It will come as no surprise to my blog friends when I confess to a not-so-secret addiction to chocolate, the darker the better. I have long been a reliable tester of all the big chocolate names, from Green and Black, who seem to have disappeared from the South African marketplace of late, to Lindt with their blossoming and branching out into a multitude of sophisticated flavours (perhaps the reason behind Green and Black’s ousting?), sea salt being my current Wow factor to the taste buds.
After attending the fantastic Cape Town Food Bloggers Conference in March, I found that my blog was occasionally targeted by the foodie PR people. Juno wrote about the ethics and complications of accepting freebies when you are writing an independent blog. Her rule of never accepting freebies to review made sense in many circumstances, but I found myself tested immediately by an offer from Lindt to bring me some goodies to sample. How could I possibly say no to chocolate?
I mean, when you live 60km from town it can be hard to persuade friends that it’s not too far to come for lunch. It’s not very often that you have complete strangers offering to drive out specially, just to deliver you some free chocolate, no strings attached. So I accepted and told them to ring for directions.
Two weeks later on a gorgeous sunny day they did. It turned out that they had already shot 20km past our turning and were in the next town asking at the info office for directions. Of course nobody had heard of us there. We’re quite used to talking couriers and various delivery people to our farm from all points of the compass, so I gave directions again and waited. And waited. Eventually a very sweet little Smart car emblazoned with the Lindt logo and pictures of chocolate rolled up the dirt road to our gate. It was immediately met with impassioned barking from assorted manic border collies, which is the usual welcome our visitors get. I ran out to rescue them and to photograph the cute car in its incongruous country setting... unfortunately the camera battery was flat. The two pretty girls smartly dressed in red stayed safely in the car, handing out to me a be-ribboned box of goodies, then revealed that the info office in our local town had sent them to the next town further on, 30 km in the wrong direction. They seemed quite happy though and it was a lovely day for a scenic drive around the Swartland, so I tried not to feel too bad about it.
And my spoils? Well I have to admit that my greedy chocoholic alter ego had ideas of lashings of dark chocolate samples, perhaps unveiling the latest wicked 99% cocoa bar to be tested on that secret sector of food blogging choco-gourmet elite, of whom I had now been elected one of the chosen few...
But nestled in the box were instead some samples of baked goodies from the Lindt Chocolate Studio in town: some miniature macaroons with chocolate sandwich filling, a couple of orange chocolate brownies and a white chocolate truffle…Now they were nice. But not Wow Chocolate Explosion fantastic. In fact my Lindt chocolate stash in the larder rather put them in their place on the chocolate scale of things. Which seemed a bit of a shame after all the trouble they’d taken to get them to me. Plus I think from reading about it that the Chocolate Studio sounds like a fantastic idea, learning to bake with chocolate, make your own truffles and even temper chocolate to a professional level. I’d still love to go there myself and create marvels of chocolate sculpture, tasting just a little on the way.
So thank you Lindt for going to such lengths to send me free samples. I do appreciate it, really I do. Just, if you’re going to be marketing another product, please can I have the chocoholics dark dark version, and I’ll be much more enthusiastic about it, I promise!
All this writing about dark chocolate has got to me. I can feel that stash of sea salt chocolate in the larder calling to me. Tell me what you thought of the Lindt samples if you are another Cape Town blogger who couldn't resist them.