The Chocolate Dictionary

definitions for chocolate lovers

CHOCOLATESQUE

When someone who is already chocolatey in nature becomes even more chocolatey. George Clooney, for example, who, with his deep creamy voice, rich brown eyes and soft velvety smile, becomes even more chocolatey when in the company of women with long dark hair tumbling down like truffles, cupid’s bow lips as kissable as ganaches, curvaceous figures as pleasing to the eye as a chocolatier’s window diplay, and shiny tanned skin as smooth as expensive Belgian pralines.

Chocolatesque: Elisabetta Canalis becoming more chocolatey in the presence of George Clooney, and vice versa.

CHOCONOME

A choconome is a person whose liking for chocolate is such that any chocolate will do. When eating in a restaurant, for example, the choconome is the one who chooses the chocolate dessert over any other, no matter how brilliant the others are. For choconomes, the only thing better than chocolate is more chocolate.

CHOCKLISS

Chockliss is when the buying, unwrapping or eating of chocolate is experienced as an illicit thrill. It can be the eating of pralines, caramels and ganaches when one should be dieting. It can be the eating of chocolate in bed when the risk of staining the sheets is likely to cause censure. Or it can be the excitement derived from marrying flavours that are not usually found together. WordPress blogger Sourabh, who writes about “food, fashion and frameworks”, describes the trend for “adulterous” flavour combinations that started with salt, and followed by the “prowl” of pepper, sesame, chilli, and mango. Now, even garlic, vinegar, Marmite, and cheese couplings are being explored. For Sourabh, though, it’s the “naughty” Swedish brand Fika Choklad, with their “favourites to flirt” like red gingerbread and ruby licorice, that get her going, evoking just the right ooohs and aaahs at “perfectly climaxed intervals” to make her taste buds want even more.

The guilty pleasure of chocolate in bed.

Chockliss is also in the way sites like Pinterest and Tumblr display “food porn” pictures of red velvet ice-cream in a chocolate cone and gorgeously immoral, guilt-stuffed chocolate mousse cheesecakes etc. for chocophiles to drool over; and in the way passages like this, taken from an advert for Mars’s Fling in Cosmopolitan, teasingly depict the pleasure of chocolate as a secret, intimate thrill:

“Elizabeth lowered the lights, put on some soft music, and lay down on her bed. She wasn’t worried about being interrupted: her husband was out if town. He was always out of town. She was used to this by now. She thought back to times before – the guilt quickly followed. But not anymore.”

“Elizabeth had learned to have a little fun. How to be a little naughty. Excitement raced through her body. She had waited all day for this moment. She grinned, picturing her husband’s face, his reaction, were he to wander in and see her. It would certainly not be a smile. He couldn’t stand the idea of crumbs on the sheets.”

Chocolate-as-adultery or just another fling?

CHOCOLOCHARM

A magic spell cast with chocolates. The following spell dates from Victorian times and was popularly believed to charm a lover into becoming more faithful and committed. Made up of the words. “XX loves me with all his/her heart, our love binds us to never part”, where ‘XX’ is the name of the lover in question, the spell was cast with rose and violet creams for, in magic, roses and violets are associated with love, dedication and loyalty, and connected to Venus.

Victorian style rose and violet creams – perfect for the casting of love spells. (Image from: Lakeland.co.uk)

To maximize the power of the spell the Victorians advised that the best quality creams one could afford should be used – the more resources a person put into it the more they were said to get out of it. Using a hot knife, the person casting the spell incised the bottom of each cream with the initial letters of the words stated above – i.e. XX, L, M, W, A, H, H, O, L, B, U, T, N, P. (Only the initials were needed, as in magic each letter is capable of containing the whole word.) Next, the incised letters were concealed by brushing the base of each cream with melted chocolate of a similar appearance to the original. When the chocolate had hardened, the creams were returned to the box to await a suitably romantic occasion. Sharing the creams with the lover to be charmed, it soon became noticeable that his or her attention was more affectionate, until words and gestures avowing love, honour and commitment were sincerely uttered. At this point all doubts would be dispelled and the flow of sweetness would continue for many moons to come.

