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The Japanese custom for Valentine’s day goes as follows: every female interested in participating buys a crate of chocolate, then gives a sub-box to every male she knows. (It isn’t wholly sexist; guys do give gifts back a month later–but only to the women who gave them chocolate first.) As such, I’ve received a few boxes. This comes into play in a minute.

I occasionally buy snacks. When I do, I tend to the spicy ones. Japanese food, as a rule, doesn’t embrace ‘savory’ as a flavor concept, and even when it does, there’s an accent to it that (while good) is just different from what I am used to eating. Curry doesn’t taste like chili, even though all the obvious ingredients are identical. Thus, snacks generally fall into three broad categories: sweets, things that are savory the Japanese way, and habanero chips. Today, desiring a taste of home, I opted for the last of those.

As it happened, I was still in a snacking mood after polishing off the chips, so I opened up a box of chocolates. With the first chocolate came an insight: the residual heat from the habaneros combined with the taste of the chocolate in a way that was interesting, and not unpleasant. It led me to idly think that this might be a profitable line of experimentation in the future; chocolate is a complex flavor, which doesn’t absolutely have to be tied to sweets.

Then, entirely by accident, I discover that these guys have beaten me to the punch in a way far more stylish than what I was thinking of.

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