Monday, November 26, 2007

Chocolate --- The Achilles' Heel of JMB

I'm quite fond of food actually, as you would imagine if you saw me in real life, rounder than I would like in these latter years. But on the whole I think of it as fuel to keep me going. I do try to choose food that is healthy and which I like. Most things I can take or leave, but there is one thing that I cannot leave if it is in my house and that is Chocolate.

I have to confess that I am addicted to chocolate. Just thinking about it and writing about it conjures its taste in my mouth. Preferably dark and of good quality. So strong is my addiction that I cannot have it in the house because I consume it until it is all gone. Do I succumb sometimes? Well of course I do.

My daughter also loves chocolate and she has one Lady Godiva chocolate after dinner every night. Only the best for her too. But is this truly my child? How can she stop at one? Her father doesn't particularly like chocolate but somehow my addicted to chocolate gene and his take it or leave it chocolate gene have combined in her to create the chocolate in moderation gene. Why can't I have that gene?

Someone randomly passed by my blog yesterday, stopped to read the Photo Hunt post with the chocolate covered ice cream and left a comment and a link about how chocolate was banned in Switzerland at one time. My eyes popped open at that and I decided to follow the link.

While we all know that Switzerland is renowned for the production of very fine chocolate it is a relatively recent introduction. Brought to Zurich at the end of the 17th Century, it was consumed as a drink at various feasts of the guilds until banned in 1722 by the Zurich Council, which considered it an aphrodisiac and unsuitable for the citizens' consumption. Did you know that Casanova consumed chocolate before bedding his conquests because of that belief?

Several wandering Italian cioccolatieri reintroduced it into Switzerland in 1750 and slowly it became accepted with the first chocolate shop opening in Berne in 1792. Rather than reproduce the development of chocolate from drink to what we consume today, you can explore this Swiss site, where I wasted an inordinate amount of time chasing the links, as is my wont.
A particular favourite of mine, dark chocolate with hazelnuts,
food from the gods

Now studies show that dark chocolate is good for your health. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants per gram than other foods laden with the substances, like red wine and green tea and berry fruits according to researchers which suggests that the beneficial effects of chocolate lie in its antioxidant properties. I can easily be convinced of this. More claims and chocolate facts abound at this site where I found this little gem.

Coincidentally or otherwise, many of the worlds oldest supercentenarians, e.g. Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) were passionately fond of chocolate. Jeanne Calment habitually ate two pounds of chocolate per week until her physician induced her to give up sweets at the age of 119 - three years before her death aged 122.

But I need to know the bad effects of consuming chocolate, not the good things about it. However these are fast being denounced. No longer is chocolate considered a cause of acne, although I am long past the age of worrying about acne. Connections between migraines and chocolate are suggested by some but I don't suffer from migraines, thank goodness. It's toxic to animals, especially to dogs, but I'm not a dog. Well it is definitely high in calories and saturated fat and sugar in some types and I guess that will have to be deterrent enough for me.
The month of December is going to be very hard for me in this regard. It seems that chocolate is one of the first things that spring to mind as a gift at this time of year. I'm guilty myself for I always put chocolate in everyone's Christmas stocking at our house. One giant dark Toblerone bar, one dark Terry's Chocolate Orange, along with assorted other dark chocolate favourites have been included in the Christmas stockings here for many, many years. Yes, I used to put them in my own, but no more. Somehow I have to get through this period without eating chocolate, when it's all around me, even in my own house. So wish me luck.

Hello, I'm JMB and I'm a chocoholic.

Update: My good friend Eurodog, of Belgium, has reminded me that her homeland is also a producer of very fine chocolate and she sent me this link which I share with you. All there is to know about Belgian chocolate. Enjoy. The link and chocolate too if you are not a chocoholic.


Anonymous said...

I shall be eating vast quantities of chocolate over Xmas Ms JMB. I have never given up anything for any reason yet!!

Rositta said...

I'm addicted to chocolate as well. Currently I can't get enough of Ritter Sport Marzipan. There is always one bar of it hiding around here somewhere, now if only I could remember where I put it...ciao

Janice Thomson said...

Oh this was too good Jmb. I concur completely. There just can't be chocolate in the house or I will eat it all maybe not all at once but in a few short days. I love cocoa too but it has to be dark, dark, dark. I don't like the watered down stuff they sell these days so I buy the powdered and make my own. Loved your last line.

Eurodog said...

Although I am Belgian and live in Belgium which makes the best chocolate in the world I am not a great consumer. Mr Eurodog is.(unfortunately Godiva is no longer in Belgian hands )

Carver said...

