Yr. Humble Chronicler is no stranger to bizarro treats. In fact, I tend to view weird food as kind of a challenge. So when I came across this chocolate bar…
I must admit that my curiosity was piqued. A chocolate bar containing bacon sounds like the kind of idea you only come up with when stoned. In theory, a great idea – chocolate = good, bacon = good, ergo chocolate + bacon = very good. In practice, this sort of equation does not necessarily work out, as I discovered for myself when trying to combine puppies with jet engines.The question is, would this be a successful combo of good things that brings great joy (like Star Wars Lego) or a terrible idea that induces vomiting (like Alien vs Predator)? At the risk of encroaching on The Hungry Sparrow’s territory, I felt it was my duty to investigate.
First, though, a little bit of background. According to sources, bacon was invented in 1610 by Sir Francis Bacon, pictured right . It’s a delicious and flavoursome cured meat – one of Yr. Humble Chronicler’s vegetarian friends has said it’s the only animal product that has ever made her tempted to abandon her principles. It’s spawned an entire cultural movement, Bacon Mania, devoted to the dead pig derivative in all its forms. We’ve seen the arrival of the Bacon Explosion, bacon vodka and even the bacon alarm clock among many other exciting if cardiologically inadvisable innovations. Yr. Humble Chronicler has watched with interest, partly due to the diet – when you’re calorie-counting, articles about bacon are the equivalent of hardcore pornography.
Bacon’s position in our collective culture is nothing new – after all, it’s a central part of both the Full English and Full Irish breakfasts. And what’s more satisfying on a cold early morning than a hot bacon roll (I’ll have mine with HP Sauce and a hot coffee, please). I didn’t add a question mark there, because it’s a purely rhetorical question – nothing is more satisfying.
The bacon mania concept appears to have come about in the 1990s. One popular theory has it that it’s due to the rise of the Atkins diet, a terrible idea that excludes carbohydrates but allows high-protein, fatty foods (though regular readers of this blog will recall that this idea is nothing new). Personally, I favour the idea that it has arisen for the opposite reason – as a rebellion against healthy food. Just as the rise of French haute cuisine led to the creation of the bluff, basic and patriotic Sublime Society of Beefsteaks in 18th century Britain, and just as the strait-laced chastity of Victorian England led to some truly perverted underground movements (no, you can’t have a link to those), so people’s dislike of puritanical diet movements has created a demand for gluttony on an obscene level. This, one presumes, is at least in part the origin of such concepts as the doughnut burger and the giant Jammie Dodger.
Of course, examples like the above are extreme – you have to really want to stick it to the diet faddists to go to that kind of effort. Ben Goldacre achieves much the same thing by dissing Gillian McKeith in his blog on a regular basis, which I include purely because it’s funny. Bacon, on the other hand, requires little effort. Throw it under the grill, heat it to taste, put between two slices of bread, lovely. No embellishments needed, it’s delicious enough on its own. Dieticians will shake their heads sadly at you, but really screw them because you’re eating bacon and you can’t be bothered now.
So, back to my point. The whole bacon mania thing appears to be largely a North American phenomenon, at least when it comes to some of the crazier concepts arising thereof. So when I was strolling through Teddington the other day on the way to rehearsals for the play I’m in, I was intrigued by the sight of the aforementioned chocolate bar in a shop window. I strolled in, paid really quite a lot of money and walked out with a bacon-containing chocolate bar.
So how was it? Well, not as bad as you might think. The chocolate was absolutely gorgeous – really rich, and sweet enough to take the edge of the bitterness but not enough to overwhelm it. But as for the addition of the bacon? Well, I’d give it a resounding “meh.” There isn’t really enough bacon in it to make a difference – in fact, the chocolate is so rich that you can barely even tell that it’s bacon in there. At best, at its most concentrated, the bacon adds a slight saltiness to the bar. So, my conclusion basically would be that “it’s alright, but it would be better without bacon in it.” And this is why I’m not a food critic.