Sweets for the sweet: chocolate and its rivals
In my recent post about chocolate and its supposed health benefits, reader Ben-David has this to say:
I think your [inability to eat chocolate] can be seen as a spur to creativity. So many unimaginative menus conclude with a chocolate dessert, instead of something that draws on seasonal or exotic flavors.
Yes I like chocolate. But I also like halvah and anything with sesame, and I love lemon-flavored desserts (especially after a heavy meal).
You can't always wear a little black dress...
Well, if I kept eating chocolate and all those other wonderful desserts you mention, I probably wouldn't ever be able to wear a little black dress. It would have to be a great big one.
But seriously, Ben-David (and this is a serious matter, this matter of chocolate deprivation), I appreciate your concern. Rest easy--I have no problem finding other desserts to enjoy.
But, you know what? I still miss chocolate--there's something uniquely delectable about it.
I've thought about what that thing might be--and so have scientists. This article features a few of their theories. I do indeed love some of the very things you suggest: anything with lemon is great, fruit pastry and pies, sorbet, and I have a special fondness for caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream (although these days it's hard to find a high quality caramel that isn't just corn syrup and artificial flavorings). But since I've been off chocolate (several years now), I've discovered that these other sweets are somehow sweeter than chocolate. Often, they're just too sweet, even cloying.
So I've concluded that chocolate's wonderfulness lies partly in the fact that there's something about the bitterness and depth of the chocolate taste itself that grounds the sugar in it. The taste is complex, and simply magnificent.
So, although I greatly appreciate your attempt to comfort me and expand my horizons (and my waistline), it ain't gonna work. There's nothing like chocolate.