There are so many ways to enjoy chocolate.
You can take it straight: put a block of it into your mouth and let it dissolve slowly on your tongue, assisted or not with a bit of chewing. You can melt it between your fingers and lick it off slowly. You can make a delicious hot chocolate drink with it, use it to coat a cake or fresh fruit, fill it with tequila, salt and lime and make a shooter out of it, and even have a cocoa butter spa treatment.
And now, apparently, you can even snort it. Yes, really.
During our visit to The Pavilions pool villa and spa resort in Phuket for the launch of their Passions programme, master chocolatier Laurent Bernard treated us all to a chocolate-themed dinner on the first evening. At the pre-dinner drinks (which is where the chocolate tequila shooters above made their appearance!) he produced the weird-looking gadget pictured here.
It was designed by Bruges-based “shock-o-latier” Dominque Persoone and his scientist pal Bernard Lahousse, when they were asked to come up with something funny and different for Rolling Stones Charlie Watts and Ron Wood’s joint birthday party. For some reason, the idea of snorting cocoa powder suggested itself. Can’t think why.
Anyway, Laurent explained to us that the nose is an integral part of the sense of taste as well as the sense of smell. So by inhaling cocoa powder – with an added hint of raspberry or of ginger and mint to enhance the experience – you should be able to taste chocolate as well as smell it.
How does it work? You spoon a small amount of cocoa powder onto the two tiny pans. You bend over the contraption so that your nostrils are just a few centimetres above the pans. Then, on the count of three, you inhale deeply and someone else fires the trigger, catapulting the cocoa into the air you’re breathing in.
I gave it a go. It was weird – I nearly had a coughing fit, and it made me feel a bit giddy, but I certainly got the taste of chocolate and raspberry very strongly for a couple of minutes.
You can find out how to buy the Chocolate Shooter here (€45 plus delivery):
(This isn’t an affiliate link – in fact, there’s no shopping cart at the time of writing. You have to send your name and address using the form on the site and transfer the money to their bank account.)