Chocolate!

CHOCOLATE sales enjoy a peak at Easter when children demand a delicious egg to consume.

But chocolate is by no means confined to this traditional shape and chocolatiers have certainly not been frightened to push the boat out and produce some eye-catching even startling creations from a tasty giant camera to a Darth Vader figure.

Women may claim fashion is their God but I’m sure chocolate would give that a run for its money not least when some chocolate creations have included clothing and even pairs of shoes!

Nothing seems to be beyond the talents of a chocolate expert to recreate and some of the impressive items to be produced include an entire miniature football stadium and even a whole roast turkey.

I’m not sure about a chocolate skull while I’m positive that the attraction of a collection of spanners and pliers is solely due to their being made of chocolate and owes nothing to any obscure artistic merit.

There is also a sinister side to this sweetest of confections and at least three children have choked to death after eating chocolate eggs which contained toys.

Men have also died making chocolate including one who fell into a giant vat of the stuff. There is even a dessert called Death by Chocolate.

One bishop was allegedly murdered by his chocolate being poisoned after a dispute he had with women over them drinking chocolate during mass while one murderess launched a reign of terror after systematically buying chocolate, impregnating it with strychnine and then returning it to shop shelves. Many fell ill and one boy died.

One of my favourites involves Sir Winston Churchill and letters which revealed a Nazi plot to assassinate him using a bar of exploding chocolate!

Among some tasty facts are that the largest ever box of chocolates weighed 2,002lbs or nearly a ton, that one in every 200 workers in Belgium is involved with the making, sale or promotion of chocolate and that one chocolate chip provides enough food energy for an adult to walk about 50 metres.

Just how intensive production needs to be can be seen from the fact that one tree’s entire crop for a year is needed to make just half a kilo of cocoa or, that during the period of the Aztec empire, a slave could be bought for 100 cocoa beans.

Africa is currently the hub of chocolate, producing 66 percent of the modern world’s supply. while cocoa trees were first found growing in the Amazon and the foothills of the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes.

Interestingly more than twice as many women as men eat and crave chocolate, a word derived from the Aztec “xocolatl” which means “bitter water”.

And be grateful you live in modern times with modern regulations. A couple of centuries ago and corrupt producers used brick dust and red lead in place of cocoa when making chocolate.

Finally, more than a fifth of all chocolate consumption takes place between 8pm and midnight….so you might be eating chocolate now!

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