The Ambassador. You happy now?

Season’s Greetings to all on the internet.

FERRERO ROCHER: 7/10

GIANT LINDT BALLS

BALLS!

BALLS!

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Lindt ruined my Christmas. In fact, I would go further and say that Lindt has destroyed my faith in chocolate, God and all things holy.

It would be easier, so much easier, if Lindt chocolates were actually unpleasant to the taste. But the fact is they are pretty delicious. Much like a sexy but devious ex-partner, this makes it all the harder to hate them. (“Yeh, yeh”, as Republica once sang, “but he’s drop dead gorgeous.”)

So what happened? What have Lindt done to cause me such angst? The answer, as is so often the case with these things, is this:

Balls.

Let me elucidate. Over Christmas, I was presented with a variety of chocolate-based gifts. The one which caused me the most excitement was a giant Lindt ball. A GIANT LINDT BALL! This was basically an object baring the same proportions as one of those Lindt chocolate balls in wrappers, but about ten times the size. Whoa, I thought. That is a hell of a lot of Lindt (which, as we saw in the second paragraph of this article, is pretty delicious).

Now giant chocolates are nothing particularly revolutionary. When I was younger I remember being greatly disappointed to discover that those giant Easter egg versions of Mars and Twix and M&Ms were in fact just hollow chocolate, rather than giant, egg-shaped versions of the comestibles whose names they carried. I am not so naive anymore. I am a man of the streets. I have seen life. I am aware that much of what purports to be good in this world is just so much hollow chocolate.

Thus, upon being presented with the giant Lindt ball, I expected that it would just be a hollow chocolate casing, filled with normal-sized Lindt balls. This I could make my peace with. But NO – at Lindt they couldn’t even be bothered to go that far. For what was upon us was simply a transparent plastic sphere, filled with Lindt balls. I’ll repeat that. Underneath the wrapping was simply a TRANSPARENT PLASTIC SPHERE FILLED WITH LINDT BALLS.

Am I wrong to feel cheated? Am I wrong to think that a tacit promise was reneged upon? Am I wrong to question everything I thought I could trust? Am I wrong to want to take a plane to Switzerland, seek out the headquarters of Lindt, and kick their CEO in his transparent, plastic balls?

Am I wrong?

Am I wrong?

Feast

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I was at the Barbican recently, watching some high-end jazz piano, which was so-so if truth be told, and in the interval I was looking for a livener

and you know, because you are in a major arts venue, they have one of those glass-fronted freezer cabinets full of little pots of ice-cream, with flavours which dress the thing up, such as Madagascan Vanilla and Dulce de Leche, giving you the feeling that if you weren’t out of your depth with the extended jazz improv shit going on in the hall, you certainly would be with the ice cream, retailing at a modest £3.45.

After a moment of reflection, I concluded: fuck all of that. When there’s only a 95p difference between your miniature pot of ice cream and a bottle of overpriced bevy, the ice cream is not getting my vote.

This preamble is by way of outlining how absurd the ice cream market has become. With its relentlessly rising prices, turning something so simple as a raspberry ripple into a high-end product affordable only to the super-rich, this seaside summer staple is a becoming a depressingly accurate metaphor for the English capital’s housing market.

With this in mind I turn, contrastingly, joyously, impecuniously, to Feast. Costing one pound from my local corner shop, Feast represents remarkable value.

Let me break that down for you:

For that pound you get a coating of chocolate, not good chocolate, chocolate which is wholly average. Specked within the chocolate layer there lies what you could call nuts, but perhaps that is too bold a claim, so let’s call it crunch.

Under there is the main body, the chocolate ice cream. That chocolate has the taste that can be arrived at only with a cocoa count so low it is astonishing the EU has not yet legislated against it. This chocolate ice cream is not going to be sending crazy triggers to your brain, as if some new paradise is being created, like one of those desserts Michel Roux Jnr knocks up on telly. It’s not going to do that, and at that price, nor should it. It’s simply a passable bit of ice cream, and it doesn’t really matter how average the ice cream is, because

lastly, there is the block of chocolate around the stick. This chocolate is akin to the chocolate you find in advent calendars, the stuff you only eat because it’s the morning and you’ve run out of Lindt. It’s not good chocolate, but, follow me now, I’m about to drop some philosophy, it’s not good, but it is good, because all chocolate is good – and coming after two layers of chocolate, the mere fact that it is there is thrilling, in a modest way. It is there, it is good enough.

