I like the flavour of mint. I like the flavour of chocolate. I like the flavour of mint after I’ve finished eating chocolate. What I do not like is the flavour of mint while I’m eating chocolate, MOB. It is violent, it is unnecessary, and it is an experience that always leaves me with a – quite literal – bad taste in my mouth. Mint chocolate is horrid and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a dirty, dirty liar or suffering from post-COVID parosmia.
Because it’s not like both of those flavours aren’t delicious in and of themselves. Mint is a refreshing and vibrant herb that can stand strong on its own in a mug of hot water and even be used to add a much-needed lift to plates of fatty roast lamb or fiery laab. Chocolate is, similarly, a foodstuff that contains multitudes. Yes, chocolate often tastes sweet and creamy but it can also taste bitter, savoury, and complex. It’s an essential ingredient in Mexican mole and the secret ingredient to my very own chilli con carne. What chocolate should not taste like is a menthol cigarette being chuffed round the back of the bike sheds or a too-quick intake of cold air on a winter’s day. Chocolate and mint, like that toxic couple you know who got together at uni but are for some reason still cohabiting and ruining each other’s lives, should simply never have met.
I know that confections like Aero Peppermint Bubbles and Cool Mint Matchmakers are incredibly popular with the general public, and that mint chocolate chip has even somehow managed to sneak itself into the ice cream flavour canon, but I also know that the general public is very, very wrong about a lot of things. Just take Brexit, for example. The general public was very, very wrong about that and, like the concept of leaving the EU, I simply cannot understand the appeal of mint chocolate in any of its varied forms.
I’d go as far as to say that the only good thing about After Eights (that once-recherché, now-tacky chocolate treat) is the opportunity they afford you to make a terrible joke about the time while you’re eating them. Because, aside from that, they’re about as much of a laugh as a Kit Kat that’s been dipped in Listerine.
I’m not a complete hater of the concept of “mint + chocolate”, either. It’s simply that it never sticks the landing.
If you were to take away the chocolate element of an After Eight I genuinely think that what you’d actually be left with is quite a nice and refreshing post-meal palate cleanser; if you took away the mint element you’d have a halfway decent little square of dark chocolate. It’s only when those two flavours are combined that you get the muddled mishmash that’s sold in mind-boggling droves. Yes, it’s the popularity of the stuff that continues to blow my mind. One of the greatest snack conundrums of all-time is how mint chocolate has managed to make its nefarious presence felt in the frozen food aisle among the objectively lovely likes of chunky monkey and cookie dough. How have we all been hoodwinked into believing that chocolate and Colgate is an affable combination?
Well, according to Wikipedia (my source for all vital cocoa-related information), mint chocolate chip ice cream was invented in 1973 by a student at the Torquay Catering College named Marilyn Ricketts. So let’s blame her, shall we? The flavour was actually Marilyn’s inventive entry into an ice cream competition that was seeking to find the perfect dessert for the wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Yes, really: the ‘70s were a wild time. I can only hope that Ricketts was a staunch anti-royalist and that her entry was intended as some sort of practical joke and protest against the monarchy. Which it probably wasn’t.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a vanilla ice cream apologist – and a bit of a plain jane in the frozen treats department – but it’s not just the rogue taste of mint chocolate that I’ve got a problem with. Oh, no, no. If you hadn’t realised this by now, I am an incredibly petty man and another bone I have to pick with mint chocolate is that it always looks… wrong. There’s no need for any foodstuff to be such an unnaturally luminescent shade of green and there’s no way you can convince me that eating an ice cream the colour of a glowstick is going to do my internal organs any good. If you want a more naturally-coloured (and delicious) bright green dessert just opt for something with pandan in it instead. And don’t forget to thank me afterwards. Because pandan is delicious. And mint chocolate is gross.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to yuck anyone’s yum here. We all love different things (and people) and that’s one of the best things about life. I guess all I’m trying to say is that if you do genuinely, really, completely, and utterly enjoy the flavour of mint chocolate more than regular chocolate, then your palate is absolutely clapped. Sorry.
If you’re really set on eating mint chocolate then put some toothpaste on a Cadbury’s and call it a day. Just don’t try and convince me that it tastes even remotely good.