CHOCOLAFIT

A game consisting of matching chocolate ads with categories in the Master Formats of Advertising. These formats were first identified in the late 1970’s by Donald Gunn, then a creative director for the agency Leo Burnett (the agency that came up with the Milk Tray Man). After several months studying the best and most creative adverts on TV, Gunn discovered certain patterns kept repeating, and from these patterns twelve distinct formats or strategies emerged.

Today, over forty years later, these strategies are still very much alive and well. The game of Chocolafit involves nothing more than watching television, identifying which Master Formats the chocolate ads fit into, and then ticking them off a personal list. There are no winners or losers as such, and the game is usually spread over several weeks, but the enjoyment comes from recognising which format is being employed and ticking it off one’s list.

Gunn’s twelve formats, with examples from well-known chocolate ads, can be summarized as follows:

  • The Demo – A visual demonstration of a product’s capabilities.
  • The “Show the Need or Problem” – The Classic “I’ve Fallen and I can’t get up!” strategy.
  • The Symbolize the Problem – Using symbols or exaggerated graphics to bring the problem to life.
  • The Symbolise the Benefit – The use of symbols to focus on a product’s benefit.
  • The Comparison – Pointing out how one product is superior to its rivals.
  • The Exemplary Story – When an ad uses a story or narrative to exemplify the product’s benefits.
  • The Benefit Causes a Story – When the use of product creates a unique story. An example is the Axe body spray commercial (named Lynx in the UK) in which a man turns into a chocolate version of himself and has women desperate to lick or bite chunks off him.
  • The Testimonial – Real people telling other real people about the product.
  • The Ongoing Character or Celebrity – A consistent character or celebrity keeps a brand in the public’s memory. An example is the Terry’s Chocolate Orange ads, featuring quirky comedienne and roly-poly actress Dawn French.

Dawn French – identified with Terry’s Chocolate Orange for over a decade till 2102. (Image from: YouTube)

  • The Associated User Imagery – Ads that showcase the types of people brands want to associate with. For example, the way in which the chunky Yorkie chocolate bar was advertised in the 1970’s by lorry drivers in a bid to make milk chocolate more appealing to a “masculine” audience.

Yorkie bar – advertised in the 1970’s as the “masculine” way to eat milk chocolate. (Image from: YouTube)

  • The Unique Personality Property – Highlighting a feature that makes the product stand out. Cadbury’s Flake ads are the best example of this format, for the way they showed, in a very sensual way, how only the “crumbliest, flakiest chocolate tastes like chocolate never tasted before”.
  • The Parody or Borrowed Format – In this format, instantly recognizable themes from popular movies, music or television programmes are parodied to sell products in an entertaining way. The classic Milk Tray ads, parodying spy movies, are the best and most well-known example of this.

THE CHOCOLATE PERCENTILE

The percentage of women who, according to surveys carried out by the confectionery industry and media organizations, say they’d rather have chocolate than sex. The percentile varies greatly from country to country, indicating it’s not just the quality of chocolate but cultural influences that are at work. The lowest percentile comes from Ireland, where a 2010 survey found 20% of women would rather have chocolate than sex. A 2012 GratisPoint survey in France, where some of the best chocolate in world is made, found it was as high as 49%, and a 2007 poll by Cadbury in England found it was only marginally higher at 52%. In America, a survey by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association came in with a massive 70%, later bumped up to an even more impressive 73% by a 2011 “tracking survey” by Saatchi Wellness in New York. Consumers can draw their own conclusions, particularly as few, if any, of the polls asked what kind of sex women were or were not having, or what kind of chocolate they preferred. At least it’s clear Irish women have lost little of their romance and passion…

A woman engaged in the chocolate percentile.

As to the reason why so many women should prefer chocolate to sex, the explanations are as numerous as the surveys themselves. However, two theories stand out as possibly worthy of interest.

