By Ciaran Lavelle
Do you remember Forrest Gump sitting there on his park bench sharing not only his box of chocolatey delights but also his southern philosophy about the randomness of life? As a 90s kid, I remember all too well and can remember quoting that film often, as I do now. I sit at my lab bench and look at my own chocolate box, a wooden Fry’s Caracas Chocolate box that would have originally contained chocolate cakes. It has sat on a shelf for over 100 years at the Southern Cross Expedition hut at Cape Adare and I can safely say, that with the randomness of the contents, you don’t know what you’re going to get next.
The cakes have long since been devoured and the box has entered into the next phase of its life as a receptacle of random artefacts. Inside we find everything from a bone handle and random pieces of pipes to pieces of torn leather. The box itself is decorated with printed text on the lid and the Fry’s Chocolate logo. A beautifully decorated yellow and red label on the side tells us that the box contains an exotic sounding ‘Fry’s Caracas Chocolate’.
The real treasure with this object is seen on the base of the lid. Here we find the remains of chocolate along with their wrappers. We can see that there was at least one layer of approximately 18 chocolate bars, each individually presented in a decorative wrapper. But unlike Forrest’s Box of chocolates, I am not going to take a bite and contemplate life.