a modern marvel

A colleague and friend in Dublin is quite sure that there are certain things that define the Modern era, in paradigm-shift terms: she’s an Enlightenment sort, and her Epochal Items are:

• champagne
• coffee

To which many would add:

• tea
• tobacco

But to which I would insist on the addition of:

  • chocolate.

It’s always been a bittersweet thing for me. Partly because I happen to love the dark stuff, and have done so since I was very small (blame Belgium). Partly speaking as a Medievalist. Though we have plenty of fine period-defining comestibles (game and gruel aside): hoppy beers and aquae vitae; desserts; and spices and spicings coming into Western European cuisine from the East c/o the Crusades and of course longer-term continuing trade; note for example a continuity of pepper sauce, from the Romans onwards, via Garin, “Cele qui fu foutue et desfoutue por une grue” (your bonus joyous text for the day…).

But I do wonder how different the world would be, and maybe a happier, more peaceful, and less one, had Europe met The Food of the Gods before they did.

Current favourite: it’s an eighty-five percenter, and it’s also organic, sustainably-produced, and Fair Trade. That latter being quite important in this day and age, given the politics of the cocoa trade, its world market, and chocolate production. This particular delight is also one of the finest 85s I’ve had the pleasure of consuming: all the expected richness and intensity and so on, but that softness and smoothness from the inclusion of just enough Arriba. Plus it’s winning prizes. Here it is:

Alter Eco “Blackout” 85% dark chocolate

As the good people from Michelin say, “vaut le voyage.” It’s also neither bankruptcy-inducingly nor soul-destroyingly expensive.

Some other nice ones, in no particular order, many I’m afraid of slightly lesser heft (cocoa- and ethics-wise), but all obrienaternally-declared to be delicious and thus recommended to you for further investigation:

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  1. Hello Obrienatrix. Over at our blog we have given you a Versatility Award, for being versatile. Hope all is well in Canada x

    1. *chuckle* and I’m double-jointed too: fingers AND toes.
      Ken and Dot, however, are much more versatile than me.
      Gentle reader: planes, trains, and automobiles pales into insignificance: add in DARTS, buses, buggies, and two small boys.
      Have a look at their blog for more of their adventures and juggling exploits… http://kenanddot.wordpress.com/

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