Cambridge University is looking for a real-life Willy Wonka, a connoisseur of the cocoa bean. Or as the Uni puts it: someone to study a fully funded PHD in chocolate.
The university says the project will focus on finding ways in which chocolate can remain solid in warm climates. In other words, not only will the lucky candidate be dealing with chocolate, but its hotter, more relaxed sibling: melted chocolate. As someone addicted to the good stuff, dedicating your waking hours to it sounds like the dreamiest of all dream jobs. But it may well be a dream, as it sounds far too good to be true.
Thinking about what the job might entail, I imagine stuffing chocolate in my lab coat pockets, weekend trips to Bourneville, and Cadbury lunches, all in the name of research. But I also predict that all of this would wear off after a week. Soon enough, the unadulterated admiration I once had for chocolate would turn into a bitter and overindulged relationship. Its alluring, undulating curves and almost erotic aroma would no longer be the material of daydreams during a long afternoon in the office. You’d probably start to fantasise about carrots. What kind of a life is that?
As I write this, I’m eating chocolate. I told myself it would be ridiculous to write about it without eating it at the same time. I know the taste of chocolate, and I’m familiar with the dizzying heights it takes us to But I’m not the only one who uses any excuse to justify what isn’t good for me. A bad day, a good day, because you deserve it, because you’ve already eaten a tub of cream so it won’t do you any harm – anything that forces us to make ridiculous justifications and turns us into irrational beings is worth it if we get it in the end.
Chocolate has us by the balls. But who cares, because sometimes it comes with caramel or nuts and raisins inside, or in the shape of a rabbit. And, in the moment it touches our tongues, we forget who we are and what the world around us is.
Chocolate invites us to lose our minds, just a little bit. We laugh in the face of the "‘made for sharing" stickers that come on any chocolate that’s heavier than a leaf. We secretly stash it, slowly unwrap it, let it stain our lips, wonder about dog chocolate and if it tastes the same but with fewer calories.
The magic of chocolate, like anything else, isn't in its study. Seeing it as a consumer is to see it as the truly mysterious, magical creature it is. Occasionally we treat ourselves with it, but for the rest of the time we get on with our lives, because we know it doesn’t taste as good if we haven’t earned it.
Being professional and scientific around chocolate sounds about as out-of-context as giving George Osborne a snog. Being around it all day would inure you to its advances and force you to take it seriously. Cambridge’s PHD candidate requires many qualifications beyond a love for chocolate – but if they do also love it then I wish them luck. And if they’re reading this: I’ll happily find a happy home for anything you don't want. As the weeks pass, you might be surprised at how much this turns out to be.Reuse content