In a world consumed — almost by the second now — with constant embattlement, I was surprised to learn another divisive affair involves a green herb and a processed brown bean. Mint chocolate chip.
(There are many iterations of the novelty pair, but for my purposes, I am speaking of the ice cream variety)
According to fierce critics, the marriage of mint and chocolate is godless heathenry. Dramatic, perhaps, but chase your passions I suppose- er dispassions? Okay this metaphor is quickly falling apart. Regardless, I can grasp why some don’t like mint chocolate chip. They just don’t like mint.
The taste of mint can be jarring. That is entirely understandable. It tastes like a frigid gust of wind on your tongue. And, if your only interaction with the flavor is while brushing your teeth then gargling mouthwash, I don’t blame you for finding mint inedible.
I, however, find the flavor profile fun and whimsical.
As I’ve gotten older, my yearn for diabetically sweet treats has leveled off. When I do find myself seeking dessert, it’s usually something that won’t sit heavy and tastes relatively clean. Mint checks both boxes and adds the benefit of a palette cleanser. That’s a pro for me when indulging in a quick guilty pleasure or topping off a dinner while your stomach is ripping seams.
I will attest that mint in of itself doesn’t necessarily do it for me — although the added benefit of chocolate allows the duo to really soar. Chocolate makes the combination a true dessert in my eyes, as opposed to a hygienic.
The taste of mint is crisp and airy. It can feel sharp, but in tandem with chocolate, the cocoa offsets that stinging bite and washes over the herb with a mellow finish.
Both are so different, it’s incredulous how they play so well off one another. Their relationship is akin to a couple with wildly different personalities. One is louder, boisterous, in-charge, while the other is quieter, easygoing, nonchalant. Friends would say they’re an unlikely match but the two are perfect together — never been happier.
Balance is key — and balance is what allows mint chocolate chip to work; what allows it to be refreshing yet satisfying. The dance of bitter, cool, sharp, mellow, sweet. Chocolate is the earthy tether to mint’s airy winter.
If I haven’t sold the merit of mint chip, the dessert also carries legitimate utility. I noted previously that mint by itself perhaps rings of hygiene-use-only, but with the addition of chocolate, I believe that assertion transforms into a nifty perk.
Say you’re on a date and your mouth wreaks of garlic and sin. Mint chip offers a sweet reprieve from your otherwise offensive breath alongside the tasty benefits of dessert. Now your breath can atone for dinner while your taste buds tingle from cool mint and flakes of chocolate.
On its face, mint chocolate chip just doesn’t seem like a seamless pairing. But under further review, I believe it’s the best kind of controlled chaos in world where we only have the latter.