Firstly, I didn’t choose chocolate. Chocolate chose me somewhere along the way. I had found a small job in a chocolate shop while I was studying, and all I really did was sell it at that time. Little by little, problems with the staff began to happen, and eventually my boss said: “well I guess you should start helping us in the workshop.” At first I thought it was that the greatest job ever! But the more I started to work with chocolate, the more I began to understand what it was really about. In fact, I began to see a sort of philosophy take shape from working with it.
I think I began to understand it when I was 23. My attraction to chocolate came from pleasure and enjoyment I got from it. Its visual pleasure, the pleasure of working it, and of supplying people with a product that is well… amazing! It’s hard to express, it simply created a lot of joy in my life, which has been a huge theme in my life.
I am aware that for most people, food is a question of survival. But it is so much more powerful than that. In my experience, it’s a way of communicating. I would say that food is a celebration of the everyday, that’s a given. But I think that chocolate is also a form of celebration, but one that is more intimate. Which is what has made it so special to me.
For a lot of people chocolate is a ritual, and for others it’s a need, but somewhere it holds a special relationship that other foods do not have. It is something that is luxurious, but that’s because chocolate is a combination of pleasurable experiences. And from a mental health standpoint, that is very important. To be able to give pleasure to others, or even to yourself, is very important for our sanity. And to be able to do that through a small chocolate is amazing!
So that’s really what chocolate is to me - Pleasure.
I’ve had people tell me I’ve saved their marriage I don’t know how many times! So even when there are fights or issues, chocolate has found a way to revive joy and happiness in our lives. It’s a tool for negotiations or reconciliation, because it represents a gesture or a language of a sentiment or feeling of celebration and positivity. So chocolate is good for everything really!
Because food, especially chocolate, goes beyond our physiological needs, I believe that it is very important to understand the many roles it plays in our lives. There are so many different aspects to food, that it’s hard to pin point and explain exactly what it means to me, but yet I understand it. Beyond our need for food to survive, there are a lot of people where food is a tradition, obsession, or even an addiction, and that’s why we cannot absolutely ignore that food is something that is vital to identifying who we are. For me, chocolate has played that role in my life. It has helped shape who I am. I pity those who only see food as an accessory to their lives and not as something that has helped shape the basis of who their are.
Patricia Cohrs - Owner/Chocolatière of the Belgian Chocolate Shop