Feast is an ice cream that costs a quid, and tastes like it. This isn’t an ice cream which is going to alter mind, body and soul, give you a better complexion and make you more spiritually balanced (have the landed gentry at Innocent moved into ice cream yet?). Feast is that friend who you feel superior to, but who is a pleasure to be with two or three times a year.

Feast is an ice cream which is precisely the sum of its parts.

For that, I give it 7/10.

feast

TOPICS

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Picture the scene. You’re in a newsagents. You are waiting to pay for your item (a bag of Deep-Ridged crisps, let’s say), and there is a man in front of you paying for his. He is a fairly normal-looking bloke: slightly asymmetrical haircut, bit of stubble, leather jacket, smart jeans, them Adidas Samba trainers. He coughs slightly, mutters “alright, man” to the newsagents, places his Topic bar on the counter, and…

WAIT! WHAT?!?

That’s right. I said Topic bar.

You see, nobody ever buys Topic bars. If you were in a shop when Topicular purchasage was taking place you would definitely get face-strain on account of your raised eyebrows. It would be deeply odd. (Or so I imagine; I have of course never observed such an occurrence.)

And yet, why is this? Topics are basically (admittedly slightly smaller) Snickers, just with hazelnut instead of peanut. My gut reaction here is simply to revert to an allegation of basic anti-hazelnutism, in the manner in which my grandparents identify anti-semitism in any instance in which a Jew happens to have been wronged. But no; a cursory look at the bigger picture reveals this gut reaction to be misguided. Jews don’t rise to a position of global dominance because everyone hates them,* and them purple Quality Streets don’t become top dogs (which, undoubtedly, they are) because of everyone hates hazelnuts. Something far more subtle is going on here.

So what exactly is happening? Why, in spite of their ostensibly acceptable ingredients, do Topics remain a somewhat eccentric chocolate of choice? This is an incredibly deep question, a conclusive answer to which inevitably remains well outside the scope of a paper such as this. I will here merely proffer a brief conjecture.

It’s all about marketing. Snickers have those cool adverts with those guys who are divas until a chomp into a Snickers bar brings them to their senses. Mars has numerous adverts. Bounty bars are all tropical beaches and coconuts. Yorkies are NOT FOR GIRLS. Galaxies, the ads would have you believe, are EXCLUSIVELY for girls. Topics are…well, nothing. I’ve never seen a Topic advert. It’s as though Mars, the company behind them, thought “mehhhhhh!” (a bit like a goat).

There are obvious flaws with this theory. A Wiki-binge tells me that Topics were advertised on radio in 2002 by no less than SIMON PEGG! This is a problem for my theory, but it is very far from insurmountable: I would argue that a solitary ad campaign, on radio, over a decade ago, by a ginger man, represents a pretty poor investment in one’s product.

The moral to be drawn from all this is sobering. It boils down to this: unless a product is constantly marketed in your face all the time, the decision to buy it will strike others as bizarre. Topics are basically a microcosm for the pervasiveness of modern marketing, of rapacious capitalism, and the need for a Marxist insurrection.

(Or maybe they’re just not that great. You decide.)

*If you don’t believe me, I refer you to the Protocols of the Elders Of Zion.**

** I’m allowed to say this. I’m Jewish.

CADBURY CHOCOS

Steak should be cut into the shape of a tiny thin not-quite cylinder.

Trout should be cut into the shape of a tiny thin not-quite cylinder.

Bread should be cut into the shape of a tiny thin not-quite cylinder.

Goulash should be cut into the shape of a tiny thin not-quite cylinder.

Let’s make this easier:

EVERY FOODSTUFF SHOULD BE CUT INTO THE SHAPE OF A TINY THIN NOT-QUITE CYLINDER.

