Monday, July 26, 2010

made in India

Last week my good friend Elke asked me if after 2 months in India I wasn't getting sick of it yet. Truthfully? No. Soon enough I'll be back in South Africa among everything familiar but for now I'm soaking up everything that's strange and new. The one thing I do miss, is chocolate. I never expected Indian chocolate to be great (leave it to the Swiss and the Belgians, I say) but here the chocolate, even the Cadbury's, tastes like butter. Cheap butter.

I understand why India doesn't care much for chocolate, Indian sweets (Bengal sweets) are mind-alteringly delicious and made from insanely sweet condensed milk and nuts (pistachio, almond, cashew) and flavored with spices like cardamom, ginger and saffron and there are hundreds of different kinds.

But to get back to the chocolate, I was standing in a shop in Shimla waiting to pay for a bottle of water and was considering buying a Cadbury's but knowing I would only be disappointed I put it down and shook my head in dismay. An older Indian man was standing behind me and asked why I wasn't buying it. 'Because it tastes like butter' I said. He agreed and asked me whether I knew why it tasted like that, even the Cadbury's. Totally expecting him to say 'because it's made in India', I said 'because it's made in India?' but that was not what he was planning to say and I could see he felt insulted by what I had said. I apologized but he refused to speak to me any further, not even to tell me why the chocolate in India tastes like butter.

Later in my journey I did discover why Indian chocolate tastes like butter but don’t want to share it here. It’s pretty disgusting.

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