The Chocolate Dictionary

definitions for chocolate lovers

CHOCOTECTIC

 A person who likes to be, or fantasises about, being covered in chocolate. Sometimes just the eating of the stuff is not enough. Chocotectics like to wallow, often literally, in the sensation of chocolate against the skin, the heady aroma of chocolate all around, and the feeling of being ‘united’ with the food they love so dearly.

chocotectic

Chocotectics head for spas like Neville in Knightsbridge, who offer a two-hour “Matis Cocoa Wrap treatment”. Ostensibly designed to stimulate beta-endorphins in the body, “leaving you feeling completely satisfied”, to detoxify the skin (cocoa is high in anti-oxidants), and to exploit the moisturising effects of cocoa butter, such treatments are becoming increasingly popular with people who like the feeling of being covered in chocolate but don’t like the mess it creates.

almost there

THE CHOCOLATE BOX EXPRESSION

In a study published during the 1980’s, sociologist Marjorie Ferguson identified four types of facial expression in the cover photos of women’s magazines.

Number one, on a scale of increasing emotion and animation, is the “Chocolate Box” expression, described as a half or full smile, with the lips together or slightly parted, and the face full or three-quarters to camera. The projected mood aims to be soft and sweet, not too hot or cold  (a warm bath kind of warm ), where the uniformity of the woman’s features in their “smooth perfection” (like the surface of a chocolate) is more important than her quirks or individuality.

The soft "Chocolate Box" expression.

The soft “Chocolate Box” expression.

Perhaps all Ferguson’s categories could be described as chocolate box because the look not only epitomises a certain kind of female beauty (young, attractive, appealing), but also encompasses a wide range of emotions and desires, some a hotter than others.

The second expression on Ferguson’s scale is the “Invitational” look, which emphasis the eyes, has the head to one side looking back at the camera, and is mischievous and mysterious in nature.

The “Super Smiler”, with the full face open smile, often with wind-blown hair, is enthusiastic, demanding and exciting.

vogue cover

The “Super Smiler” expression – enthusiastic for chocolates and all they stand for.

The fourth expression, the “Romantic or Sexual”, is characterised by wantonness, availability and, as often as not with this look, unashamedly erotic.

Although Ferguson’s study was carried out decades ago, the expressions she categorised continue to be found on the covers of women’s magazines today. This suggests that even when not directly connected to chocolates the so-called Milk Tray Approach is still a powerful, enduring and successful marketing strategy.

CHOCOTAINER

A person who keeps their chocolates for an inordinately long period of time – i.e. more than a few days, a week even! – before eating them. Whether such a person is blessed with superhuman powers of self-control,  (being able to eat just one at a time every two days or so), or simply forgets the delicious chocolates are even there, has yet to be fully determined. What is obvious, though, is that instructions such as “to be consumed within one week of purchase” are never treated (as most chocophiles would treat them) as mere ironical asides.

george-marks-man-offering-woman-box-of-chocolates

Two ‘chocotainers’ eking out their chocolates and demonstrating their wholly uncommon powers of self-control. (Photo by: George Marks)

CHOCONEIRIA

chocolate dream

The interpretation of chocolate in dreams. That chocolate is full of symbolism is very well acknowledged, so it comes as no surprise that in the psychology of dream interpretation chocolate can mean many different things.

One school of thought has it that dreaming of chocolate indicates a subliminal desire for more pleasure in life. For some this means more enjoyment or more carefree frivolity, and for others it means more romance or sex. Another viewpoint is that chocolate indicates a need for more sweetness, or even the desire to escape the pressures of life. There’s the opposite view too: that chocolate signals the dreamer is indulging to excess and therefore there is a need for self-restraint.

Chocolate is also said to symbolize an attitude of mind, or a memory of things, events or people that bring joy, such as holidays, relationships, and friends who make us feel welcome etc. Dreaming of opening a box of chocolates symbolizes the thrill, the delight, in approaching or engaging in new experiences. As a corollary to this, dreaming of chocolate could mean we are about to experience a great love, a celebration of some kind, or a richly deserved reward.

At a deeper level, dreaming of chocolate or, more specifically, dreaming of chocolates, symbolizes the desire for wholeness. In this interpretation, the couverture surrounding the chocolate represents the surface thoughts and mental processes; the filling inside represents the emotions and deeper feelings; and the sweetness of the confectionery itself represents the vitality, the lifeforce, that permeates everything.

dreaming-of-chocolate-babatude boutique

CHOCOLATE MANSION

A mansion built or bought with money earned from making, selling or marketing chocolate, of which there are many in the chocolate, as oppose to cocoa, producing countries of the world.

Northfield Manor, a Tudor-style stone and brick mansion with timber framing in Birmingham, was bought by George Cadbury in 1890 and lived in by the family until 1951. Felicity Loudon, a Cadbury heiress and great-grand-daughter of George Cadbury, sold Pusey House, her magnificent home in Gloucestershire, for £30 million in 2012, so that she could use the money to start another chocolate company.

Northfield Manor 1935

Rowntree-owned Northfield Manor

Pusey House, bought with chocolate money and later sold for chocolate money.

Pusey House, bought with chocolate money and later sold for chocolate money.

Middlethorpe Manor in York, was the home of Francis Terry, whose great-grandfather Joseph Terry founded Terry’s of York, once one of the most prestigious chocolate manufacturers in Britain.

Penn House, also in York, was built in 1851 by Joseph Rowntree, one of the founders of the company that bore his name.