One, according to Cadbury’s own research, is that for many women chocolate provides “guaranteed pleasure, it never disappoints”. A belief Cadbury put to good use in the tagline for their Spanish ads in 2010: “A man is never going to be like a whole bar of Cadbury’s”. It’s not just the endorphins that make chocolate so enjoyable, Cadbury claim, but because it melts in the mouth at body temperature, chocolate’s creamy texture and unique aroma hit all of the body’s senses, heightening the sensuality of the experience.

Another theory concerns the propaganda value of those lists circulated on the internet, especially around Valentine’s Day, which emphasize the positive aspects of chocolate indulgence, in contrast to the less conducive aspects of sex (sex with men, that is – the implication is not disputed):

Twenty-Five Reasons Why Chocolate is Better than Sex

  • Chocolate satisfies even when it has gone soft.
  • You can safely have chocolate while you are driving.
  • You can make chocolate last as long as you want it to.
  • If you bite the nuts too hard the chocolate won’t mind.
  • Two people of the same sex can have chocolate without being called nasty names.
  • The word ‘commitment’ doesn’t scare off chocolate.
  • You can have chocolate at work without upsetting your colleagues.
  • You can ask a stranger for chocolate without getting your face slapped.
  • With chocolate there’s no need to fake it.
  • Chocolate doesn’t make you pregnant.
  • You can have chocolate at any time of the month.
  • You can have as many kinds of chocolate as you can handle.
  • You are never too young or too old for chocolate.
  • When you have chocolate it does not keep your neighbours awake.
  • With chocolate size doesn’t matter.
  • Chocolate is easy to get hold of.
  • “If you love me you’ll swallow that” has real meaning with chocolate.
  • You don’t get hairs in your mouth with chocolate.
  • You can have chocolate safely even when you are driving.
  • You can fondle chocolate in a supermarket.
  • Chocolate will never be rude to you.
  • Chocolate is never jealous of your friends.
  • A chocolate will never make a scene.
  • A chocolate never complains about how much money you earn.

There is never a need to apologise with chocolates…

CHOCOLART

The belief that all art can be symbolised by the form and contents of a box of chocolates. Taking typical mass market chocolates like Nestlé’s Dairy Box and Cadbury’s Milk Tray as examples, the nut or praline-based chocolate found in such assortments can be said to said to symbolise the Classical style; the fudge symbolises the Baroque or the Rococo; the orange, or any kind of fruit truffle and fruit crème, symbolises the Romantic and Pre-Raphaelite styles; the Turkish Delight or similar “exotica” symbolises High Victorian Romanticism; the soft or runny caramel symbolises Impressionism, whereas the hard or chewy caramel is symbolic of Expressionism; the shape of the box, naturally, is symbolic of Cubism, and the colour of the box symbolises Pop Art; the lettering symbolises the Graphic Arts in general, and the plastic tray or dainty little paper cups  the chocolates sit in are symbolic of Conceptual Art.

CHOCOLISTIC

Chocolistic describes the kind of bonbon infused with so many layers of folklore and history that it gains a mythic status of its own. One example is the Manon Blanc, a signature white praline from Belgian chocolatier Leonidas. Filled with light, moussey, coffee-flavoured butter cream, it is not just the delicious taste and texture of this praline that has made it the most popular in the Leonidas’s range, but also the reverberations of romantic yearning contained in the depths of its ancient name. Manon is both the tragic young heroine in Abbé Prévost’s eighteenth century novel Manon Lescaut, and the golden sprite in Marcel Paignol’s 1962 novel Manon des Sources, later a hit movie starring the incomparable Emmanuelle Béart. Other Belgian chocolatiers, such as Godiva, Jeff de Bruges, Daskalidès, Corné Port-Royal, Passion Chocolat and FABchocolates have their own versions of the Manon Blanc, attesting to the power in the name to evoke deep-seeted emotions and connect to distant historical memories.

The Manon Blanc – both near and far away. (Image from: Leonidas)

CHOCOSPHERE

Boucher’s Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan.

