Confectionery Theory

It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

I drink very little wine; but if I did, I imagine I’d drink the cheap stuff because I wouldn’t see the difference between a bottle that costs two quid and one that costs twenty. When living in Cambridge I was once invited to a wine-tasting evening; an invite I politely declined. I just knew that my evening would consist of me getting very angry and hitting someone for being “an insufferable ponce”.

But even I am dimly aware that different sorts of wines are supposed to be served at different temperatures. Wines apparently taste slightly different depending on whether they are chilled or at room-temperature.

Whilst that sort of fannying-about is definitely not for me, I have recently realised that the same principles apply to something very dear to my heart: chocolate.

That’s right – though all snacks are created equal, some are more equal than others. (That’s a George Orwell quote right there – I hope you appreciate the culture I inject into this blog.) You cannot treat them all the same.

For those of you who just stuff your chocolate in that bit of the fridge door that is normally reserved for eggs or open tins of cat food, take heed! This guide is as much for health-and-safety reasons as it is for maximum oral pleasure. (I just put those last three words in to get a few more hits on Google.)

Serving suggestions for popular confectionery

Wispa – should be served chilled. Relatively low density means it holds its structural integrity better when cold, yet remaining easy to bite into.

Fudge, Curly-Wurly – should be served strictly at room temperature, unless you are “Jaws” from Moonraker. Attempting to bite into a chilled Curly-Wurly without metal teeth can lead to expensive dental bills or corrective facial surgery.

Star Bar – gets you extra value for money when chilled, due to requirement of extended chewing time. But be warned: the outer layer of chocolate tends to fragment and flake more when cold; your tie may suffer.

M&Ms – the crazy blue-packet ones can be chilled, but peanut or chocolate ones must only be eaten in limited quantities if refrigerated. Eating too many will make your entire head suffer from “vibration white finger”.

Minstrels – to be treated the same as M&Ms.

Toblerone – many casual snackers buy this, and quite frankly I’m astounded there aren’t more accidents involving them. When served at room temperature, it tends to melt all over your hands unless eaten at high speed. When chilled, you’re in serious danger of stabbing yourself in the mouth unless you have an overbite like Janet Street-Porter.

Skittles – should be served at room temperature. Don’t eat them if you’re suffering from a cold. If you sneeze you’re liable to shoot the cat.

Dairy Milk – chilled is preferred, but be warned: a sharp shard of a well-refrigerated bar can have the same properties as broken glass. I have never yet seen an episode of CSI where the murder weapon was an ice-cold broken piece of Dairy Milk, but it can only be a matter of time. “Hello curiously-attractive lab-geek. Where’s the murder weapon? We need to dust it for prints.” “Hello Ginger Cop. The weapon was made of rich chocolate, and had melted by the time we got here.” “Well, then I guess the victim … (puts on glasses) … was in some serious truffle.” “(The Who) Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” And so on.

Kinder Surprise Eggs – doesn’t really matter, as they taste of despair and disappointment anyway. Would you prefer your depression chilled or a Chambre? Serve with a pint of Crème de menthe and a handful of painkillers.

Tunnock’s Wafers – serve at room temperature. Wafer bars lose all their interesting chewy-but-crunchy properties when refrigerated, and become rather dull. For a snack that is normally reserved for only the classiest social occasions or packed-lunches of The Smart Set, this is nothing short of blasphemy.

Crisps – always room temperature. What are you, some sort of weirdo?

More H&S advice regarding chocolate? Your tips and observations are invited in the comments.

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  1. Sister says:

    Keep it away from dogs!!!!!

    especially the really high-grade darkest of dark black chocolate with hot ginger and cocoa nibs.

    You would not believe the heavy gas and suspiciously viscous liquid which is generated when black chocolate ginger is combined with 100g of white chocolate and peach truffles and then run through the digestive system of a whippet….

  2. James Blast says:

    You are a strange one – chilled Star Bar, good grief man.
    You really need teeth like that Jaws out of Moonraker fella you mention.

    I think we should be told.

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