Kieran Renihan, who set up raw chocolate company Chocolution, explains how healthy chocolate can be, and why we should all be eating it for breakfast. He also offers you the chance to win a free chocolate making kit.
Most of us feel like we should cut back on chocolate; that it’s not healthy. But actually, cocoa – the key ingredient in chocolate – is really, really good for you.
Cocoa comes from the beans of a small, tropical, evergreen tree, which are then fermented and roasted before they’re made into the sweet delicacy we know. Medical studies have shown that the antioxidants it contains are associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of heart disorders.
The chocolate I grew up on, however, was highly processed, low in cocoa content (12% – 34%) and high in fat and refined sugar. In the UK three in five of us eat this type of chocolate most of the time – and it’s this sort of thing we’re not meant to eat too much of.
You see, as with most things, chocolate should be about quality versus quantity.
My favourite type of chocolate is raw chocolate, minimally processed, with 70% cocoa and sweetened with agave nectar from the tequila cactus. It is the best breakfast food ever; uplifting, full of energy and vitality.
Did you know that cocoa contains compounds like anandamide, known as ‘the bliss chemical’ for its effect on mood, and phenylethylamine, which is released when you’re in love? While unsweetened raw cocoa is very bitter, eating it is like nothing else on earth – I heartily recommend trying it.
I believe that if we start to understand what chocolate really is, we can renew our relationship with it and start respecting, rather than ‘abusing’, it.
That’s exactly what we’re trying to do through The Chocolution. Our raw chocolate making kits are designed to help people, from school kids to foodies, learn about the ingredients that go into chocolate – and give them the opportunity to make their own healthy chocolate bars.
If you’d like to taste raw chocolate and have a go at making your own, at Eden’s Chocolate Jungle festival, keep an eye on the full event listing.
Or, if you’d like to get your hands on a chocolate kit for yourself, why not enter our competition? We’ve got five Eat Dark kits to give away, each containing the ingredients to make your own dairy-free, sugar-free chocolate bar, complete with a mould to shape it and agave nectar to sweeten it.
How to enter the competition
To win a kit, follow these two steps:
- Finish this sentence in no more than 128 characters (including spaces): ‘What I love about chocolate is…’
- Submit your entry by the end of Sunday 19 February 2012, via:
a. Twitter using the hashtag #chocjungle together with your 128 characters – e.g: #chocjungle because it makes me feel so much better after a hard day at work and it’s not actually that bad for you at all. It’s tasty too.
b. The comment facility below this blog story.
Prize draw terms and conditions
- Entry is free. One entry per household.
- Eden Team members will pick their favourite top five entries to receive the prizes as detailed above.
- The prizes are non-refundable, non-transferable and subject to availability. No alternative prize will be offered and there is no cash alternative.
- The draw is not open to employees of The Eden Project, their families, its agents or anyone professionally connected with the prize draw.
- All entries must be received by midnight on 19 February 2012. The winner will be notified by email or Twitter after the closing date.
- By entering this competition you are giving the Eden Project permission to contact you at a future date. You can subscribe from this service at any time.
- Prize draw open to all UK residents. Entrants must be over 16 years of age.