World Chocolate Day 2019
Chocolate plays a big part in many people’s lives and in a number of major celebrations around the world. From Valentine’s Day, to Easter, to now having a World Chocolate Day dedicated to itself! There are many different variations of chocolate, and its versatility makes it perfect for a wide range of dishes.
Chocolates around the world
If there is a time to be adventurous in the wonderful world of chocolates, this is it. Don’t just limit yourself to the chocolate bar you would usually get from around the corner shop. Here are some delicious and diverse chocolate dishes from all over the world to get you inspired:
- Pain au chocolat (France) –A classic sweet French Pastry that features large bars of chocolate in the centre –a delightful twist from the traditional croissant. Although this pastry originated from France, it is widely available in many bakeries across the UK.
- Mole (Mexico)1 – You are probably most familiar with eating chocolate as a sweet treat or using it in baking. Countries like Mexico, however, aren’t afraid to break the mould and incorporate chocolate into savoury dishes! If used in small quantities, chocolate can add a real depth of flavour and rich silkiness to various savoury dishes. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce blending spices, chillies and CHOCOLATE to create a thick flavourful sauce. The sauce is very versatile and goes well with many Mexican dishes.
- Gianduja gelato (Italy)2 –Gianduja is an Italian chocolate that contains around 30% of hazelnut paste. Some would say it’s similar to the famous chocolate-hazelnut spread we all know and love, but even better. Ice-cream, or as the Italians call it, gelato, is the perfect treat for a warm summer day.
Is chocolate healthy?
Cocoa is one of the main ingredients in chocolate. It is rich in flavanols, which has proven health benefits such as reducing inflammation3 and lowering blood pressure4. Flavanols are responsible for the bitter taste in raw cacao and dark chocolate. So in essence, the more bitter the chocolate is, the better it is for you! However, processing can significantly decrease the flavanol content in cocoa. Therefore, it is important to remember that not all products containing cocoa would provide the same benefits.
However you choose to celebrate World Chocolate Day, the possibilities are endless so get creative! Remember, chocolate can definitely be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a healthy-balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
3Perez-Cano et al. (2013) The effects of cocoa on the immune system, Front Pharmacol. 4(71)
4Roastami et al. (2015) High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves blood pressure in patients with diabetes and hypertension, ARYA Atheroscler. 11(1): 21-29