It is a true classic. Synonymous with family life and formative childhood experiences, Mum’s Chocolate Mousse is forever entwined with vivid, animated images of crowded dinner tables and smacking lips. It surpasses the Chris Garner Chocolate Traybake, and even the Slightly Sticking Yorkshire Pudding on the Kirk Family Classics scale.
Its fame is widespread, reaching as far as any extended family member or family friend has deigned to hold a celebration or gathering over the past decade or so for which we were required to bring dessert. The notoriety and infamy of such a pudding exceeds any that has come before it. It really is that good.
A firm favourite with the menfolk of the Kirk clan, who lap it up as though they have been working the Cumbrian fields since sunrise and have been hard at manual labour which coarsens the skin and puts muscles on their backs, the ritualistic trundling out of the whipped up indulgence never fails to make the revellers eyes light up. Eyes that are often bigger than their bellies. Bellies that have invariably already been stretched with fine food and good wine. The family resemblance between Dad and Uncle D is never more apparent than when presented with the fancy ‘special occasion’ glass bowl of Chocolate Mousse.
Everybody has their own tried and tested way of embarking on its lusciousness and tackling the richness that could take out a rhinoceros with one spoonful. I favour the method of using a small spoon and accompanying the bowlful with a large glass of water that is sipped between mouthfuls, and gulped in the aftermath. Dad drowns his in double cream (‘I’ll have some mousse with my cream, please’) to ‘cut’ through the rich chocolate. N eats his at a (literal) fair lick, asks for seconds - still heady from the first instalment of sugar and cocoa – then promptly keels over from overload, unrepentant in his greed. Mum savours, but consumes at a reasonable pace, smug in the fact she is established in her running program. J takes it slow and steady and, to my extreme surprise, cannot finish it. It is his all time fave after all, requested for his birthday. I’m shocked until I learn he finished off the luxury chocolate cake with butter cream and decorative chocolate shavings earlier. One chocolate hit too far. Deadly.
Thank goodness it was requested however, as it meant I could sample its magical qualities one last time before leaving home. And I had the extreme privilege of making it on this occasion. With the proper type of chocolate that is purchased especially to be used for the Chocolate Mousse no less. The type of chocolate we feared had disappeared forever but was actually bought by Nestle. We shall have to withhold political ethics in this instance, for the greater good of the perfect dessert. Even though, once having been refrigerated, a hammer and chisel is required to break into the dark, velvety yumminess that holds all the answers to childhood. Oooh, mystical... Never underestimate the powers of pudding.