Henri Menier, grandson of the founder of the famous Menier chocolate company, bought Anticosti Island (an island a quarter of the size of Belgium) at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada in 1885, where he built himself a 30-room Scandinavian-style mansion.

CHOCCYWOCCYDOODAH

An elaborate and extravagant idea of chocolate creation or display; an over-the-top theatre of chocolate fantasy.

At one end of the definition there are the choccywoccydoodah tins of Cadbury Roses, Cadbury Heroes and Nestlé Quality Streets piled vertiginously high in supermarkets at Christmas time (and well before); and at the other end there are the superfragilistic and somewhat more expensive chocolates like Rococo’s medal-winning Red Berry Madagascar, an amazing, surprising, almost gesticulating ganache, meltingly delicious with an intense fruity interior to die for.

rococo ganaches

A box of Rococo ganaches (image from : Dukeshill website)

Choccywoccydoodah is also the name of the highly original chocolatier from England’s south coast town of Brighton, who also have a branch in London’s creative and bohemian centre of Soho. The name came to the founders after a night of boozy inspiration, unaware that the word already existed. A name perfectly intuited for the kind of flamboyant design company they are. More boudoir than chocolate shop, the Brighton and London boutiques may have a certain campness about their ambiance, but the way they push the boundaries of taste is nothing short of dedicated. Chocolates on offer include cute little birds and animals, men’s and women’s shoes, chocolate lip lollies, and naughty chocolate willies. Most extravagant of all though are their cakes and one-off chocolate sculptures – so fantastical that even Marie Antoinette would think they were too much.

choccywoccy london

Choccywoccydoodah’s boutique in London, just off Carnaby Street. (image from: Choccywoccydoodah’s website)

CHOCOLATORY

The adoration of chocolates. Not in the sense of prostrating oneself before them, but in the sense of treating chocolates as if they are the first things one has tasted following a long fast; of being acutely sensitive to their tastes, textures and “mouthfeel”; and of marveling at the creativity, the meaning and the artistry that goes into creating such exquisite moments of gastronomy. Sometimes just the idea or concept of what a chocolate means is enough to trigger chocolatory – as in the intimation of caramels and ganaches sensed, for example, in the shade of a chapeau, shaded by an umbrella, shaded by a willow tree susurrating in France.

An intimation of caramels and ganaches sensed in the shade of a chapeau, shaded by an umbrella, shaded by a willow tree susurrating in France.

An intimation of caramels and ganaches sensed in the shade of a chapeau, shaded by an umbrella, shaded by a willow tree susurrating in France.

THE NAVEL DIP TEST

Similar to the Ensellure and Suprasternal Notch Tests, this is the test in which a lover is judged by whether or not one would enjoy eating or licking chocolates out of their navel. It involves judgements not just on how pretty his or her navel is, but also on the excitement that can be derived from it. The Navel Dip Test is related to the ancient science of omphalomancy, divination through the examination of the navel, a fact that indicates the significance of this part of the body as an erogenous zone. In 2002 Mars alluded to the Navel Dip Test in their Maltesers campaign. A smiling woman, midriff exposed and a Malteser in her navel, was shown sprawled invitingly on a thick white rug. Tagline: “the lighter way to get him to do absolutely anything”.

Maltesers advert from 2002.

 

CHOCOPOLIS

A chocopolis, literally a “city of chocolates”, is an enormous quantity of chocolates contained within one box. Although record-breaking boxes are put together to grab headlines (like the Frango mints assembled by Marshall Field’s in 2002, which weighed stomach-bursting 1,463kg), chocopolis commonly refers to boxes sold by chocolatiers for, as they put it, “corporate entertaining” and “dinner parties”. Though why they should be so coy about acknowledging chocophiles actually purchase such a brobgingnagian selections for themselves has yet to be explained.

L’Artisan du Chocolat have a chocopolis called the Large Opulence Pyramid, which comes in at an impressive 2,300g and costs £300. La Maison du Chocolat have their 1,615g Boîte Maison containing over 200 pieces and costs £200. Godiva do a ballotin containing 140 pieces; Hotel Chocolat have their Signature Cabinet with three drawers containing a total of 138 pieces, as well as their Chocolatier’s Table Luxe containing 125 pieces; and Guylian do an 880g box containing 76 truffles and praline-filled seashells.

Chocopolis – a “city of chocolates” – from the renowned French chocolatier Michel Cluizel.

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The Signature Cabinet from Hotel Chocolat.

The question often asked is when does a large box of chocolates become a chocopolis? The answer is, to a certain extent, subjective. Anything that catches the eye as being particularly impressive for its opulence can be classed as a chocopolis. Although popular consensus accepts any box containing over 75 pieces is worthy of the definition, Bendicks used to sell a “yard of Bittermints” – their famously intense dark chocolate Bittermints in a 36-inch (90cm) long box containing 66 pieces – and this, for sheer length alone, was extravagant enough to qualify.

CHOCOLIPSIS

The wistful feeling born of a love for chocolates that is experienced during a dirth of chocolates. Chocolipsis is frequently expressed as a question or unresolved doubt. Examples include the following:

  • How many thoughts of pleasure are contained in an empty box of chocolates?
  • Does touching the void mean palpating an empty ballotin of pralines?
  • When we do not think of truffles and pralines do think of anything at all?
  • She served the chocolates in one of her lacy bras. If only she had had a fuller figure.
  • When Keats wrote of “The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine” in his heart-tugging Ode to a Nightingale, was he anticipating the phenomenon of rose crèmes and the way in which they’d one day tug on our sentiments like murmurous summer days?