I will eat anything. I am the absolute opposite of a picky eater; put whatever you want on my plate and I’ll chow down, leaving the plate spotless in the end. I don’t understand people who turn down food, I don’t understand people who aren’t actively looking forward to the next meal, and I don’t understand people who “forget to eat lunch.” And while it may seem like I was just raised with good manners (they’re alright, I guess) and a timely schedule (it doesn’t always feel like that), the desire to clean my plate and try everything new stems from a freaky passion for food. That passion extends to food experiences that include: eating fried herring while I was an exchange student in Finland, scraping limpets off rocks for dinner during a school camping trip, and snacking on raw onions from the age of 1.
I know, it’s a painful list to read. I’ve been told time and time again that my food experiences are weird, and I don’t blame anyone for holding that opinion. A snack like raw onions is certainly not for everyone, and frankly, sometimes I’m surprised I eat it. With all that being said, you’d think that I’d be extra keen on normal foods right? I definitely do love the standard plate of pasta or some eggs on toast. But there’s one thing, a very popular candy flavour combination, that drives me mad. I hate it. I hate it to the point of frothing at the mouth and getting into fights with people I normally love and respect. I hate every part of the orange and chocolate flavour mixture. I tolerate oranges, and I love chocolate, but I cannot support their combination.
I take issue with its mere premise; this flavour combination is the mixture of oranges, the soccer mom’s knee-jerk reaction to lollies, with chocolate, something widely known as a “sinful, guilty pleasure.” They are a prime example of two opposites that should not meet. When I’m indulging in chocolate it’s usually because I need something unhealthy and excessively decadent. I’m not trying to fool myself into believing that this candy spree stemmed from any other urge, and that’s okay. But that’s what gets me- who looks at chocolate, one of the few things in this world that is inherently good without any effort, and thinks to themselves, “This would be even better with the addition of a second-rate citrus fruit.”
I have a problem with the people who eat this combination. I don’t understand why they do it. Is it a subconscious form of self hatred, a strong inner belief that they don’t deserve to truly enjoy something so pure? There’s a thing called self love, and I advocate for it through the use of wine and hot baths. Is it an attempt to negate the unhealthiness of one by replacing it with the healthiness of another? They can achieve this through easier ways, like running a marathon or doing a juice cleanse. Is it their attempt at pretension, thinking that saying, “I just love the delicate mixture of flavours,” is going to make them feel better about themselves? Because it’s not; they just sound wanky.
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For some weird reason, I decided to actually do what I hate, and eat some popular chocolate brands that have dabbled in using oranges. I wanted to quantify exactly what I couldn’t stand; what I’m trying to say is that I’m suffering for science.
First up: Jaffas. Let me dismantle the love for something so intrinsically Kiwi and have people across the country simultaneously regret their childhoods. This was the option that was the hardest for me to find in New World Metro; the posh options were readily displayed throughout the store. Were they trying to warn me? Because when I opened the bag, I was filled with regret. The scent wafting out smelt acidic, not anywhere near orange or chocolate, and I felt a bit sick; Cadbury took “fake citrus” a bit too far. That acidity grew stronger as I ate, with me failing to distinctly detect the two flavours advertised on the bag and fearful that I would break one of my molars. After having four, I gave up and put the Jaffas aside; the point was made. I think people idealize these for the nostalgia factor.
For the second round, I thought I’d try something fancier. Whittaker’s is another truly Kiwi company, the go-to chocolate maker, and it had a classier take on the chocolate and orange combination. It recently released a new range, featuring a “Fijian ginger and Kerikeri mandarin” option. I guess this is nicer than just saying “ginger and orange” because the place names add a little excitement, but all in all, it’s your standard orange chocolate. It’s not anything special; it’s the exact disappoint you would expect but wrapped up in a classier look.
I cleansed my palette with Cool Ranch Doritos before moving onto Lindt’s version. Can the Swiss persuade me to like this? Short answer: no. Long answer: god no. It has a sour after taste, and I feel like that doesn’t do the actual taste of citrus any justice. It misses the point by assuming that citrus needs to be a harsh flavour to complement the richness of the chocolate, and I just won’t stand for that kind of presumption.
Frankly, there is no reason to consume orange chocolate. It’s not a unique or innovative blend of flavours; in fact, it’ll do you more harm than good (case in point: Jaffas). Orange chocolate is basically the eighth deadly sin, and is most likely the culprit behind World Wars 1 and 2 (though I’m not a history major). In conclusion, orange chocolate sucks and you can direct your hate mail to The Salient, PO Box 600, Wellington. I’ll fight each and every one of you.