"Sorry, Sweetheart. I didn't know that. From now on, I wouldn't keep chocolates in the house."
"No that is okay", he assured me, putting on a martyred expression. "I can put up with a few cavities, but if you don't stock chocolates, Papa will be upset."
I have a lot to learn from my son- lessons on getting my way with a smile, lessons on diplomacy, and lessons on wriggling out of tricky situations.
But this is not about my son. This is about Chocolate, even though you can never talk about one without also talking about the other.
Chocolate! That most wonderful thing which you reach for, not because you are feeling happy or sad, or because you are hungry or full, but which you reach for simply because you want to.
Scientific studies have tried to explain why people reach for chocolate. Chocolate contains a high level of phenylethylamine (PEA), which occurs naturally in the brain where it releases dopamine in the mesolimbic centres for pleasure. PEA plays a vital role when we fall in love and feel passion, and it was propounded that since chocolate is packed with the molecule, it stimulated similar emotions. How strongly the PEA in chocolate actually affects our emotions is disputed - most of the PEA ingested orally is metabolised long before it reaches the central nervous system, so the effect can at best be minimal.
That may be the case, but I can think of few things that give me more pleasure than a bar of chocolate. I don't need chocolate to cheer me up- I savour it because of what it is. Like my favourite t-shirt says "Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed. Chocolate makes it worthwhile."
And anyone who doubts that love for chocolate is hereditary need look no further than my younger son. My maternal grandmother was a chocoholic, my father was a chocoholic, I am a chocoholic- guess what my younger one is!