Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Booze and Chocolate

Cast your mind back - go on - to February 2012. Anything? Yes, John Terry was relieved of the England captaincy in relation to allegations of racist abuse, but it’s not that. What? The world record for the number of water skiers pulled by a single boat was broken? That’s amazing! How did you know that? And also, no, that is not what I’m referring to. Think a bit closer to home. No, not Zsa Zsa Gabor’s 95th birthday. What is she even famous for anyway?

I could go scanning the Wikipedia entry for February 2012 in order to create an entertaining introduction to this post all day, but I’m not going to. So I’ll just tell you. I’m referring to a post from this blog’s infancy where I referenced the gift industry. This next post is related to that somehow. How? Because it is all about the dubious marriage between booze and chocolate. You know the kind of thing; liqueur chocolates, whisky “flavoured” chocolate etc.

I mention it now because I got some for Christmas. Ooh, chocolate! Nice! Oh, whisky chocolate… ok…

What’s it for? I like chocolate, I like whisky (or other kinds of booze), but there has never been an occasion when I’ve thought, you know what? I wish there were more opportunities for me to enjoy these two things together. It’s just not necessary. In fact, I’d just prefer to keep the two separate. It’s almost as if… these products exist [stick with me here…] purely to provide a possible gift for someone you know who likes whisky and chocolate. Whisky might be too expensive to give as a gift, chocolate perhaps too uninteresting, but both together? Now you’re talking. Except… you’re never going to get that alcohol buzz from eating chocolate. I know I always say this blog is about enjoying alcohol, not getting drunk but… the buzz is sometimes part of the enjoyment.

So without wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, let’s have a look at a couple of specific examples of presents I received last Christmas from Mrs Cake’s [and now by marriage, my] very generous family.

This first one is a box of forty-eight chocolate liqueurs. There were four varieties – Stolichnaya Orange, Jim Beam, Grand Marnier and Remy Martin – and they were all bottle-shaped, individually wrapped in foil, and then elaborately stacked in a large box with too many layers of plastic.

We were only in Canada a little over two weeks, and had only 5 days left when I received these. I figured I could probably just eat them all in a few days, so that I wouldn’t have to take them back to the UK with me. It turns out that 48 chocolate liqueurs is quite a lot – especially when you’re routinely overindulging in all the various meals of the day; burgers, chicken wings, poutine, pizza etc, etc.

I tried my best, I really did, but in the end I had to leave five or six at the mother-in-law’s. No one else was helping me either.

So how were they? Well, they were all right. To be fair, they all tasted the same unless you were to bite the top off and suck out the alcohol. Unfortunately that proved impractical and frequently led to a sticky substance dripping down the chin. Also it makes you look a bit stupid.

My ability to enjoy them to their fullest was further marred by all that individual wrapping. They were fiddly, and often a thin layer of chocolate had melted to the last bit of foil, which meant tiny but highly melt-prone shards of chocolate would be ejected over clothing and furniture on opening.

I know, you probably think I’m being finicky, but it’s hard to enjoy something when you find it so damn frustrating. Were the chocolates tasty? Yes. Were they ultimately more trouble than they were worth? Yes – especially considering there were 48 of them. Even without all that faffing, I think I would have been sick of them before I could eat all 48. Why not just… not wrap them all individually?

I’ve just worked out the answer to that question. It’s so that the different sprits can be represented in visual form on the foil wrappings. Damn. To be fair though, this isn’t absolutely necessary.

The other gift then, was a small pack of chocolates labelled, “Heather’s Pick”. These were chocolates that were apparently made with whisky. There were 4 in a pack, and I shared them with Mrs Cake. And they were nice, but neither of us could taste the whisky. They were like chocolate with caramel in the middle and just made us wonder, why bother? The only possible reason could be that someone might be tempted to buy these for a relative who likes whisky. Otherwise, you could just make them without whisky. Presumably though, there would be no reason then for anyone to buy them.

It sure is weird, this whole gift industry. You’re probably not supposed to ask these questions. I don’t know. Whatever, man. Thanks to my in-laws for all the generous gifts – on top of the chocolates, I actually got two bottles of whisky, so that was pretty awesome – and thanks for providing another topic for the Drink it How You Like it blog.

That’s it for this week. Next week; something equally pointless and uninteresting. Actually, next week is probably going to be about the 12 year old Strathisla single malt. Laters.

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