After a long winter which seemed never to end, I, Jack Merry, am quite overjoyed to say that the winter in this North Atlantic city has begun its slow retreat. Even the massively built white-bearded gent, sitting in the Pub late one evening sipping on a particularly fine drink he was enjoying and chuckling to himself while he read the Hill House edition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, said he was tired of winter and his ancient bones were looking forward to spring. He added that indeed his drink was fine for taking the chill from those bones, but the warm sun of spring was better at making one as old as he feel just a bit younger. Reynard, in sympathy, poured him 'nother hot spiced braggot on the house.

The kitchen staff here at Green Man decided to honor the coming of Spring with a chocolate fling. (Don't ask why there's more than a bit of rum in the triple chocolate cheese cake. Just find a place to nod off comfortably after you consume a slice. I recommend the overstuffed chairs by the fireplace in the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room in the GMR Library as it's generally quiet there.) Their invited guest was Emma Bull who has, having recovered from eating way too much chocolate, a few words to say about this delicacy. She starts off by praising her favourite chocolate that our cooks had on hand: The Green & Black's 71% dark chocolate was five-star; intense and smooth at the same time, a bitter wake-up edge at first bite that mellows instantly somewhere around the middle of the tongue. Who says sustainable chocolate doesn't cut it? Chocolate is designed to be grown sustainably, like coffee.'

She goes on to ruminate about chocolate and the way things should be: 'Cows are supposed to eat grass, and chickens are supposed to run around in a big space eating bugs and seeds and stuff. How did we get so weird about the way we produce our food? Actually, I know how we got so weird. But what we ought to do is to start eating things like meat and chocolate and coffee in much smaller quantities while seeking out better quality, and learning to relish every nibble. In other words, treat them like the luxuries they are. Chocolate is not meant to be eaten by the handful in the form of M&Ms. Mind the way a thing grows: it will tell you how to use it.' She suggests that a dry red is the ideal wine to accompany the chocolate course, if it's dark chocolate, and finished off her comments by mentioning another food which goes well with chocolate: 'Oh, yes -- peanut butter and chocolate combined is one of humanity's shining inventions.'

All of us here at Green Man wish Emma and her husband, Will Shetterly, best wishes as they move to Tucson. The plan is to lie low there for a few months to finish their incredibly overdue novels. Emma's working on Territory, and Will's working on his sequel to Dogland, The Secret Academy.