A week or so ago, I was listening to The Food Programme from radio 4 (on a podcast- you can get it here) and it was all about chocolate. It was very interesting; discussing why chocolate was getting more pricey, and looking at the growing number of artisan chocolate producers. I would recommend it, and it does make you think about where the cocoa comes from, the conditions and payment for the farmers, and so on.
I also watched a programme on BBC about supermarket foods. I could go into the pros and cons of this show (maybe later)- it was interesting but I am not sure I would trust the “science”. For example, they wanted to prove that cows milk was the best recovery drink for athletes. They used a rugby team, analysed their blood etc, but they tested milk against a sports drink, which looked to me to be lucozade (not meant as a recovery drink but as an energy boost before and during sports)- anyway containing only carbohydrates versus the protein and carbohydrates present in milk. Of course milk fared better. But anyway, I digress. One of the features was about whether chocolate was addictive or not. They found that when they scanned people’s brains, the same part of the brain was activated whether you looked at pictures, or actually tasted the chocolate. The concluded it is down to marketing that makes us think we are addictive. So anyway, next time you get a chocolate craving just look at some pictures instead.
And here are some pictures for you. I am quite a fan of Seed and Bean chocolate (I am a fan of all chocolate, to be fair)- they have some lovely unusual flavours in my local Holland and Barrett. Anyway they kindly sent me some flavours for a review.
Fine Dark chocolate, White chocolate with Lemon and Poppy Seeds, and Dark with Espresso coffee.
This went well with the Dark chocolate with Mandarin and Ginger, and the Milk chocolate with Tangerine that I had picked up previously. I told you I loved chocolate.
All the chocolate was lovely. The dark chocolate is rich, but still quite sweet (not too bitter like some extra dark ones can be).
I quite liked the espresso one, even though I am not a fan of coffee generally. It had a hint of coffee which almost made it more chocolatey. It was sort of crunchy with the espresso in there too, which gave it a different texture. Andy loved it, as he is a coffee lover anyway.
Of course, chocolate goes perfectly well with tea!
The lemon and poppy seed one was a brilliant surprise- I was not sure how lemon would go, but it tasted like lemon cheesecake. I loved it!
I have since picked up another unusual flavour (extra dark with lavender) and some more of the milk chocolate tangerine, because I love it.
What I love, as well as the unusual range of flavours (I have seen dark chocolate with coconut and raspberry, and dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds and hemp oil on their website) and that their chocolate is made in the UK, is how ethical the company are.
On their homepage they scored 100% for the UK’s ethical comparison shopping guide in 2011 (the only chocolate producer to score that high). You can look here for the little table of results.
All their chocolates are vegetarian, and a lot are vegan too, so something for everyone. I love the range of flavours- something for everyone yet again.
Both listening to The Food Programme, and looking on the Seed and Bean website has made me think more about my choices when I buy chocolate. When I was a teenager I was in love with Cadbury’s, but now I cannot remember the last time I bought or even ate some of their chocolate. Now I tend to buy brands that I think are more ethical- Montezuma’s, Hotel Chocolat (in the sale!), Green and Blacks, but I do also buy cheaper chocolate for when I bake, because it seems a waste to use really nice chocolate in cookies or something. I did notice that Aldi have Fairtrade chocolate, so perhaps I will have to switch to that for my baking. Something to consider anyway.
Do you think about where your chocolate comes from? What is your favourite flavour combination for a chocolate bar? What bar would you invent if you could?