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  • joannebanks5

The Benefits of Chocolate

Updated: 2 days ago

It’s a real November Friday! The wind is whipping round the house. It’s raining. It’s grey. In fact, if I was a hibernating animal, I’d be snuggling down now and waiting for spring…

But no. Christmas is round the corner, and as foodies we know that it’s a perfect time to get the oven on and do a spot of baking. Even if copious amounts of steaming coffee are needed to fuel us.


At this time of year, I begin to think about advent calendars for the family, and sweet treats and edible gifts for friends. Making chocolates is always a fun activity. Yes, it can be time consuming and at times a little troublesome, but at the end of the day what’s not to love about chocolate!


That’s why my next supper club is focused on chocolate making. Temper, Temper are joining us from Southborough, Tunbridge Wells to help show us how to roll truffles and create beautiful colourful fruity Florentines that look just perfect in a gift bag tied with a ribbon.


And don’t feel guilty. Because while Christmas is a time for indulgence, chocolate is actually not so bad…

The mighty cocoa bean - chocolate in its purest form - hails from South and Central America and is known in Latin as the Food of the Gods” and nicknamed “black gold” by the Spanish.

Chocolate that is free-from refined sugars, glutens and soya gives you a healthy hit of pure energy, without the sugar crash and that icky post-junk food feeling. Cocoa also contains numerous minerals and vitamins, antioxidants and flavanols, which are seriously good for your physical and mental health.

If that’s not a good enough reason to grate some 70% over your morning porridge then read on to find out exactly how eating chocolate for breakfast can make you healthier… 


Did you know?

…Chocolate is a natural mood booster and anti-depressant

…Chocolate actually contains more antioxidants than green tea …In its purest form, chocolate is one of the richest superfoods in the world


Jo’s tip: Pop a square of high-quality chocolate in to your mouth after taking your multi-vitamin supplements each morning for an added mineral loaded oomph. Chocolate that doesn’t contain refined sugars, glutens and soya will give you a hit of the essential minerals and vitamins that your body needs to function well, including calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, A, E.

I have been doing some homework on the benefits, as well as speaking with Aneesh Popat and his wife Nina. It’s their advice to start the  day with a piece of dark chocolate in my smoothie, which really seems to be the answer on such a cold dark morning! 


Here is the recipe: 

almond milk

two figs

small banana

almond butter/nut butter

100% dark chocolate


I have worked with Aneesh for a few years now, (and spent an afternoon tempering chocolate with the Thermomix) and I love his ethos and of course his most unique, healthy chocolate as its made with water ganache: find out more here: https://www.the-chocolatier.co.uk/water-ganache/ and his gorgeous monthly chocolate club:

https://www.the-chocolatier.co.uk/monthly-club/


Why do different types of chocolate taste so different? 


The huge variation in flavour is largely down to the complex processing used to make make chocolate.  The untreated beans are astringent and bitter but fermentation gives rise to fruity, wine-like, or sherry flavours, and the roasting process can introduce a near-infinite variety of nutty, earthy, woody, flowery and spicy notes. 


The flavour of good-quality chocolate is best appreciated by pushing a piece to the roof of your mouth and letting it melt.  The more sweetened the chocolate, the quicker it will reveal its flavour. 


As you work you way up the cocoa percentages you will notice that it takes longer for the flavour to develop, and that there is an increase in bitterness and length – the time the flavour lingers in your mouth.