Choco

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I’ll never forget the first time I tried chocolate milk. It was New Years Eve 2001 and I was at a festival in the rainforest on Australia’s southern coast. I was on the tail end of a pretty serious bout of food poisoning that had seen the previous two days (one of which was my 19th birthday) either shivering in my tent or chained to one of the festival portaloos, and chocolate milk was the first thing I had ingested that hadn’t come straight out again in some shape or form.

Over the next weeks and months my friend Pete and I (who shared a similar love) became connoisseurs, tasting and grading every variety we encountered as we travelled from Melbourne to Perth in an ultimately fruitless search of work. For us, nothing else equalled the sensation of having just consumed a pint of cold, chocolatey liquid in less than ten seconds, and we started to really push the envelope, at one point drinking four or five a day.

I’ll never forget the first time I tried chocolate milk. It was New Years Eve 2001 and I was at a festival in the rainforest on Australia’s southern coast. I was on the tail end of a pretty serious bout of food poisoning that had seen the previous two days (one of which was my 19th birthday) either shivering in my tent or chained to one of the festival portaloos, and chocolate milk was the first thing I had ingested that hadn’t come straight out again in some shape or form.

Over the next weeks and months my friend Pete and I (who shared a similar love) became connoisseurs, tasting and grading every variety we encountered as we travelled from Melbourne to Perth in an ultimately fruitless search of work. For us, nothing else equalled the sensation of having just consumed a pint of cold, chocolatey liquid in less than ten seconds, and we started to really push the envelope, at one point drinking four or five a day.

When I returned to Ireland I searched for something of a similar calibre but always in vain. For a long time the only options were either small cartons of Mars or Nesquick “chocolate flavoured” drinks or a big chunky bottle of Yazoo chocolate milkshake, all with obscenely long shelf lives and nothing approaching the boxy aesthetics and cleansing freshness of the Australian varieties. Later, Iceland and Morrissons started to produce their own versions, albeit with tighter use-by dates, but for me these always tasted somewhat synthetic, and packaged in a plastic bottle, just plain wrong. My chocolate milk career had been cut short in its prime.

When I arrived in Korea, however, everything changed. Remarkably, for a country where dairy doesn’t do so well (non-processed cheese is a precious commodity and natural yogurt non-existent) they’ve somehow managed to hit chocolate milk bang square on the head. As in Australia there are numerous varieties, each with their subtleties of taste and individual characters, but after somewhat extensive testing I have settled on a favourite.

At 305ml Cocoa is the largest volume-wise out of those I’ve tried, but this bad boy has got more than just quantity going for it. Silky smooth and ice cold, Cocoa manages to avoid the sweet excesses of its contempories, while still delivering a cool, throat-coating hit. Moreish by nature, it is impossible to drink one of these slowly, and I usually dispense with mine in no more than a few gulps.

The last time I was in London a psychic told me, unsolicited, that I needed to live in a warm climate to be happy. I believed this for a while, now I just think I need access to a good chocolate milk.



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