Perhaps the best ever part of being a magazine intern (a role I really rather relished) was Easter feasting my way through a whole hunt’s-worth of chocolate eggs for Olive’s annual taste-test. Those days were long ago, but the memory of one particular and frankly marvellous milk chocolate just won’t quit.
It was my very first encounter with Sir Hans Sloane, and I took him home with me. Or at least, the remnants of his beautiful behemoth; the thick chocolate shell sprayed like suede, each piece melting my heart as readily as it melted in my mouth. Sir Hans never called me after that, but I forgave him. We were both busy, after all, and I always relished the memories.
But now he’s back; if not from outer space; and just walked in to find me here with that guilty look upon my face. If I’d have known for just one second he’d be back to bother me, I’d not have bothered with this cheap chocolate bar. As soon as I clap eyes on Hans and his smart red-and-white attire, that inferior specimen is fast cast aside in favour of the flavours proffered by my old amour.
Hans’ chocolate is hot. I mean literally, not just because of our torrid time together. As I unpack the packs, I glean that this stuff is specifically for making an indulgent beverage certain to knock paltry powders into a cocked hat. Hans didn’t bring me diamonds or pearls, but these shiny hot chocolate beads are just as precious.
That shine isn’t wax, pomade, or any other carefully-applied grooming product. These beads get their gloss from a more painstaking process – four hours being tumbled much in the manner of real gems. As a thoughtful chap and not knowing my personal preferences, Hans has brought milk, honey and dark varieties for me to melt into milk or water as is my wish.
I have oft-wished for something Rich and Dark to sweep me off my feet, so three tablespoons of the nubbly nuggets are popped into my smart new Hans Sloane mug. Then it’s in with the H2O – but I’m not turning this water into wine. Instead, it’s something even more divine; as rich and dark as promised, although also pretty thick.
Luckily, that’s a winning attribute for a cracking cup of hot chocolate, even if it’s a rather unattractive quality in a potential partner. For quality control and pleasure purposes both, I repeat the process with Hans’ Natural Honey and Smooth Milk chocolate beads, all the while beadily eyeing the trio of salted caramels I can’t wait to sweetly savour on the side of my cuppa.
Like a vampire, handsome Hans has worn well, first purveying premium hot choc over three centuries back. He happened upon the concept of drinking cacao in Jamaica, and, as I sip my trio of time-refined versions, I have to stop and tell him, ‘jamaican me crazy with this stuff’. To properly savour the flavours, I’ve stuck to water, but he informs me the beads mix as merrily with milk.
I’m very merry to be mixing with Hans once more. This time, I assure you that our affair will not be so fleeting. Take that, cheap drinking chocolate options; Sir Hans is back for good – and he’s got my lipstick mark on his hot chocolate cup. Forget other Bachelors – it’s Hans’ mugs that give the very best hugs. Especially when accompanied with one of his salted caramels for your smacker….
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