My favorite childhood chocolate was called ROM, so Romanian that it sported the flag on the wrapper. It is still made today. It has a strong rum flavor. It’s not an exceptional chocolate in any way, just sweet and rummy. The taste of childhood treats. There were not many treats to be had in stores during my deprived (but just normal, at the time) communist childhood. (Here is a very funny—maybe not so much if you’re not Romanian yourself, though—video of a publicity campaign around the ROM chocolate.)
Later, after the revolution, I discovered the cherry liquor chocolates, delicious, then Milka, which I thought was really amazing at the time. Then when I was in college my taste started to mature and I developed what now I can call a “lifelong” love for dark chocolate. Many European chocolates became available in Romania, so I was in chocolate heaven. For a while.
But then I moved to US, and realized that somehow the chocolate has remained kind of a mystery for Americans. Lindt became a staple because it’s easily available around here and it was the best chocolate I could find for a while. Not that I like it too much. Most of it is too sweet and the texture is often not exactly right. I think they had some truffles (I mean the real things, powdered with cocoa, at some point which were delicious, but I haven’t found them in years). I have a weakness for dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, but when it comes to chocolate bars, I really enjoyed the Godiva sea salt and the orange (a flavor that my husband discovered and liked first, because he’s more adventurous like that). Unfortunately, I just learned that the owners of Godiva chocolates are going around trying to stop other people from using the name, which originates in a legend from Coventry, England (such a controversial yet inspiring early feminist legend). So I can’t in good faith buy their products, can I?
A few weeks ago I decided to try all the dark chocolates in Trader Joe’s. None of them exceptional. The search is ongoing. Also, the search is becoming more specific: the best dark chocolate with cherries is what I’m looking for now. Such a grueling task! Isn’t life a toil?