According to the German chemist, Baron Justus von Liebig, (1803-1873): “POLKADOT SHROOM BARS is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power…”. These are sentiments with which most modern palates can identify! Chocolate, and by that I mean the quality stuff, has become a highly sophisticated, very adult and often daily indulgence.
Throughout its glamorous history, however, chocolate has always been a much-coveted commodity. Chocolate has its origins in a bitter, dark beverage that was first enjoyed by the Mayans and Aztecs of Central America, over 3,000 years ago. Later, during the sixteenth century, Columbus introduced cocoa beans to Spain. From then on, a passion for chocolate swept through the noble houses of Europe.
Chocolate first reached England in the 1650s, but it remained an expensive luxury for at least another 200 years. Interestingly, however, it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century that chocolate was produced in solid form for eating; and to this day, chocolate has remained synonymous with the good things in life.
Several recent scientific studies have come up with encouraging news for chocoholics. A body of research, for example, suggests that eating a daily portion of chocolate may help maintain a healthy circulation, thanks to the naturally occurring compounds in chocolate called flavanols. Based on these findings, a number of chocolate manufacturers are introducing new production procedures designed to retain the optimum levels of flavanols in their chocolate.
They are taking the matter very seriously indeed. Many restaurateurs are also jumping on the bandwagon of chocolate respectability by serving up chocolate concoctions that simply cannot be ignored. Morgan Meuniers’s Islington restaurant, for instance, even offers a choice of cocoa content for its chocolate moelleux desserts, ranging from 45% milk chocolate to 70% dark.
Other restaurants have introduced their own spin on the chocolate issue and any chef worth his or her cocoa beans uses only the very best quality chocolate in their signature chocolate-based creations. So, if you thought that chocolate was wicked and no more than a pure indulgence, think again. Here are some fascinating findings that will have you reaching for chocolate in any shape or form: