I love chocolate. At one point I toyed with the idea of becoming a chocolatier. My siblings liked this idea. They like the idea of there being lots of chocolate at hand. I have lots of chocolate-making stuff: moulds, jars of chocolate drops, cocoa butter and chips of cacao for making my own. I make truffles, fudge, cakes. If it’s a chocolate recipe, I’ll try it. I lace bolognaise with a chocolate red wine.

I won’t lie. Being a chocolatier was not something I’d thought about growing up. Not until I read Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

Something about the book is just magical. I’ve read it in its original English and its Swedish translation. In both languages, I spent the afternoon in a swirl of scents and smells and tastes. Chocolate and spices. It’s difficult to really explain just what it is about the book which makes it so wonderful. I don’t really remember much about the details of the story. But the feeling that the book gives me – well, it’s pretty much indescribable.

Just, you know, read the book.

Not made by me!

Not made by me!

The chances of me ever making it as a chocolatier are slim. I haven’t the patience or the busyness to be a full-time retailer. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t dabble for fun. I annoy people by being slightly picky about chocolate. I refer the ones which use less sugar. Not necessarily dark chocolate, just the less sweetened versions. I like good chocolate.

That’s not to say that sometimes, Cadbury’s (for example) makes a nice bar with exciting things strewn throughout which makes it worth buying. Just, I don’t normally.

In any case, this year’s Lenten challenge is similar to last year’s. I’m giving up refined sugar. I’m allowing honey this time because Mark and I still have to choose cakes. But unless it specifies honey as the sweetener, I’m not eating it.

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