What is it with chocolate?

It was my birthday yesterday, and in the best birthday fashion, it was unlike any other day of the year. The philosophe and I have invented something of a tradition that involves going away for the night – typically somewhere cheap but nice, by the sea, say (or attached to a casino: even better!). The irony is that we often miss out on the “nice” bit because it rains, and we’re not the types to enjoy getting cold and wet. So to kill time before dinner and/or gambling, we go to the local mall and watch whatever crap happens to be on. Preferably something really crappy, and yesterday may have taken the cake with the truly godawful Ghosts of Girlfriends Past in Noordhoek’s Long Beach Mall.

(By the way the weather was wonderful yesterday, and had we been true beach bunnies – or walkers – we would have been out there in full swing. But such is the force of tradition). It was unlike any other day not only because we normally wouldn’t have paid to watch such crap, but because any sensible person – which we like to think of ourselves as good examples of – would have walked out about 15 minutes into the film.

But birthdays are like airports, where time and place – and perhaps intelligence – don’t really figure in normal dimensions. Like being in an airport, when it’s your birthday you can respectfully start drinking whenever you choose, so for a brief window, sipping Jameson’s in a mall coffee shop at 11.30 in the morning is totally the way to go. Especially if the way you’re going is to see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. (The Jameson’s probably also explains why we were so tolerating).

And the champagne we drank afterwards in a jacuzzi with serious piano muzak (hey, at least it wasn’t Enya!) probably helps to explain how we tolerated – even enjoyed – a bad dinner in a funky wooden restaurant with an amazing view of the longest beach in town.

Of course birthdays are also just days like any others, sometimes depressing, sometimes actually happy, and I’m sure not everyone has the luxury of pausing “real life” for a day to get silly in a Noordhoek mall. I am a lucky 34-yr old for being able to, and for having someone very cool to share it with.

But, for all the unexpected in-law-family-weirdnesses the philosophe has bravely dealt with since he wooed me into his life with pasta puttanesca and Talladega Nights, the one thing he forgot to organise for yesterday was chocolate. I may have a supercool new way of doing birthdays, but we always had chocolate when I was little! Most often chocolate digestives, or Romany Creams, with a cup of hot chocolate in bed (we all had to pretend to be asleep and then act groggily surprised when the family burst in with a tray of chocolate goodies and presents and candles on a tray). Sometimes broken up pieces of chocolate in a bowl with a Danish flag stuck in a piece (!!) would do, but when it was properly planned, someone would have baked the secret Hansen chocolate cake the night before.

Anyhow, understanding that tapping into my weird and sometime illogical expectations need not figure at the top of his priorities, I organised the chocolate myself. I opted for a box of Woolie’s assorted dark chocolate, mostly because I spotted that one of the selection contained ginger, and I’ve developed something of a crazy fondness for anything ginger.

I’m sorry – I know reading a blog post without pictures quickly gets boring, and unfortunately we didn’t whip out the camera when we munched on the chocolate (which wasn’t very good either!), but I thought I could compensate by finding a picture on the interweb that approximated how delicious I was hoping that ginger chocolate was as I unwrapped it after breakfast on my birthday.

Ha! Have you ever tried searching for a simple picture of chocolate? There are thousands, of course. Millions. And probably 75% of them are in-foosed with a seriously tacky subtext. Roses. Love. Ooh. Guilty. Decadent. Or just… happy maiden tucks into enormous bar of chocolate:


(Try not to pay attention to the stress marks on her neck which indicate something of what she really feels about that slab of wickedness in her hand. Almost as convincing as Heidi Klum about to tuck into three KFC twisters


Next is the quintessential lip shot:


(Try not to look at it too long, because you may start believing that she’s actually blowing something into the strangely pert white chocolate truffle. She must, of course, be sucking).

And then what I like to call the Kylie Minogue shot:


So clean. So Pure. Yet so… red and black. Is that a miao-uw or a growl?

I don’t know what it is about chocolate. I just wanted some for my birthday. And I got everything that I wished for.