I don't hardly eat sugar, and I practically never eat dessert, but last night, Ben Hammersley took me to Hemingway's, a chocolate joint in Florence, Italy. I have never, ever tasted anything remotely as good as the things I tasted last night. I ate so much chocolate that I sweated it all night. It was completely worth it. Examine this picture of me closely: that expression on my face is chocolate ecstasy.
There were many delicious things on offer at Hemingway's, but two were so good as to be life-changing. The first was a flourless, eggless dark chocolate torte, which had the consistency of the inside of a truffle and was served slightly chilled. Every mouthful of this made me feel like something important in my mouth was bursting. There were medieval princes who spent lifetimes searching for experiences that did this sort of thing to your sensory apparatus. Whatever they found was nothing so good as this.
But the very best was their Mexican-style drinking chocolate, called the Montezuma, a viscous drink made with very bitter chocolate, seasoned with chillies, aged Cuban rum (I don't drink, either, but I had two of these), and cinnamon and nutmeg. The longer I held sips of Montezuma in my mouth, the more flavors and subtleties I discovered. The chillies suffused my sinuses and the rum made my whole abdomen glow gently, like banked coals. This was, without a doubt, the best thing I ever tasted, and possibly the best sensation I've ever experienced. I've seen people in religious ecstasy. That's what this felt like.
Afterwards, I fell asleep for half an hour on the sofa in Hemingway's, collapsed on one of my dining companions. My brain was overwhelmed with the tastes, and it had to shut my body off so that it could process the input. I have a feeling that from now on, whenever a little money finds its way into my pocket, the temptation to blow it on a plane ticket to Florence (cheap from London, as these things go) and have a cup of Hemingway's Montezuma is going to be nigh-irresistible. I no longer feel the need to blow my cash on computers or gadgets — just hook an IV of this thing straight into my arm and leave me to die by chocolate.