Chocolate transcends the world of food. None of the normal rules and norms apply.
Chocolate should be neither chewed nor chomped. Neither gnawed nor gulped. And definitely not munched or masticated.
It must be savoured, relished and adored. It must be loved.
Every square of chocolate has only ever satisfied one human need. The need for pleasure, while being cheaper than the pleasure givers that work in the street and those that follow Freud.
I grew up in Australia where chocolate was milky and bland (thank you Cadbury and your 23% cocoa solids). And while Spanish chocolates sent every year from gastronomically-minded grandparents made life a little smoother under the harsh Tasmanian sun, the world of the dark bean was uninteresting and I spent my meagre pocket money on gob stoppers and wizz fizz.
And then I met Lindt who gave the word its colour.
The dark tablets produced by the Swiss chocolate-maker made their way onto popular shelves in the early 2000s and have since boomed to become the premier luxury global chocolate brand. They now stock more than Mr Lindt could have ever imagined: Almond, Orange, Chilli, Cinnamon, Coffee, stopping just short of the peanut butter that America has ruined for the world of confectionery. But Lindt only captured my business with their cocoa. I dipped my toes in at 70%, became adventurous and before long sought after the now mainstream 85%, and in a blackening spiral, let go of all inhibitions and savaged their 99% gold label.
Like my coffee, I now take my chocolate strong and black – hold the milk and sugar. And so when I came across Miquel aka Mr Chocolate Negro, I stopped propping up Swiss banks and started to invest in the future of cacao in Barcelona.
The man is an artist, but more than that, he makes the simple graceful and the complex fun. Sure, he’s a bit crazy, and using butter infused with marijuana is testament to that. But he’s playful and steals chocolate from the rigid walls built by the Swiss and French and gives it to the people with a brash smile.
But there is a serious side to this genius. The side that created truffles rolled in Japanese Matcha green tea powder, that draped gold leaf over tempered chocolate cones, and that, made the perfect black tablet peppered with crunchy flakes of sea salt. And I hear a rumour he is now experimenting with Middle Eastern spices including Za’atar and Sumac direct from Amman – give the man a plate of hummus now!
Never underestimate the power of chocolate. Next time you are in Barcelona sign up to his famous chocolate making workshop and meet the man who dreams in chocolate.
Fall in love this spring, or else simply fall in chocolate.