CHOCOLATE WITH ALL THE GOODNESS BUT NOT THE CALORIES…

I am a chocoholic and proud to be one. From an early age when away at school all my chocolate in my tuck box would be eaten first then I would do a never-ending amount of jobs for senior girls in order to get some more. I really should have opened a chocolate shop before now. I’ve even been on a chocolate diet ! and ‘no’it did not work but it was rather enjoyable.

However, we all know it’s not good for our waist line nor our teeth but over the years it does get some good press as being good for your heart in the right format and the amount you eat. Chocolate is made from cocoa, which contains polyphenols, which may work as antioxidants that lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and reduce blood pressure. Some experts suggest that eating some chocolate every day can decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cocoa contains epicatechins and catechins, which are similar to the polyphenols found in green tea; and quercetin, which is found in fruits and vegetables. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than milk chocolate because certain processing methods remove the polyphenols, which have a bitter flavor.

Dr. Arebi on Net Doctor wrote “Fermentation in the bean and subsequent extraction generates cocoa butter and releases a variety of vitamins and minerals such as potassium and anti-oxidants,” she explains.

“Cocoa beans also contain dopamine, phenylethylamine and serotonin, chemicals with powerful antidepressant properties that also promote wellbeing. In addition, theobromine is another component of the cocoa bean and has caffeine like properties.”

And she says that many more healthy chemicals are released when chocolate is fermented in our intestines by our gut bacteria, citing research that showed the antioxidants released are similar to those found in green tea.

So, where can we buy chocolate that is that bit healthier but tastes as good as ordinary chocolate? Well there are many companies out there with healthier chocolate treats for us in fact far to many for me to write about in one post so instead I am going to write a regular post on it with all the information I have found about each company.

To start off this regular slot my first post is all about a company called The Skinny Food Company, The Skinny Food Co. was founded in May 2018. James Whiting and Wayne Starky (Directors) have previous experience in the food and beverage/health and wellness market and have discovered the need for great, tasty, and healthy products. It is promoted by diabetic family members who avoid so many favorite foods. This brand was born with the release of zero-calorie syrups, healthy, almost zero table sauces, and shortly thereafter.

Some of the products which I cannot wait to try are-

The Chocolate Flavoured Zero Calories Syrup at £3.99

The Prodigy Chunky Chocolate Low Sugar Vegan Chocolate Bars at £1.99

The Skinny High Protein Milk Chocolate Crispies at £1.25

The Double Chocolate 3 calories a cup drink at £2.49

The 92% less sugar Chocolate Spread at £3.99

I don’t need to go any further as I am sure your mouth will be watering by now but I promise I will follow up after I have tried some of these and another post on chocolate for fewer calories.

A TOWER OF TREATS…

This Tower of Treats from Watts Farms makes a fantastic Christmas gift for anyone with five box’s of treats. Starting from the top it has –

Allergens – (milk, may contain nuts, wheat, egg, soya)

Tower of Treats  – Each

5 luxury boxes filled with goodies.

8 x Milk Chocolates with Hazelnut cream filling

200g creamy vanilla fudge

175g traditional stem ginger biscuits

270g Chocolate covered Heart Palmiers

500g Classis Chocolate Chop Panettone

Available at a few places online but the best price I found was one at Watts Farm for £29.99

BUY THE RIGHT TEA TO PAIR WITH CHRISTMAS FOOD…

To enjoy your cuppa at Christmas, make sure you have the right flavour to pair with your Christmas food.

When drinking Lapsang have it with turkey or smoked salmon sandwiches or walnut cake or Stilton cheese, to enhance the flavour of the tea and/or food. Try Twinings Lapsang Souchong, smoked pine flavour.

Of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without chocolate but with different strengths of chocolate, this does mean there is a choice of pairings. With dark chocolate, try Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Gyokuro, or Oolong. Try this Whittards Loose Leaf Darjeeling Black Tea. A distinctly delicate loose leaf black tea, picked by hand in the Himalayan foothills. Fresh and fruity, with a muscatel sweetness.

With milk or white chocolate try Darjeeling, Dragonwell, or Oolong. This Gingersnap Oolong from Whittards will go perfectly with white chocolate. A speciality of China’s Fujian and Guangdong provinces and Taiwan, oolong tea is semi-oxidised for an astonishing spectrum of flavours, ranging from “green” floral high-grown varieties to distinctive dark oolongs with nutty, chocolatey tones. A Whittard twist on a traditional chai, we’ve opted for a delicate, creamy loose leaf oolong base and layered it with sugar and spice, and all things gingery nice.

When drinking Earl Grey try The Tea Makers Earl Grey have it with fine pate or ham and mustard sandwich’s or Crème Brulee or Leicester cheese, to enhance the flavour of the tea and/or food. This stunning version of classic Supreme Earl Grey has been conveniently packed into our biodegradable tea bags. This tea offers a blend of exquisite Ceylon teas scented with flavours of bergamot oil and blue cornflowers. 

Fortnum and Mason have some amazing goodies paired with specific teas like their Christmas Green Tea created especially for Christmas, their gently warming blend of green tea, star anise, liquorice, coconut and a hint of vanilla is a festive treat that can be enjoyed by a crackling fire at any time of day.

If you don’t want to buy lots of different flavoured tea blends then you could always go for this Twinings Christmas Loose Tea Caddy A Black Tea with Spice Flavour.

A wonderful tea for the Christmas season. A Christmas Tea spiced malty black tea that has been expertly blended with warming, spicy, Christmas flavours off safflowers and orange peel. Enjoy with or without milk for a delicious festive treat.

The caddy depicts a wintery scene in the heart of London where Twinings was founded in 1706. When Thomas Twining opened his Golden Lyon shop at 216 Strand, it was the first of its kind and London’s love affair with tea started to blossom. The Twinings flagship store recently celebrated its 300 year anniversary and now offers Tea Experience masterclasses.

With so many black friday offers I decided to not add prices to the teas as they are on offer at the moment but may not be when you try the link. Enjoy…

COMFORT IN A CUP – SOMETHING WE ALL COULD DO WITH…

Whittard’s of Chelsea have offers on tea, coffee and hot chocolate boxes ‘Comfort in a Cup’ share the love and get 20% off some lovely gifts. Just a few to tempt you below…

Varieties from India, South America, Africa and the Caribbean – we’ve even added a blend from Brazil and Indonesia. Ranging from dark roasts to light roasts, from the rich and chocolatey to the sweet and fruity, there’s a brilliant brew to suit every mood; and we’ve recently given this bestselling gift a whole new design with illustrations by Persephone Coelho. All already ground and ready for you to make your perfect brew.
Six of our best-loved fine loose teas together in a beautifully presented gift box. From traditional malty English Breakfast to lusciously sweet Mango & Bergamot, there’s a tea to suit every taste
Mini caddies of elegant English Breakfast and Earl Grey, finished with a floral fancy of English Rose and Mango ; Bergamot. Oh, and not forgetting the all-important silver-plated infuser. Start slicing those cucumber sandwiches and make sure the kettle’s sparkling.
The cocoa creativity, with flavours of Salted Caramel and raucous Rocky Road, topped off with opulent Orange and marvellous Mint. Finding it tricky to choose? Our signature Luxury Hot Chocolate and Luxury White Hot Chocolate are sure-fire winners.