Hello, My name is Carver and I'm a chocoholic. My daughter is like yours in that she can limit herself. Me, if it's chocolate and it's in the house, I eat it. I enjoyed the movie, Chocolat and it sent me off on a quest for a Chocolatier. This was a fun post except it makes me want to go get some dark chocolate which is my favorite too.

lady macleod said...

Hello, I'm Lady Macleod and I'm a chocoholic. It is an addiction I have NO intention of giving up, or feeling the least bit of guilt over. I shall continue to scour the world for the best chocolate, and consume it at will. Indeed I am also an enabler as I have turned my daughter into a chocoholic as well. And there you have it.

Tai said...

How fortunate I feel to have the 'like it or leave it' approach to chocolate.
But good luck to you, JMB, I'll be thinking of you!

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I don't eat that much chocolate- but I do like chocolate oranges.

And easter eggs. My and my mate bought a load reduced after Easter and ate them this year.

marymaryquitecontrary said...

I too love chocolate and have been known to get up during the night just to have one. When my children were young I remember having to buy their Christmas sweets a second time as I had eaten the first lot long before Christmas

Ian Lidster said...

Your friend Eurodog is overwhelmingly correct about Belgian chocolate. The truffles we were scarfing back a year go (sigh) were virtually orgasmic, if such a thing is possible (and it just might be, you never know). Now, dear friend, if you are ever in the Comox Valley you must make 'Hot Chocolates' a stop. Their truffles are consistently rated the best on Vancouver Island by the Times Colonist.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well. I never knew you had an Acilles heel, jmb! I guess you share this one with a good many of us. Didn't know chocolate was ever banned in Switzerland or that about Casanova. Like your gene theory! Now just don't talk to me about Terry's chocolate - please don't!.... Auguri

leslie said...

*moan* Hello, my name is Leslie and I'm a chocoholic. Like a lot of people, I just can't have it sitting around or I eat it. It literally calls to me from wherever I put it, even in the freezer. I hear "Leslie Leslie you need me! and if I don't answer it starts yelling at me! *moan* If only I could be like your daughter and just simply enjoy one after dinner each evening. *sigh*

jmb said...

Hi Muts,
Just don't be giving any to the dog. Enjoy my share too, will you?

Hi Rositta,
I'm not fond of marzipan so you can have my share of that. I can't even buy the stuff else I'll scoff it all down at once.

Hi Janice,
I never think of cocoa, but dark, dark chocolate anything is essential. None of that milk stuff.

Hi Eurodog,
How lucky you are that you are not addicted to chocolate, although Mr Eurodog probably eats your share too.

Hi Carver,
Another chocoholic, and where on earth did these daughters of ours come from?

Hi Lady Mac,
Well you don't have to worry about your weight so indulge yourself.

Hi Tai,
You are very lucky indeed and I wish I was just like you. Wish me well.

Hi Crushed,
Only the dark oranges will do me, but they are certainly yummy. One year they did raspberry which was awful. Ah, a bargain hunting chocolate consumer.

Hi Marymary,
You made me laugh with the story of eating the Christmas stash beforehand. That's why I can't have it in the house.

Hi Ian,
I felt badly about not mentioning Belgian chocolate when reminded for it is truly fine. But the link was to Switzerland so that's where I went.

Hi Welshcakes,
I probably have more than one if the truth be known. Amazing what you find out when you follow the links. How do you manage in the chocolate mecca of Modica?

Hi Leslie,
We should have a chocolate anonymous club. I don't know where my daughter gets her restraint from, for it is surely not from me.

Thanks to you all for visiting and commenting.

Julie said...

Mmm...chocolate. I have that addictive gene, too, so anyone who has chocolate needs to hide it very well and also not let me know they have it, or it will be gone before the hour is out. My husband can take it or leave it, too, whilst my daughter can make a bar last a week or longer. Oh, to be into moderation!

Eurodog said...

Thank you for the update, jmb.

Political Umpire said...

I have heard in some fairly snobbish wine circles that it is, apparently, not done to mix chocolate and wine. Balderdash say I. I am a chocoholic like yourself, JMB, though of a quite closed faith - I will only touch dark chocolate. In fact I wish I lived in the days when it was only called 'chocolate' or 'plain chocolate'. As far as I'm concerned eating milk or white chocolate would be like giving a starving dog a rubber bone, as Linus from Peanuts once said.