Instantly adding a whole new dimension to any consumable, Cadbury show the rest how it’s done.

Dairy Milk is little short of utterly unrecognisable in its tiny thin not-quite cylinder form. Maybe it’s the slight slope on the edges that makes it not quite a cylinder that does it, like the slice on the Fugu fish by a knife-wielder in the know making it edible.

Not that Dairy Milk isn’t edible in its raw form, of course, but don’t mess with a diabolically inadequate simile, alright?

Sure, they can fit less chocolate into a fully-cylindrical packet of tony not-quite cylinders, thereby improving their margins to the ultimate detriment of s/he who consumes by volume – but I am a consumer by experience, and this is a heightened one.

To sum up: nobody ever buys Cadbury Chocos, ever, except this one time I did, and this blog won’t change that.

8/10

DAIM BAR

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Things used to be so different, didn’t they? They used to make Lion bars with peanut butter in them; there was a chocolate bar called a ‘Fuse’ which was massively overrated and which is now non-existent; and, way back in the day, Snickers bars used to be called ‘Marathons’. And Daims? Well, they used to be called ‘Dimes’, didn’t they? The times truly are a’changin’. I blame the immigrants – coming over here, altering the names of our chocolate bars…

Anyway, Daim or Dime, it doesn’t really matter – you don’t eat a name. (I say that, but I bet you wouldn’t want to eat a chocolate bar called something like ‘Arse’.) And Daims are really great, aren’t they? Smooth and milky on the outside, brittle on the inside, kind of like the opposite of charred cow.

But the greatness of Daims, whilst an unassailable tenet in the world of Average Food, isn’t really the point of this article. The point of this article is the manner in which said Daims are consumed. Because we all have different ways of eating them, don’t we? Some simply chomp through them, as though they were a run-of-the-mill chocolate bar. But they’re not; they’re motherflippin’ Daims, and as such demand something a bit different. Thus, allow me to elucidate my technique. My hope is not so much that my readers will copy this technique – although I would be flattered were they to do so – my hope is rather that my wisdom will inspire others to seek within themselves their own unique telos for Daimular consumptionation.

Step one: buy a Daim (available in all good, and in some not so good, newsagents).

Step two: open Daim packet.

Step three: tip Daim sideways, so that its upper surface is roughly parallel with your teeth.

Step four: scrape off upper surface of Daim with your teeth, using the ridges on the chocolate for grip.

Step Five: consume rest of bar.

Some mavericks scrape off all of the chocolate before eating the brittle centre of the Daim. I personally would counsel against this, as it is my firm and solemn belief that the full majesty of the Daim’s centre is only realised in conjunction with at least some degree of chocolate. I would thus recommend consuming it in conjunction with the bottom surface of the Daim. For those who like a bit more chocolate, consume it with the sides too; for those who prefer less, the sides can be scraped off in the manner of Step Four above.

I hope these words serve as inspiration for future generations of Daim consumers. These are my words to you, and they didn’t cost you a Daim. Get it? A Daim! A Daim! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahauahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

CHOCOLATE-COATED BISCUITS.

621px-McVitie's_chocolate_digestive_biscuit

McVitie’s: in a world where corporate mistrust is justifiably high, you are doing so much well.

Given there is no dispute that chocolate-coated Hob Nobs and Digestives are all respectively 9/10+ biscuits, I will have to adopt a Pitchfork-style scoring scale. It won’t happen again. It might happen again.

I would like to know the science as to why the milk chocolate Hob Nob is superior to its dark sibling, yet in the field of Digestives, this trend is turned on its head, but I’m prepared to listen to the logic that suggests that some mysteries are best left unsolved.

Other than this, I can only provide ratings in the form suggested above, and also as a league table. Given these snacks’ office-based ubiquity, though, perhaps league desk would work better. Anyway:

Chocolate-coated Hob Nob (Milk) – 9.8

Chocolate-coated Digestive (Dark) – 9.6

Chocolate-coated Hob Hob (Dark) – 9.4

Chocolate-coated Digestive (Milk) – 9.3