Saturday soapbox

April 2, 2016

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Spiritual Chocoholics's photo.

Life happens, chocolate really helps . . . a lot, a lot.


Chocolate matters

February 4, 2015

The world is a sweet place when a story about chocolate downsizing makes the news:

Cadbury Confectionery is reducing the size of its family block as the chocolate maker battles higher manufacturing costs.

But while the block would be reduced by 10% to avoid a price rise, the company’s owner said its Dunedin factory was going from strength to strength.

”We didn’t take this decision lightly,” said Jack Evison, the New Zealand head of Mondelez, the company that owns Cadbury.

”More of our manufacturing costs are going up than down. Other chocolate companies are also under pressure. Two are in significant trouble in Australia.

”We chose to reduce the size of the block rather than up the price so we can keep chocolate as an affordable treat. The quality and taste will remain the same.” . . .

Chocolate is one of my vices, albeit one I’ve learned to indulge in moderation.

A friend recommended a square or two of chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa after dinner as a way to satisfy cravings and I’ve found it works.

But in the quest for quality rather than quantity I discovered Lindt from Switzerland so that habit won’t be affected by the downsizing.

However, I use Cadbury chocolate to make a chocolate hazelnut Christmas tree and a smaller block will mess with the proportions in the recipe.


Chocolate is medicine . . .

July 7, 2013

. . .  Well, it can be good for you:

A new Australian study has found dark chocolate may increase calmness and contentedness through the polyphenols found in cocoa.

Polyphenols are found naturally in plants and are a basic component of the human diet. These compounds have been shown to reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with many diseases, and may also have beneficial psychological effects.

Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement,” Matthew Pase, a PhD candidate at the University of Swineburne in Melbourne and lead author of the study, says. . .

“This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.” . . .

Sadly I don’t think this is the sort of medicine to which you can apply the rule that if some is good, more is better.


If it won’t melt in the heat . . .

November 28, 2012

Cadbury has invented chocolate which can withstand temperatures of up to 40degC .

It’s destined for sale in hot countries including India and Brazil.

As any chocoholic will tell you, chocolate isn’t designed to be bitten and swallowed but savoured for as long as possible which raises a question – if the new chocolate won’t melt in the heat will it still melt in the mouth?

Not a chocoholic?

January 1, 2012

Towards the end of the Rugby World Cup final when I wasn’t 100% confident the All Blacks would be the victors I pledged to give up chocolate for the rest of the year if they won.

They did and I did too.

It wasn’t as difficult as I’d anticipated, though  several times I had to forgo dessert when eating out because it contained chocolate and every now and then I got a craving which had to be resisted.

Yesterday in anticipation of the end of my self-imposed abstinence I bought some chocolate but it’s still in the cupboard untouched.

Can I take that as proof I’m not a chocoholic?


The chocolate diet

April 24, 2011

It sounds too good to be true – chocolate might help you lose weight:

Researchers John Ashton and Lily Stojanovska have written a book full of claims many of us have waited a lifetime for – chocolate may help you lose weight.

“What we’ve found is chocolate has some surprising properties,” says Mr Ashton. “These properties include the ability to switch on hormones that promote fat burn.”

In the chocolate diet, they say the natural fats found in chocolate burn fat, whereas processed foods tell the body to store fat.

Even if it’s true there’s little joy in it for chocoholics. It’s not an invitation to eat as much chocolate as you want to and the recommendation isn’t for any chocolate:

 Experts say you should look for chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cocoa and not consume more than 25g a day.

Twenty five grams, at least 70% cocoa – that’s not very much at all and as it doesn’t include marshmallow it excludes most Easter eggs.

Sigh, the headline was too good to be true.


Fairtrade chocolate passes taste test

April 8, 2010

Several years ago my daughter found what she thought was plastic in a Cadbury Easter Egg.

She wrote to the company explaining what she’d found, enclosed the remains of the egg and the wrapper and within days got a response acknowledging her letter.

A couple of weeks later she got a second letter saying it wasn’t plastic but undissolved sugar and a full explanation of how it would have happened. They also sent her a selection of chocolate.

A couple of months later a second package arrived with more chocolate and a letter thanking her for having taken the trouble to write to them.

The company is still very good at customer response.

Last year I did a post complaining about palm oil in chocolate. Mine was one of many complaints which Cadbury responded to by returning to the original recipe, they also sent me a block of palm oil-free dairy milk.

They’ve now followed that up with a block of dairy milk to coincide with the launch of their Fairtrade Certified chocolate.

There are arguments for and against Fairtrade which I’m not qualified to comment on. But as a committed chocophile I can confirm that Fairtrade dairy milk passes the taste test with flying colours.


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