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?
15 thoughts on “Chocolate”
I’m a big fan of chocolate too and I’ve had my eye on those so good to hear that they are nice! I do like to get good quality chocolate and of course I love my raw chocolate so I know a bit more about how chocolate is made I guess, oh and I love just nibbling on raw cacao nibs which is bitter as chocolate can get and I still like it so I must really be a chocolate lover 🙂
Yup, I think you qualify! Yes raw chocolate is good too- esp RAWR or conscious chocolate.
I adore the sound of lemon and poppyseed chocolate. It’s actually my favourite muffin flavour (you’d think it would be double chocolate chocolatey chip, no?) But anything coffee/chocolate would be lovely too.
Cheap chocolate such as Cadbury’s is pure evil – I can literally eat six bars of the stuff and not even know about it. The good quality stuff I do overeat on, but it doesn’t tend to trigger a full on binge because it just seems ‘wrong’ to eat such nice and expensive food in that way…I do have a love/hate relationship with chocolate but the darker it is, the more that relationship errs towards ‘love’.
I think chocolate and coconut, or chocolate covered dates, are my favourite combinations overall.
I have never tried a lemon and poppyseed muffin, but it sounds rather nice, especially after how nice the chocolate was. Chocolate with nuts or coconuts is a lovely combo.
And I agree about the Cadburys- I think it is the sugar that makes you just go back for more, and it doesn’t have enough cocoa for the proper chocolate hit.
I have quite a big collection of montezumas chocolate ! I cat get enough of it haha my gave one at the moment is between Lordy lord and bean machine. But I don’t think you can go wrong with cadburys :D.
I LOVE lordy lord! I got some Bean Machine for Andy as he likes coffee, but he hasn’t opened it yet- he must have more willpower!
You’re killing me with this post, as I gave up chocolate (and sweets) for Lent. 🙂 But it’s a great one– I do try to buy fairly-traded chocolate, although I often get choc chips that are not. I prefer chocolate plain and dark, but do like the mint or nut combos.
Ah, but just looking at the pictures will give you the same brain reaction, so it might help?? 🙂
I’m a big fan of all things chocolate! Thanks for the great review..im about to check out their website! 🙂
I was looking at those bars the other day as I have bee every other time I have been in H&B. I’m a huge dark choc fan, but will only buy the good stuff.
I buy fair trade chocolate sometimes, but I find that often it’s not as good quality. I hadn’t given so much thought to where the cocoa comes from, other than what it does to the way chocolate tastes, not more than what I do when it comes to coffee. So thanks for the reminder. Although I don’t eat chocolate that often any more. It IS terribly addictive! 🙂
Hmm, I’m not sure about that scientific evidence, I think I am a chocolate addict!
That lemon/poppyseed white chocolate sounds so good; I don’t usually like white chocolate but I’d imagine the lemon would be perfect with the over-sweetness… I have to admit still to loving Cadbury’s, although I also love Montezuma’s and there’s a lovely Fairtrade one called Seeds of Change; their cashew/apricot milk one is amazing 🙂
I think I have seen seeds of change somewhere else- I like it when you get more unusual flavours. Yes the lemon was lovely in there 🙂
Thanks for your recommendation – I’d never heard of this chocolate brand before! Bought a few bars on Friday and eating some of the white chocolate with lemon & poppyseed now…delicious…perfect for my sweet tooth! 🙂
Hope your op went well today xx
Hey I saw that on your blog today! Glad you liked it- I only see their chocolate in Holland and Barrett but it does some lovely unusual flavours. x