An environment of beauty and opulence, a haven of serenity, or a place of inspiration evocative of sumptuous boxes of chocolates from Debauve et Gallais, Godiva, or Fortnum & Mason. The Wallace Collection in London is one such chocosphere, with its rooms full of ornate Louis XIV and XV furniture and porcelain, and its galleries hung with paintings like Fragonard’s The Swing and Boucher’s Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan (or should that be Vulvan?), not forgetting the equally awe generating Titians, Vélasques’s, Gainsboroughs and Reynolds. One could spend a whole day, a whole week, in the Wallace Collection, lost and found in reveries of truffles and pralines, each adding to the richness of the one before. A chocosphere of even larger proportions is the Victoria and Albert Museum, also in London. The greatest museum of decorative arts and design in the world, this vast Victorian edifice contains collections of dance, fashion, glass, jewellery, paintings, prints sculpture and theatre, such that one might think, on a quieter day when the crowds are absent, here be chocolates without end.

THE MILK TRAY FRONTIER

Whereas the Milk Tray Approach is about using the power of suggestion to sell chocolates, the Milk Tray Frontier is the line beyond which any pretence to subtlety and symbolism disappears. Exactly where this line is drawn depends on the perspective of the viewer, but if there’s one thing the history of the Milk Tray Approach demonstrates is that  some are willing to push it further than others.

A 1969 Flake ad shown on UK television featured model Hoima MacDonald in “exotic” Portugal sensually peeling off the bar’s wrapper before inserting it sensually between her lips. Hoima said she was unaware of the ad’s erotic connotations at the time, despite the symbolism of a gushing waterfall behind her, and the double entendre in the tagline, “Cadbury’s Flake – a heaven all of your own”. But these were still the early years of TV advertising and the frontier was still being explored.

By the 1990’s and early 2000’s the Flake ads had become so popular they had entered the hallowed halls of iconic television. One of the more unforgettable  ads showed model Rachel Brown luxuriating in a bubble bath, with the water allowed to overflow, so absorbed was she in the pleasure. Another showed a model in the blissful thraldom of “fold upon fold of creamy milk chocolate”. And yet another featured Australian actress Alyssa Sutherland, seen enjoying her Flake in an open-topped car, the camera lingering on the water dropletsrunning down her cleavage, her thighs, and her calves as the rain came pouring down.

Not surprisingly, with imagery like  this the Flake ads have consistently been voted the sexiest ever. They regularly beat other classics such as the Levi ad in which teen idol Nick Kamen stripped to his underwear in a launderette, and the Diet Coke ad featuring a bare-chested workman – played by the adequately-named hunk Lucky Vanous – being ogled by female office staff.

In being pushed further and further, the Milk Tray Frontier is, in the opinion of some viewers, being pushed too far. A 2001 poster campaign for Snowflake (a white version of Flake), featured a bare-shouldered woman eating the bar in a manner suggestive of oral sex. Nothing new there as far as Flake was conserned, but this image was bigger and more in-your-face than any others. In 2010 a new Flake ad had to be withdrawn before it even reached our screens because it was considered too raunchy. As the Marketing Director of Cadbury said at the time, without a hint of irony, “You try things, but don’t always pull it off, and that’s what happened here”.

In America, Mars’s relaunched Fling bar had a hot-pink wrapper covered in shimmering “mica” dust to appeal to the “girly market”. In one of the ads  viewers were meant to believe two people were having sex together in a dressing room. Comments were made and much was said in the press at the time. But with  straplines declaring the bar was “Naughty, but not that naughty,” “It’s not cheating if you don’t feel guilty,” and, “Your boyfriend doesn’t need to know,” the allure created around Fling only became hotter.

Ads like these demonstrate just how far manufacturers are willing to go before going too far. But it wasn’t until 2004 that an ad for Romanian brand Kandia arrived which, more than any previous ad, defined just where the boundary lay. In this ad there was no doubt as to what the couple were doing. Both were sprawled, completely naked on a huge satin-sheeted bed and, to the background of a thumping dance beat, were engrossed in a lot more than the enjoyment of their chocolate. “Chocolate with love’” was the strapline, but unfortunately the authorities who regulated such matters didn’t think so and the ad was censored soon after being first shown.

Kandia – where a lot more than just chocolate is being advertised. (image from: YouTube)