However over the years, I have found one ingredient which seems to pop up everywhere.
I was first attracted to the wonders of Marzipan. As a young child, I was mesmerised by the often beautiful forms which marzipan can take. When I stopped eating chocolate, I found that marzipan is a wonderful substitute for that sweet taste.
I was thinking of finding some of the beautiful fruits or miniature animals I have eaten in marzipan form over the years. But no, a Google image search throws up several search results for marzipan babies instead. How creepy would it be taking a chunk out of these ones?
Anyway, moving swiftly onwards, PLEASE...
I soon discovered that almond croissants are indeed my favourite croissants. I also realised that it is the crushed almonds which lend the distinctive taste to marzipan, which can also be found in the almond paste you get in the centre of a nice almond croissant.
The next discovery I made was a little more surprising.
The first time I tasted an apple pip, I immediately shrieked 'it tastes of marzipan!'. Unfortunately, the people around me at the time had never troubled to eat the whole of an apple before, so just thought I was crazy. I simply accepted that apple pips are a great way of experiencing the almondalicious taste without all those calories as well. It was only later, when I was speaking to someone else who commented that apple pips taste like marzipan, that my interest was really aroused. I found out that apple pips actually contain the poison cyanide in them, albeit in tiny harmless quantities. And later, I was reading a Roald Dahl short story in which a character is poisoned; one of his final observations is that 'the tea tasted faintly of bitter almonds'. Turns out... cyanide smells (and tastes) like almonds. I slowly began to make the links: apple pips taste like marzipan, apple pips contain cyanide, marzipan is made of almonds, cyanide tastes like almonds...
And today, I found that amaretti tastes like marzipan too. Surprise, surprise, it's made of almonds. So now, please tell me, why on earth do almonds themselves taste completely different???