Chocolate Week: Cheap Thrills

With most things in life, and especially with the things we buy - clothes; cars; furniture; even shampoo - there is cheap and there is expensive, and there is a time and a place for both. Chocolate is no exception.
Baking recipes almost always stipulate that best quality chocolate should be used, with lots of cocoa solids and a shiny snap when you break the bar; and a box of artisan truffles will make a nicer gift than some supermarket standby bought last-minute.
But there are times when only cheap chocolate, tempting you at the checkout or in round tins at Christmas time, will do. Here are just a few of my cheap chocolate choices:

Nutella - The fact that this chocolate spread is made in Italy (and made by the same company that produces Ferrero Rocher) makes it feel somehow more refined. Lovely on toast and rich, thin pancakes (perhaps with banana too), but obviously best eaten spooned straight from the jar.

Kinder - As well as making Ferrero Rocher (the coconut variety of which I love) those crafty Italians make the delicious two-toned chocolate used first, I think for Kinder Eggs. I used to wish they made bars of it and was, sadly, quite excited when they actually did.

Maltesers - I remember in an episode of Jonathan Creek, Caroline Quentin's character begins eating a bag of these that she had kept in the freezer. I now do the same, nibbling the chocolate off the malted inside first. In a similar vein, Nigella Lawson in one of her TV shows (Nigella Bites I think) plucks a box of Celebrations from the freezer to have for dinner, for those days when you can't bothered to cook at all.

Cadbury's Easter eggs - Cadbury's chocolate can be a little too creamy and sickly sweet, but I rather like it in thin, Easter egg form. Giving the foil-clad shell a good bashing to break it into pieces is always satisfying too. Incidentally, I love Cadbury's Mini Eggs - always better from tubes so you can smell their sweet, sugary fragrance first. I remember using them with chocolate covered All-Bran to make little nests in primary school.

Chocolate port - Not necessarily cheap money-wise, but there is a certain novelty element to this, especially when it is actually described as chocolate-flavoured wine. It is delicious though - perfect at Christmas time or as a sweetly comforting nightcap.


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