Notes on chocolate: a kind thought and an old-time favourite | Chocolate

I am in Oxford for work, staying in university rooms so beautiful that I instantly feel calmed and looked after. Timetabling and a sick child hoover up my plan to mooch around Oxford discovering chocolate shops in any spare time. That morning I had the foresight to prebook a (very good) cheese and chutney sandwich from the Hamblin kiosk in the market and two types of bun – cinnamon and vanilla – for tomorrow’s breakfast (the latter better).

The people I meet through this column tend to divide into three types: those who only like 70% (more next week for you) and above; those who like family favourites, and those who like to try anything new. I think of the middle bunch as I come back after an exciting but exhausting day comprising 24,000 steps, models of brains and dozens of texts. The woman running the accommodation can tell I’ve had a challenging (but brilliant) day and puts a box of Quality Street on my bedside table with a note so kind it makes me emotional.

It’s a really long time since I have eaten QS, for all sorts of reasons. But as I decompress, I chomp my way through coloured wrappers and look out of the stone-mullioned windows. I watch the shadows change and Oxford morph from sandblasted brick to dark corners and people hurrying home on big, bustling buses. All the students look really happy and hopeful, and I wonder if any of them will change the world. But in among the academia and the learning I think what a kind and thoughtful gesture can do, especially if wrapped in chocolate.

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