By Sarayu Pai
In honor of cuffing season, here is a love letter to the incomparable treat and pivotal ingredient of the wonderful desserts we profoundly enjoy. If there aren’t enough “baes” to go around, take comfort in knowing that, for now (despite scientists’ alarming claims that the global cacao supply may soon be dwindling), there is quite enough chocolate to go around.
My Dearest Chocolate,
There is not enough praise to laud the gamut of your rich tones, from a deep mocha to a medium caramel to a creamy white.
Encrusted with nuts or dusted in a light coating of cocoa powder, you are undeniably delectable. You come in all shapes, sizes, colors, places of origin and prepared forms, but fret not — we are an inclusive community that welcomes all.
Although you slip a bit, in terms of quality, in products such as those from Hershey being too saccharine for my tastes, you make up for it in the luscious Ghirardelli triple-chocolate brownies or mousse cheesecake.
I appreciate your ability to blend in with a variety of dishes and desserts; your presence is always noted whether it be subtle or strong. Desserts are enhanced by your warm comforting notes of cacao. Without a doubt, you retain the infallible ability to embrace our taste buds with deep deliciousness.
Although some of your shades are not as recognized as real flavors of chocolate, know that I love all your forms. Some might say that white chocolate isn’t real and will look down upon its lack of chocolate solids, but I strongly believe that your high content of cacao solids validates you. Know that our tummies are your safe space, where you can be vulnerable and tasty.
How is it that your vivacious personality can turn up the sides of everyone’s mouths? All ages, ranging from tiny tots to angsty teens to raving twenty-something and woke millennials, middle-aged parents, boomers and geezers, our mouths water, Pavlovian-like, upon hearing the crinkle of tinfoil and sensing the yummy, redolent aroma wafting around. Speaking of Pavlov, you are such an integral part of our gastronomic culture and society that you are used as a form of positive reinforcement — as rewards for desired behaviors or for winning classroom contests. Some of us become so attached to your yumminess that we contract the condition that categorizes us as “choco-holics.”
Like us college students undergoing a myriad of transformative life experiences and moods, we understand that you are the same. Your empathy truly draws us closer. Sometimes you feel a bit more bitter and go for a darker tone. Other times, you are more sweet and have a lighter mood, and yet at other times, you feel confused and ambivalent towards life, taking on a marbled appearance. The profundity of your flavor, in the way it hugs our taste buds and takes us to a culinary nirvana, is ineffably beautiful.
Thank you for being a part of my life. You undeniably add new flavors to my existence, and your never-ending capacity to satiate our dessert desires is incomparable.
With all my love and perhaps some affectionate “lovebites,”
Contact Sarayu Pai at smpai918 ‘at’ stanford.edu.