I was surfing a random blog recently and an American girl wrote she had received some Rococo Artisan Bars for her birthday. They were hand-made organic chocolate infused with all sorts of wacky flavours like rosemary, basil & lime and orange & geranium, all delightfully wrapped in ye olde paper.
I was intrigued. I love love love posh chocolate bars. I feel so much better about scoffing chocs if it’s organic or fair trade or hiding under pretty wrapping or made by Belgian monks. So I hit the Goog and discovered this company was in London! And you could buy it off the internet! They were pricey buggers – £3.50 for a tiny wee 70g block – you can get a Mars Bar for a tenth of the price. But I felt like splashing out just this once and saw a variety I knew the Scottish Companion would love, so I ordered that and two others for my sister and I to share.
The goods arrived Saturday morning while SC and I were still snoring away. I’d taken him out for dinner the night before, why should men have to do all the wooing? Besides, you have to lead by example! I had intended to give him the posh chocolate before the Hot Date began but they obviously didn’t make it in time. So instead I chucked it at his head as he struggled to wake up.
"It’s for you. It’s 70% organic chocolate with chili pepper. I got it coz it reminded me of you. SWEET AND HOT!"
Ahh blokes are so easy to please. Suckers.
I sent him off to band practice and my sister and I headed to the Farmer’s Market. We sat on the top deck of the bus and I snapped a chocolate block in half. I tell you, there is no greater sound than the crisp snap of a high quality chocolate bar. The only better sound would be Dido not singing, ever again.
"What’s this?" asked my sister as I handed her a square.
"It’s posh chocolate from the internet. NO DON’T CHEW IT! You have to SUCK! And SAVOUR!"
The first flavour was Rose. It was milk chocolate with a dash of rose oil. OH MY BLOODY GOD. It was so subtle, so divine. It was like a gentle Turkish Delight flavour without having to eat the rubbery goo that makes up Turkish Delight. Heaven. We sat there practically moaning.
After we got home from the market we opened the Coconut bar. Sweet lordy. Fresh coconut and milk chocolate. We agreed that is was pure magic.
But we also agreed it was a one-off experience that we could ill afford. £3.50 is a lot for a mere whisper of chocolate, and that doesn’t include postage and handling. We decided it would just join our archive of Great Meals Of Yesteryear to rehash at a later date. (We do this a lot. Many of our conversations go like, Remember the pannacotta from Linwood Cafe? What about that mushroom entree from Chairman and Yip? Remember that hamburger that one time in… We are sad, sad bastards.)
So I put it out of my mind until Wednesday night when I was prowling the streets in the name of exercise. I spotted a poster in the corner of my eye… Earl Grey Tea, Cardamon, Pink Pepper, Lavender. Dude! That’s those flavours of that chocolate!
Turns out a new shop had opened in my ‘hood. A chocolatier. I stood open-mouthed at the window. Stacks and stacks of Rococo chocolates. They also sold coffee and cakes and cookies. Nooo!
The bell above the door jangled in an old-school comforting manner as I went inside. I can barely remember what the shop looked like, all I recall is seeing slab upon slab of chocolates and a plate of rich, fudgy home-made brownies on the countertop.
"Hello!" the shop assistant was blonde and bubbly and Australian.
"Hello!" I squeaked. "I can’t believe you’re here!"
"Oh yes! We’ve only opened recently."
"I just bought all of this chocolate off the internet last week and now it’s here right near my house!"
"Oh we stock the full range. And I’ve just ordered in the Christmas varieties! There’s a frankinscene and myrr one, a cranberry one, and even a christmas pudding one!"
"God help me…"
I thanked her and skulked home without making a purchase. I had managed to stop thinking about the chocolate when I knew it was safely in London, but now it was five minutes away! Granted, I would have to walk up a hill, but would Laziness or Choco-Lust win the battle of wills? How was I meant to sleep at night?
Looking at the website now, I realise in my chocolate frenzy last week I never noticed the "Click here to find out where to buy Rococo near you" link, where I could have got it at half a dozen bloody places in Edinburgh. Oh well, it’s more exciting to buy things on the speccynet.
But I have to get this stuff out of my mind! It’s not something I can regularly afford, unless I want my mug in the newspapers, FIRST PERSON IN HISTORY TO BE BANKRUPTED BY CHOCOLATE HABIT!