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LOVE BYRON BAY ....SPECIALISTS IN INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL CHOCOLATE.

Love Byron Bay creperie and chocolate boutique is dedicated to sourcing, creating and sharing a quality chocolate experience from Byron Bay, Australia. We'll cultivate your understanding of cocoa, stimulate the palate with a discerning appreciation, fire the imagination with unique chocolate encounters and share the passion for this legendary food of the gods. Exceptional chocolate infused with delicious flavours, irresistible aromatic characteristics and high quality cocoa. 

Blog

Choc Recipes, Choc Facts, Choc Travels and our regular Chocoholic-not-so-Anonymous feature. All this and more in our weekly blog.

Filtering by Tag: Choc Fact

Choc Fact: Eating chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease.

Alison Campbell

Eating up to 100g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk, finds research published online in the journal Heart. There doesn't seem to be any evidence for cutting out chocolate to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, conclude the researchers.

They base their findings on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which is tracking the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires.

The researchers also carried out a systematic review of the available international published evidence on the links between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, involving almost 158,000 people-including the EPIC study participants.

The EPIC-Norfolk participants (9214 men and 11 737 women) were monitored for an average of almost 12 years, during which time 3013 (14%) people experienced either an episode of fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke. Around one in five (20%) participants said they did not eat any chocolate, but among the others, daily consumption averaged 7 g, with some eating up to 100 g.

Higher levels of consumption were associated with younger age and lower weight (BMI), waist: hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more regular physical activity - all of which add up to a favourable cardiovascular disease risk profile. Eating more chocolate was also associated with higher energy intake and a diet containing more fat and carbs and less protein and alcohol.

The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death. It was also associated with a 9% lower risk of hospital admission or death as a result of coronary heart disease, after taking account of dietary factors. And among the 16,000 people whose inflammatory protein (CRP) level had been measured, those eating the most chocolate seemed to have an 18% lower risk than those who ate the least.

The highest chocolate intake was similarly associated with a 23% lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors.

Of nine relevant studies included in the systematic review, five studies each assessed coronary heart disease and stroke outcome, and they found a significantly lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption. And it was linked to a 25% lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and a 45% lower risk of associated death.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. And the researchers point out that food frequency questionnaires do involve a certain amount of recall bias and underestimation of items eaten. Reverse causation- whereby those with a higher cardiovascular disease risk profile eat less chocolate and foods containing it than those who are healthier- may also help to explain the results, they say. Nevertheless, they add: "Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events."

And they point out that as milk chocolate, which is considered to be less 'healthy' than dark chocolate, was more frequently eaten by the EPIC-Norfolk participants, the beneficial health effects may extend to this type of chocolate too. "This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association," they suggest.

And they conclude: "There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk."

Source: Heart, British Medical Journal, 15 June 2015
Photo: larisabozhikova/Fotolia

Choc Fact: The chocolate chip cookie was an accident

Alison Campbell

Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the Toll House brand of chocolate chip cookies in 1930.

Ruth graduated from the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts, in Framingham, Massachusetts, USA in 1924. She worked as a dietitian and lectured on food until 1930 when she and her husband bought a tourist lodge in Whitman, Massachusetts. The tourist lodge was named the Toll House Inn.

Ruth cooked and served all the food for the meals served to the guests at the Inn and gained local notoriety for her desserts. One day while making cookies, she realized she was out of an ingredient for the recipe she was using. She had run out of baker's chocolate, so she substituted it with a semi-sweet chocolate bar from Nestle. However, unlike the baker's chocolate, the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt and mix into the batter like Ruth thought it would. The small pieces of chocolate only softened. The chocolate chip cookie was born.

It turned out that the chocolate bar Ruth used in her cookie mix had been a gift from Andrew Nestle of the Nestle Chocolate Company. As the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe became popular, sales of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate bar increased so Ruth sold the chocolate chip cookie recipe to Andrew Nestle, who then provided her with a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.