One of the bonuses of living in London is that splendid continental chocolates - Belgian, Swiss and French - are readily available. Eat and be damned, I say.

Chrysalis Angel said...

That is my one weakness. I too, am a chocolate addict. Shameless, I know, but I could never give it up.

Ellee said...

Your daughter is very restrained if she can stick to one fine chocolate after dinner every night.

And yes, Eurodog is correct, Brussels makes very fine chocolate, you would be in paradise if you visited.

jams o donnell said...

Hi I'm Jams O'Donnell and I too am a chocoholic. I've been choc free for almost a week - only because of the huge doses of antibiotics I've been taking which have played merry hell with my stomach!

I am looking forward to a nice bar of Green & Blacks organic choc - quite cocoa-ey for milk choc but I love it. And variouse lindt chocs and, and, and.....

Hold on One choc a day you said? I can't get my head around such restraint!

rlbates said...

"Hello, I'm Ramona and I'm a chocoholic."

Lovely post JMB!

Lord James-River said...

All the chocoholics i know are wonderful people with good senses of humour.

sally in norfolk said...

not into chocolate very much but reading this has made me want some !!
good job i live in a village with no shops open at this time :-)

Voyager said...

I live with a chocoholic. But I don't like it. Not in a take-it-or leave-it way, but a real dislike. My addicted husband says I must be missing a gene.

jmb said...

Hi Julie,
Join the club. It seems there are lots of us. Your family seems to resemble mine in this chocolate thing.

Hi PU,
Interestingly enough I have seen some ice wines listed as going well with chocolate. You are right, dark chocolate is the only one worth considering, milk chocolate, forget it. We are not suffering here from lack of fine chocolate, fortunately, if I were eating it that is.

Hi CA,
I'm trying hard to give it up because it is contributing to my extra pounds.

Hi Ellee,
I don't know how my daughter manages this restraint for I could never do it. It sounds like I'd better give Brussels a miss, I'll have to meet Eurodog in London.

Hi Jams,
Another side effect of your illness, giving up chocolate. Too bad. One a day is good for your health's sake, but more too much. That's if you're not a chocoholic.

Hi Ramona,
Join the club. You'll not be lonely.

Hi James,
That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me, assuming I'm included in the blanket statement.

Hi Sally,
How I wish I was like you in the chocolate department. It would be better for me I'm sure.

Hi Voyager,
Now that's really interesting. Most are the take or leave it types but a real dislike must be really rare. Well all the more for B.

Thanks to all of you for visiting and commenting.

fake consultant said...

as i got to the last picture in the story, i said "hey...we have one of those in the kitchen"-and sure enough, there it was, still in its box.

it must be pointed out that the reason it is still in the box is because we have been knocking down the dilettante milk chocolate peppermint truffles (at only 35%), which are astonishingly good for a milk chocolate product. (costco, bless their hearts, sells a 72 truffle pack for $9.99 during the holiday season.)

moonstruck, from oregon, is another highly recommended artisan chocolatier, who made the chocolates given in the academy award gift bags a couple of years ago.

by the way: chocolate and wine, meet chocolate and fine coffee.

and as for the woman who quit at 119: imagine how long she would have lived if she hadn't quit...

Ian said...

I saw this post yesterday and just had to comment. I too love dark chocolate and struggle to put a bar down once I've started. I persuade myself that I can have some more tomorrow if I leave it now, and usually it works.
I will probably give in very easily over Christmas. Dark chocolate covered ginger is a guaranteed option, it just keeps getting better.

jmb said...

Hi Fake consultant,
I can't understand how the orange is still in it's box, although the truffles look good too. Obviously you are more restrained than I.
I'll have to find out more about Moonstruck, as gifts you know!

Hi Ian,
Yes dark chocolate, food from the gods indeed. Chocolate covered ginger, yum. I used to like dark chocolate covered candied orange peel but Purdy's doesn't make it anymore.

regards to you both

Dragonstar said...

Ohhhh! I should not have read this post!
I am also a chocoholic. I can eat chocolate even when it's the kind I don't actually like! But when it's dark - really dark - and preferably with raisins or yummy soft centres or . . .

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

rdl said...

My mouth is watering now. I know what you mean about eating it til it's gone - same here.

jess8t8 said...

Yeah, chocolate is a good source of antioxidants. Dark chocolate has the highest content of antioxidants.

Anonymous said...

I am a chocoholic. I can consume,and do, a box of Hershey Milk Duds in one day. No other chocolate gives me the pleasure that the chocolate carmels in Milk Duds.I buy 10 boxes or more, at one time.