No-one knows when the war began. It seems, however, as if the fierce contention between those who favour truth, beauty, justice, and goodness on the one hand, and chocolate chocolate chocolate and chocolate on the other has been going on forever. Can it ever end? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that some non-chocolate-based desserts can be just right? Is it your turn to make dessert or mine? It is too pleasant a war to really end.
On the one hand it is certainly true that when we take a general view and survey the broad field of battle of non-chocolate-based desserts and desserts that happen to have an important chocolate component in them, we find many fine chocolate desserts. No-one ever liked a non-chocolate mousse, for example. I yield to no-one in my appreciation of the chocolate cake or the chocolate roll. But those of us in favour of the occasional nice dessert that is made without the inclusion of the disputed chocolate ingredient cannot help but resent how that intruder chocolate rears its head in the most inconvenient of places. Who was the monster who made Hot Cross Buns with chocolate chips instead of fruit? Nothing could be more perfect than the traditional Hot Cross Bun, a sweet and spicy dough with a piquant tang from the raisins and peel. Hot Chocolate Buns are no substitute.
The ubiquity of chocolate is such that it even now advances into the field of savoury foods. Consider, for a moment, the popular Nutella pizza. No word is an oxymoron on its own; oxymorons are typically a two-worded monster; but draw your attention once again to this peculiar tangle of words we have here: "Popular", "Nutella", "Pizza". One can imagine words 1 and 3 co-existing easily; or words 1, and 2; 2 and 3 form an oxymoron all right, but, taken all together, words 1, 2, and 3 form an oxymoron of remarkable moronicalness.
How could this happen? - that the glorious array of desserts - of butterscotch and lemon delicious and icecream and souffle and panacotta and cream puffs and mousse and pudding and pie - has found itself replaced by chocolate and chocolate delicious and chocolate cream and chocolate souffle and chocolate and chocolate and chocolate, with lashings of chocolate doing what chocolate does on the side? For it is certainly true that chocolate now has become in itself a symbol of all things rich and sensuous and sweet, and when we think dessert we think chocolate and chocolate and chocolate, and it seems altogether likely that the ridiculously chocolate-covered liquorishes and croissants with chocolate custard and chocolate musk sticks and what have you will soon give way to chocolate-covered chocolates, and chocolate things with chocolate in them, and the liquorish and croissant and custard and musk will be dispensed with, casualties in the ongoing war between chocolate and non-chocolate. Meanwhile, the chocolate-propaganda machine will roll on, looking for more things to chocolate over with chocolate; surely already we have attained the reductio ad absurdum, with such items as the chilli-chocolate chop top they sell at the Nova cinema - choc-tops with choc bottoms and chocolate in between!
And it feels a betrayal to even write this, for who can deny that chocolates have their place in the natural order of desserts and treats and snacks? Chocolates at Christmas or birthdays or after dinner or before dinner or at Easter in the form of eggs or cartoon rabbits or whatever are perfectly acceptable, and no-one would wish to deny that it is surely part of the law of nature that we give and receive presents of, and eat chocolates at these times; it is the advance of chocolate into territories not its own that is truly of concern.
We won't stand for this anymore! No, wait - it is truly time to take a stand - (or do I mean a seat)? What I mean to say is, it is truly dessert time, take a seat! Creme caramel for everyone!
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