long ago, an oily sales executive invited me to have dinner with him at a
French restaurant. To start off the meal, he ordered a plate of escargot.
When it came, he tried to entice me into tasting some, saying they were a
fine example of afrodaisies. Huh? Visions of white and yellow flowers with
bushy hairdos danced in my head. Finally, it dawned on me that my date was
talking about aphrodisiacs. Since I don't like snails in whatever form
("slimy suckers", as Julia Roberts says of them in Pretty
Woman), I politely declined the gastronomic experience.
international cuisine come in many forms - from mussels to pine nuts to feta
cheese. These types of food purportedly possess magic qualities of taste
and texture that inspire intense desire, sexual appetite and potency. And
what is the best aphrodisiac of them all? It's chocolate. Well, all right,
it is a myth but it's not difficult to believe that it's true. Chocolate
has a chemical called phenylethylamine, which is practically identical to
the substance manufactured in the brain of an infatuated person. The rush
of sweetness when you bite a piece of chocolate gives one an instant jolt
of pleasure. Your heartbeat quickens, your head dissolves into a blissful
dream and your hand reaches out for…another piece.
chocolate will argue the merits of bittersweet chocolate over milk or
white chocolate, cream, fruit or wine-filled truffles. Size and shape of
chocolate also matter, not to mention the packaging of the boxes they come
in. The subject itself can arouse conflicting passions. Yet to my mind,
the simplest type of chocolate is the best. I need not purchase expensive
Swiss chocolates to tickle my private fantasies. All I need is Chocnut.
Chocnut, the sweet staple of my childhood, a simple concoction of peanuts,
milk, cane sugar, cocoa powder and flavoring. What joy it evoked to know
that I had a secret stash of Chocnut in my school bag or desk - not to be
shared of course, for that would destroy the thrill.
different ways of eating Chocnut: you can break it into smaller blocks or
divide it lengthwise. The challenge is not to crumble it in the process.
If you're in a hurry, you can swallow the whole rectangle. But you risk
possible choking because its texture allows it to stick to your throat.
You can chew it or let it sit inside your mouth and wait for it to melt.
Since that would take a while, you can shift it around with your tongue
and scrape it off your teeth. That way, you can savor the peanut grains
better. Any crumbs left inside the foil can be reshaped with your thumb
and forefinger into an edible mass, or you can more efficiently take care
of any remainders by licking the foil. The foil is plain silver but
occasionally, it can come in shiny green, red and blue colors during the
I always try to
bring Chocnut as pasalubong (gifts) for my Filipino friends and
relatives who live abroad. They usually respond with a cry of delight as
they wolf the chocolate down and share their happy memories about it.
Curiously, this delicacy is not easy to find. Sometimes, I have to go to
the palengke (wet market) or selected native restaurants if I need
imitations, though. Once, I got fooled by similar packaging and the word
"Nut" printed across the plastic pack. When I tasted the
chocolate, however, I gagged at the damp texture and spat it out. Chocnut
is dry and only sticks together when it's inside your mouth. (Any allusion
or metaphorical link I leave entirely up to the reader, but there's no
other way to describe the Chocnut experience.) After eating only two
pieces, the pleasure generated is truly akin to a love buzz.
Forget the fancy
oyster dish, crushed pearl powder, Spanish fly, olives, strawberries,
onions, ginseng, Vitamin E, or--get this--green M&Ms. Chocnut does it