Nestle printed the Toll House Cookie recipe on every bag of Nestle chocolate chips sold in North America. Ruth died in 1977, and the Toll House Inn burned down New Year's Eve of 1984. Although there are many manufacturers of chocolate chips today, the agreement to publish the recipe of Ruth Graves Wakefield on the back of each Nestle Toll House chocolate bar package is still honoured to this day.

Photo: www.yourcupofcake.com
Source: All About Chocolate Chip Cookies

Choc Fact: The Origin of Chocolate

Alison Campbell

The exact beginnings of humans’ relationship with chocolate are still in question.

Archaeologists know that humans tasted chocolate at least 4,000 years ago in Mesoamerica, amidst abundant cacao forests. But the cacao of the ancients was very different from today’s chocolate. For many centuries, chocolate was a bitter drink. Made from cacao nibs, it was akin to modern-day baking chocolate mixed with water. Some cultures drank it cold and some hot.

The ancients added flavorings such as allspice, cinnamon, chili powder and vanilla. They may have mixed in maize or sweeteners such as honey, agave syrup or cactus. Then they poured the drink, either from a height or back and forth, to produce a froth—and drank the foam that rose, because it was closest to heaven.

Olmec artwork.

Olmec artwork.

The Olmecs (1500 B.C. to 100 B.C.+) 

The Olmecs, famous for carving colossal stone heads, were the first people known to process and eat cacao beans, which they called kakaw.

What’s most interesting is that the Olmecs figured out how to eat cacao at all. Animals simply spat out the hard, bitter seeds, lending no clue to the mysteries inside. The Olmecs had a better idea. They devised the fermenting, drying, roasting and grinding process that remain the basis of today’s chocolate production, which took extensive knowledge of food science and biochemistry. They then passed this knowledge down to the Mayans.

Mayans (1800 B.C. - 1500 A.D.)

Perhaps the first chocoholics, the Mayans were open about their love for cacao. They wrote about cacao as “the food of the gods,” carved the shape of the pods into their stone templates, painted people drinking cacao into their artwork, hired artists to decorate elaborate drinking vessels, placed those vessels in tombs and even used the beans in human sacrifice. They also grew cacao trees, planting them in their household gardens. The Mayans also used cacao for medicinal purposes.

Mayan artwork. In the forefront the cacao vases filled with cacao drinks bubbling over, and cacao beans in bags.

Mayan artwork. In the forefront the cacao vases filled with cacao drinks bubbling over, and cacao beans in bags.

Southwestern Americans (1000-1125 A.D.)

The early Mesoamericans didn’t keep cacao a secret. Instead, they traded it to their neighbors living many miles to the north. Pottery fragments show that sometime between 1000 and 1125 A.D., people living in northwestern New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon drank cacao from cylindrical jars believed to be used for rituals. At the time a cacao drink coated these jars, the closest cultivated cacao grew in central Mexico. Because cacao is not native to the area, the knowledge of how to prepare and use it would have been imported along with the beans—and having that knowledge may have bestowed prestige to those in charge of the cacao. 

Aztecs (1420 A.D. - 1520 A.D.)  

While the Aztec royals continued the tradition of drinking cacao at ceremonies, they could not grow it in the seat of their empire at Tenochtitlán, in the central highlands of Mexico. As such, they too traded for it, with their southern neighbors the Mayans and others. Aztec rulers also demanded that their tributes, an early form of taxation paid by citizens and those they conquered, be paid in cacao. In the communities themselves, cacao seeds were used as currency, traded at the market and kept locked up. A rabbit cost between four and 10 beans, a mule was worth 50 and a turkey hen went for 100.

In fact, cacao was so valuable in early times that it was counterfeited. People would hollow out the pods, fill them with dirt and pass them off as newly harvested.

Believing that the god Quetzalcoatl brought the cacao tree to them, Aztecs also used the beans as offerings to the gods. For certain rituals, they added achiote from the annatto tree to turn their cacao red—and signify blood. The Aztecs also are said to have used chocolate to calm those who were about to become human sacrifice!

Source thestoryofchocolate.com