(Part of a series on international restaurants for the Asian Age, this is one of my favourite memories of Sophiya Haque who I worked with as producer and writer in Channel V. Much more beautiful in real life than on TV, she was crazy, talented, eccentric, moody, intense, lovely and full of dreams, both everyday and ordinary.
God speed you wonderful thing… Gone too soon.)
Thornton’s – all over the UK
Once upon a time in music television, late, into a shoot, an evil, ogre gave a short, chubby elf one million things to do. After a few hours, the elf gave everyone five and sat down feeling very sad. A very beautiful VJ Sophiya, loped over on her long legs to the very sad elf and said, ‘Open your mouth, short, chubby elf’. The elf, used to doing what she was told, opened wide – and Sophiya popped a small square piece of heaven in – ‘What is it?’ the elf asked, happy tears welling. ‘It’s Thornton’s whisky fudge, shortie! Brilliant no? Here, have the rest of the box.’ Three pieces left. But the gratitude I felt – uhh, the elf felt.
Thornton’s is not a restaurant – they’re chocolatiers with outlets all over the UK. In Scotland, the main town’s ‘big mall’ (a little village, our Scotland) had a wonderful Thornton’s nook where we would pay our weekly homage – chocolate sometimes, or fudge or an ice-cream ostensibly for little A – who once tripped, fell flat on her face but held her ice-cream upright, still good for eating.
They do all sorts of stuff – for young diabetics and old, for ‘seduction’, for presents and they have a wonderful selection of sweeties and treats for kids. Like the strawberry pig! Their fudge and toffee is supposed to be the best in the world – vanilla, chocolate and of course, the whiskey fudge – it turns for a second to gold crumbs in your mouth before the rich, complex, warm flavours coat your tastebuds.
If you’re heading that way, please check out thorntons.co.uk, locate a store and buy something for someone you’d like to make very, very happy. As for the elf, she decided that night that life was too short to work at a dumb job without access to fudge. She quit. And she got real fit.