If you are one of the few who doesn’t like chocolate, then this isn’t the post for you!
Chocolate – it sums up so much in a single word. It even sounds delicious! Rich, indulgent, creamy luxuriousness. Dark and bitter, meltingly luscious. Is it any wonder that chocolate is the world’s number one craving? Whatever the mood, the 3pm slump at work, the long drive home, feeling sad, fed up, happy and celebratory – it’s always chocolate. And we all have our favourites.
What is it that makes it taste so good? The science behind the craving has been the subject of many studies. Containing a whole raft of chemicals, it seems that stimulants phenylethylamine, theobromine and caffeine are the key ones. We all know about caffeine but you could be forgiven for never having heard of the others. Then there’s anandamide which is one of the ‘feel good’ chemicals. Occurring naturally in the brain, its composition is similar to tetrahydrocannabinol which is found in marijuana. Now it’s beginning to make sense, and even more so when we hear that chocolate helps the body create serotonin which supplies the nutrients that balance hormones and the chemicals in the brain by triggering endorphins (the feel-good factor). . Unfortunately, chocolate is also high in sugar which unbalances blood sugar levels. Still, you can’t have everything and no-one is advocating eating it every day!
When we want chocolate there is little that can distract from the craving. Some will advocate buying the best and making it last because it’s said that we are satisfied by a small amount if the quality is top notch. Well, that may be true for some but it doesn’t work for me. The best, in my opinion, is Butlers and believe me, I could eat a bucketful ! The dark coffee bars (I love coffee flavoured chocolate) and the dark chocolate mint truffle bar are heavenly, whilst the white chocolate truffle knocks spots off any other white chocolate, which the purists will tell you is actually not chocolate at all because while ‘normal’ chocolate contains cocoa, white chocolate does not. It does, however, contain cocoa butter which is the fat from the cocoa beans. To me, this is a bit like saying that the white of an egg is not an egg, and the yolk of an egg is not an egg; only when combined do they become an egg as opposed to components of an egg. We could have a long linguistic debate here but taking logic, sense and reference into account, I think it’s nothing more than a case of semantics! A Butlers white chocolate truffle bar tastes sublime and personally I don’t care if someone wants to call it a cabbage! White chocolate is higher in fat, but lower in sugar than conventional chocolate so I guess it could depend on which camp you belong to (is sugar or fat the most lethal enemy?) as to whether you choose to eat it or not.
Butlers chocolate was founded in 1932 by a Mrs Bailey-Butler from Dublin where she produced her handmade chocolates. The company was sold in 1984 and renamed Butlers Irish Chocolate, the name being a nod to its founder. Still based in Dublin and still using Mrs Butler’s original recipe, the company have won a number of awards.
Not readily available in the average corner shop or supermarket, Butlers can be found in only a few select shops in Britain but is available online from Amazon or directly from the Butlers site in Ireland. Since opening its first retail store in Dublin in 1989, Butlers chocolate shops have sprung up all over Ireland, and there are now a number of Butlers cafes too. I took the photograph at the start of this post, and the one below of the Dublin Airport cafe a few years ago.