Living in a Box

Do we share personality traits with our favourite chocolates? Iain Ball reports.

We’re out weekend shopping. It’s been leisurely so far, but now Zoe is frowning at her watch. Nearly lunch. Time for what she calls ‘commando mode’.

In commando mode, the two of us split up and carry out individually assigned missions. Team Bravo (that’s me) will infiltrate the farmers’ market and stealthily target unsuspecting fruit and vegetables, while Alpha Team (Zoe) conducts a special op at the supermarket: Toothpaste, rubber gloves and bin liners with extreme prejudice.

It may not surprise you to hear that Zoe is the commanding officer.

“And don’t forget the chocolate,” she says. We’ll rendezvous at the church at thirteen hundred hours.

Orders given, she zooms off.

The phrase ‘the chocolate’ is Zoe shorthand for ‘a 70g bar of Rabot 1745 Saint Lucia Island Growers 100% Dark’, which has recently become her regular tipple. You could say that it’s now Zoe’s favourite Hotel Chocolat chocolate, but only in the same way that Great Whites prefer seals.

I finish off the fruit and veg and head to the local Hotel Chocolat, just a short stroll from the market. I’ve been considering the idea that you can tell a lot about a person’s character from the type of chocolates they like – a sort of chocolate Rorshach test. After all, people look like their pets – do we all share something in common with our favourite chocolates as well?

I start to browse the shop, imagining who might eat, say, the Macho Gianduja. An intense, racy charmer who always breaks the rules? The Dark Peppermint Truffle: shy on the outside, a refreshing perspective hidden on the inside? And how about the Chilli Praline: someone a little hot-headed but always warm-hearted?

The Simple Milk Truffle would surely be a calm and uncomplicated soul. The Hazelnut Bûche: a suave, smooth-tongued seducer with a bit of a bite. Double Nut Praline sounds like a bright spark who can’t make his mind up. Then there’s Dizzy Praline: a ditzy darling who gets everyone in a spin. And the Dark Champagne Truffle: an angel in a little black dress always giggling into her bubbly.

This is fun, but I’m not sure my thesis is convincing. I need more evidence before I can publish An Introduction to Chocoanalysis. Then my phone beeps.

A message from Zoe: “Team Bravo, report in!”

I pick up her bar of Island Growers 100% and read the description: “A bark worse than its excellent bite.”

Yep. Q.E.D.

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