I’d like to thank religion and modern societal constraints and perceptions for giving me such legitimate excuses to eat copious amounts of chocolate every couple of weeks.

First there was Christmas – a time when even the strictest of health and fitness regimes take a break and allow an extra helping of stuffing and one too many glasses of wine – I’ve heard that some gyms actually close for a day or two over the holidays- imagine that?!
Chocolate at Christmas comes part and parcel (excuse the pun) with pudding and turkey nowadays, no Irish household completely prepared for the feast-day of our Lord without the blue tin (or plastic box, of recent years) of Cadbury’s Roses nestled smugly under the tree amongst brightly coloured gifts that serve as the starter course for the day of indulgence.

Fast forward through the ‘dry January’ and empty New Years’ resolutions; swearing that you ‘don’t even want’ the leftover nibbles and chocolates from the festive season (I’m still steadily working my way through a selection box and a giant Toblerone), and we’re timely faced again with the prospect of a day full of love, this time in the form of fake plastic hearts which represent ‘affection’, as people show how much they mean to one another by giving the gifts of wine and chocolate – all filed and hidden away, as the Irish do best, in a sugar-coated ‘expression’ of love.
Yep, you heard me. I love you, so here’s some chocolate. Okay great!
No need to talk about feelings – I’ll just eat my chocolate and drink my wine until I’m sufficiently tipsy to ‘accidentally let slip’ that I do in actual fact have very strong feelings for you…or for chocolate. The lines get crossed so often at this stage that I can’t honestly tell the difference anymore.

In any case, whether you’re single, taken, or bound within an unspoken and uncertain agreement of affection versus hesitation to commit, chances are you’ll find yourself faced with some chocolate this weekend. And not necessarily as a gift from another, or a surprise purchase in your mother’s weekly shopping – I mean you literally may not be able to avoid being faced with it if you have any sort of tendency to go out in public during the day. Let’s face it- shops need something to work towards and market, so it may as well be your affections.

If it’s not a garish display of cupids and hearts and flowers, it’ll be a mass-produced and over-packed shelf display of purple and yellow boxes that have eagerly preceded their season already by encroaching upon the Valentine’s Day sales. You can almost see the hanging cherubs glaring as the ‘3 for 2’ offers on all medium chocolate eggs by the smug looking bunny rabbit is already proving more popular than the cheap tinfoil balloons he’s offering.
With the exciting treat that is Pancake Tuesday always surprising us at it’s proximity – It’s next week, guys! – and peaking Nutella sales worldwide, we’re left dawdling along for six weeks or so on a half-arsed health-kick, mildly aware of the frankly painful sounding ritual of ‘Lent’ that apparantly preceeds the chocolate-feasting gluttonous glory that is Easter.

Easter needs no introduction; suffice it to say that it is the one time of year my affection, need for, and irrational tendency to indulge in chocolate of all kinds; be it hot, cold, black, white, milk, mint or tiffin, is correctly and accurately catered for by retail outlets, TV ad campaigns and supermarkets alike – irrationally, in excess, and fabulously over-supplied.

Once Easter is over I begin to be thankful I was born in May…. #ChocolateCake

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