Slabs of milk, white and dark chocolate. Photograph: Deirdre Rooney
After wine, tea and coffee, chocolate has become a bit of a food nerd’s paradise. These days there is often much thoughtful hesitation when a square or two turn up beside a double espresso; “Mmm, usually I’ll only eat a Vietnamese single plantation Criollo, 78% cocoa solids, on Thursdays, and never before 4 o’clock … “.
Attitudes to food are also increasingly polarized. Worthy or guilty. Healthy or deadly. Middle-class smug or deep-fried tabloid. And when it comes to chocolate, it’s either a fair trade lavender flavoured Tanzanian bean truffle “designed” by someone who usually makes handbags, or a tee-hee, naughty-me, Cadbury’s bar swallowed in 30 seconds.
In Britain’s fascinating, developing food culture it would seem that now all food needs justification, a raison d’étre, it can no longer just “be.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s just fine as long as things are moving along, evolving, there is debate and more and more choice and information available. Let’s keep on fretting about where the egg goes in the Caesar Salad and the happiness of the hen who laid it.