Countdown to Chocolate

Hotel Chocolat salted caramelsI don’t usually eat chocolate. But…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not allergic. Nor am I some kind of weirdo, the only girl in the world who doesn’t like chocolate. I adore chocolate, far more than is good for me. But without some self-imposed boundaries, I could easily eat too much of it. There was always a big bar of Galaxy in my kitchen cupboard and if I got a bit peckish I would chomp the lot and hardly notice – no thinking, no savouring. I couldn’t open a box of Milk Tray without eating every chocolate in sight (except the squishy strawberry one), or go to the supermarket without loading my trolley with great bricks of the stuff; and I couldn’t buy petrol without picking up a Twix.

You’ve noted the past tense, yes?

So to the self-imposed boundary. Back in 2010 I decided to put myself on a Chocolate Fast. I’d done it once before and lasted five years before a weak moment (and not wanting to offend a friend) brought my first Chocolate Fast to a premature end. But I went five years. Five. Years. I was surprised how easy I found it once I got over the first trip to a petrol station, the first trawl around the supermarket and so on. I pretty much forgot about chocolate. I very occasionally picked up a substitute fruit-based sweet when the need for sugar overran me. Skittles were quite good for those moments, but they’re not addictive like chocolate, so it wasn’t as if I was replacing one bad habit with another.

This time around there was no difference, even though in 2010 I was deep in the throes of the mid-life hormonal tsunami that is the menopause. It was easy again. Once chocolate goes out of your head – and out of your cupboard – it’s gone.

Once you stop buying chocolate it’s not there to tempt you, or distract you, or comfort you… or taunt you. It’s obvious; the decision, and the temptation, is in the buying. Once the buying is done the decision to eat has already been made.

For my current Chocolate Fast, instead of going the full cold turkey, I gave myself two amnesty periods each year – the months of December and April. That takes in Christmas (gluttony overload), Easter (eggs!) and… my birthday. And so far, it’s gone well. This is my fourth Chocolate Fast year under the current arrangement.

Come next month I will do chocolate in style – no greasy cocoa-lite mass-market choco-crap for me. The fun starts on 1st December, never early, and I look forward to my Chocolate Advent. This year I’ve ordered up a few of my favourite Selectors from yummy chocolate people, Hotel Chocolat. I bought chocolatey Christmas gifts for others too, but these mini-treats are purely for my own personal, private and undeniably naughty indulgence.

I have to tell you, the Hotel Chocolat box is here already – it arrived over a week ago and it’s sitting not three feet from my desk. Inside there’s a bar of 50% milk chocolate (pure bliss); there’s a little bag of liquid salted caramel chocolates (dribbly, sticky liquid caramel, so, so good); there’s a tub of rum soaked sultanas (imagine, a plump bubble of sultana soaked in rum, bursting from smooth, melty chocolate); and last but definitely not least, there’s a crinkly cellophane bag of butterscotch chocolate puddles.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to December.

The weird thing is, where I give myself a month of chocaholism, don’t tend to last the course. I know how this sounds, but I actually get to the point where I’ve had enough chocolate. My taste is satisfied – and I’m done. Last Christmas that meant I put a couple of my little Selectors in the fridge. I didn’t get them out again until my April Chocolate Fast amnesty.

You probably think I’m strange. Well, there you go. We all have a little weird about us, I suppose. I honestly don’t know how I go all those months of the year not being tempted. All I know is, come December, I don’t think there’ll be anyone in the world looking forward to a bite of chocolate quite as much as I am.

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Author: Jools

Abundant, Bold, Confident, Determined, Empathetic, Forthright, Grumpy, Healthier, Individual, Just me, Kind, Loving, Mellifluous, Natural, Optimistic, imPatient, Quirky, Real-world, Single-minded, unTreatable, Unwound, Verbal, Wilful, eXtraordinary, Young and old, Zero-tolerance.

23 thoughts on “Countdown to Chocolate”

  1. I don’t understand chocolate cravings. I like chocolate but it’s just another foodstuff. I’m as likely to have cravings for leeks as I am chocolate. That said, I admire anyone who is able to give up an addiction, whatever the substance, so well done and enjoy your month falling off the wagon 🙂

  2. I can pass over fried food. I can skip the pizza. I can forego the candy. But please, never, ever take away my chocolate…

    Good for you for getting rid of something that was too much of a temptation. How impressive that you’ve stuck with it so well!

  3. I am addicted to chocolate and have twice gone cold turkey – only lasted about a year, though, each time. The problem now is, of course, that I have children who certainly want their chocolate especially around Christmas and Easter… plus I live on the border of Switzerland… we recently went to visit a chocolate factory and I ended up buying all sorts of rare Christmas versions of their chocolates…
    However, interesting fact: in the tasting room at the factory (where you could basically feast on any of their samples, however much you wanted – all you can eat buffet) – after the fifth chocolate or so all the children plus us two adults had had enough and were feeling slightly queasy.

    1. Interesting, your story about the tasting room. I think that’s the same effect that I get every December and April – once you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough! I agree though, it must be harder with children around. I’d love to be able to simply cut-down, but consumption always creeps back up again, so this cold turkey approach (with amnesties!) works for me.

  4. I enjoyed your post every mouthful was altered in my mind too Chips. British crisp and golden on the outside, fluffy in the middle, hot, salty. Vinegary Chips. I can actually smell them. My mouth sqirts liqid involuntarily from my saliva glands; filling it up so I am forced to swallow.
    I know that I will have to have chips today, just because I have written this. I limit myself to once in every three weeks, and I do stick to it.
    I am trying to keep myself at optimum health weight, after a horrid operation last year. So I am good allround bp sugar cholesterol etc..
    But I need my vice, if your chocolate need is as hard as my Chip one; I applaud you. Well done.
    Thanks for listening.

    1. I like that! I’m not tempted by chips, but can happily enjoy them on the odd occasion.

      The smell of malt vinegar on chips takes me back to my school days. Joint choir practice at a nearby school would result in a walk back to the station which took our crowd of hungries right past the chippy. We could never go by without a snack stop!

  5. I thought about giving up chocolate, which I think was pretty good. I clicked on your post at the exact moment I started eating a square of Green and Black’s butterscotch milk chocolate, and I’m just helping myself to another piece now…mmmmm…..

    1. I remember that used to be one of my favourites! Still, I cherish the exquisite pleasure of looking forward to my chocolate rather than the guilt of instant gratification 😉 It’s good to have one or two things to look forward to in life!

    1. I know this feeling! Plus, when it comes to biscuits, cakes and chocolates, buying ‘for the children/in case of visitors’ is, as we all know, a standard of self-deception.

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