Go cocoa crazy for Chocolate Week and some guilt free scoffing

I love a random awareness day. Obviously, there are some serious ones that highlight illnesses or conditions and those are worth their weight in gold for the people it affects most.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 2:53pm
Go cocoa crazy for Chocolate Week and some guilt free scoffing
Milk or plain...will you be celebrating Chocolate Week with a square or two?

However, there are some fun ones that amuse me and have sometimes been the inspiration behind this column.

According to www.nationalawarenessdays.com October 14-19 is Chocolate Week.

Yes, folks, that’s a thing and I couldn’t let the event pass without some musings on this glorious sweet treat. Edible happiness in my eyes.

I don’t crave chocolate the way some people do and I’d sooner have some tooth-rotting tablet or fudge. I’m also partial to old-fashioned quarters of traditional sweeties but now and again, only the brown stuff will do.

You know the mid-afternoon slump when you’re at your work or even just times when your mood is less than sunny. Wolf down a wee bar of Dairy Milk or a chunk of a Wispa and all is well with the world again. I wonder if anyone tracks the increase in office vending machine traffic around 3pm.

Chocolate adds something special to so many things – our frothy cappuccinos just wouldn’t be the same without that dusting of cocoa powder. And try to imagine a slice of caramel shortcake without a slither of chocolate on top. Exactly.

Chocolate also features in so many celebrations. We give chocolates in birthday presents and two of the most notable events in the liturgical calendar (Christmas and Easter) are (rightly or wrongly) celebrated with chocolate. I used to love a bag of chocolate coins in my stocking as a kid and I still favour a Smarties Easter egg, despite my advancing years.

During my research, I discovered that chocolate has even made its way on to the spa treatment menu. Did you know that luxuries such as chocolate body wraps and massages exist? I love a spa treatment and have tried just about every facial and anti-ageing elixir known to man but I’ve yet to experience the chocolate-based variety.

I’m familiar with cocoa butter moisturising lotion but full body chocolate treatment where they slather you in the stuff? I’m not sure. I’d probably be more likely to ask the therapist for a spoon! Although I’m guessing it’s not an edible version. Somehow, I don’t think they melt a bar of Bourneville and smear it on your legs but I will make it my mission to find out.

So, should we celebrate this thing called Chocolate Week? Is it an excuse to scoff a tin of Roses or a box of Quality Street without the guilt?

Maybe you could simply observe the wonders of chocolate at one of the great attractions dotted around the UK. If you’re thinking of a late getaway, there’s one place you should be heading if chocolate is high on the agenda...York. There are lots of reasons to go to the beautiful city of York but if you’re a chocolate lover, it’s the ideal place for you.

A trip to York wouldn’t be complete without a visit to York’s Chocolate Story. This place is a chocoholic’s paradise where you can discover the story of York’s iconic brands such as Rowntree’s and Terry’s (Now you know where your KitKat and Chocolate Oranges come from).

On one of their guided tours you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate – find out how cocoa beans are transformed into chocolate bars and learn how to taste like an expert. Sign me up!

They even have a KitKat exhibition on at the moment. You can explore the history and origins of the KitKat and apparently, this bar is on sale in more countries than any other chocolate.

Also, a little further south, near Birmingham there’s another cracking chocolate attraction, Cadbury World. I haven’t been but it sounds heavenly. There’s a Cadbury Café and the world’s biggest Cadbury shop on site. What’s not to like?

If you’re not able to head off and visit any of those delightful places during Chocolate Week, you can still mark the occasion in your own kitchen. Give your other half or the kids a treat and do some baking. Terry’s Chocolate Orange tray bakes, chocolate cakes, home-made truffles, whatever takes your fancy. You could always swap your Saturday night cheese fondue for a chocolate one? I do enjoy dipping marshmallows into a piping hot pot of chocolatey goo.

I’m told the scientific name for chocolate is Theobroma cacao which apparently translates as food of the gods so you’re likely to earn some brownie points if you serve up some chocolate treats for the family. Who would deny their loved ones the pleasure of chocolate and its magical restorative powers? I’ll be allowing myself a square or five. Everything in moderation, right?

The diet can start again on Monday.

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