Willie’s Delectable Chocolate

Dark ChocolateLast year I followed Willie Harcourt Cooze on his journey to make a very high quality Cacao, (a very condensed form of Cocoa) – to use in cooking and baking. There was a series of TV programmes on channel four entitled “Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory”, and showed his struggle to manufacture his Cacao. Willie has his own Cocoa Bean plantation is Venezuela, where he grows his organic beans for use in his cacao.
Recently there was some follow up programmes, which showed Willie trying (with lots of hiccups along the way) to make his own chocolate bars by 100 year old antique chocolate making machinery. The programme showed him attempting to teach a nation of chocolate lovers (mostly Cadburys or Galaxy) how wonderful and good for you real dark chocolate could be! This man has such a passion for chocolate; he literally puts it in most things he cooks!
Well not everyone is going to enjoy dark chocolate, but it’s not just about gorging yourself on chocolate, the real stuff is actually good for us! Why is chocolate so good for us? – Well here’s the science bit.
Recent research has shown that real dark chocolate can provide natural health-promoting substances called Flavonoids. These flavonoids demonstrate to have powerful antioxidant effects and contain flavanols and procyanids. These two compounds come from the Flavonoid family that includes Resveratrol – found in grape juice and red wine and EGCG found in Green Tea. When we consume these substances in chocolate, the antioxidant status of our blood increases, thus fighting Free Radical damage to our cells – these are destructive molecules that are implicated with a whole host of degenerative diseases including heart disease and cancer. Research has also found dark chocolate can help reduce high blood pressure, but remember the word moderation when you nibble!!
Theobromine is also found in products of the Cocoa Tree (Theobroma Cacao), this is chocolates caffeine cousin and gives you a very mild stimulation and feel good factor when you consume it. This chemical is toxic to dogs and other domestic animals, as they metabolise Theobromine more slowly than us, and this can lead to heart failure, kidney failure and death! Please do not feed your pets chocolate – it isn’t worth it!
Also those who eat chocolate regularly may have a higher sex drive!! Any excuse eh? The Aztec emperor “Montezuma” used to drink a goblet of chocolate before entering his harem each night, leading to the popular legend of chocolates aphrodisiac properties! Well it won’t hurt to try I suppose!
I have made a commitment to eat more of the good chocolate (I have bought some of Willy’s chocolate – it is lovely) I am also going to buy some of the Cacao and Willy’s chocolate recipe book, and try (I am normally rubbish at baking!) to make some lovely cakes and desserts. I do find that just a small piece of the dark stuff, stops me wanting to stuff Galaxy down my throat!, and I feel better about eating it.
Antioxidants are the key to ageing well, and you can never consume too many – make a conscious effort to ingest more and you will possibly prevent disease and premature ageing of your skin!
You can buy Willie’s Cacao and chocolate bars from Waitrose and Selfridges.
and Willie’s website – http://www.williescacao.com/


Green &Blacks Chocolate Recipes  is also a lovely read for the chocolate lover, with lots of chocolatey tips and advice! Yum!


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