The other day I did something naughty.
After cleaning the kitchen, all long gone to bed, random news program on TV, I got the munchies. The only viable chocolate product in my pantry was a packet of Smarties that the kids had chosen for their next cinema trip. I wasn't tempted, but I was desperate.
Guilt-ridden the next day, I reflected on the role that chocolate plays in our lives and came to the conclusion that there is no standard here. Human chocolate habits are mysterious and "un-pigeonholeable".
Do most women like chocolate? Yes. Do those same women like good quality high cocoa content dark chocolate? Hmm. Some. Could most women be talked into a Flake at a service station in the middle of nowhere? Yes, barring those opposed to Flake fall-out.
Chocolate ticks a lot of boxes in the home: treat, dessert, energy snack, gift. The marketing strategy for Cadbury's Favourites is crafty. 'What to bring when you're told not to bring a thing'. Chocolate is failsafe.
Or is it? Chocolate snobs abound and chocolate sometimes has to be done right. If it is a gift you must consider it just as thoroughly as you would flowers, tea or wine. No problem if you live in France and there is a chocolate shop on every corner. Harder if you are buying from the local Australian supermarket.
So what to buy in the absence of La Maison du Chocolat or Amadei? Let your fingers do the walking. A chocolatier mightn't be far away. Markets are a good option, as are shopping malls. Test the produce and the packaging and buy yourself a sampler (ignoring the bitter taste in your mouth when you get to the till). If the chocolatier fails, don't despair, go for the readily available supermarket classics such as Lindt, Green and Blacks or Cote D'Or Bouchee.
After all, as Linda Grayson said, 'There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.'