If you regularly peruse social media it may not have escaped your attention that Friday 7th July marked ‘World Chocolate Day’ a celebration of all things chocolate! The event is held annually to mark the day when chocolate was introduced to Europe, bringing this substance found in The Americas, to a wider audience. Loved by almost everyone – it’s was no surprise to see people and many an online deli shop alike posting their thoughts and photos on their favourite chocolates, past and present! High-Quality Chocolate, From Victoria’s Deli, An Online Deli Shop. An online deli shop with many years of experience in the fine foods industry, here at Victoria’s Deli we select only the best food and drink produced created by British companies. Our wide range of chocolate products in our online deli store are available as easy-consumable sweet snacks, as part of a hamper or as an additive to any recipe that you may be creating. World Chocolate Day may have been and gone (there’s always next year!) but you don’t need a special day on which to treat yourself – the beauty with chocolate is that it can be used in a wide range of applications. From snacking, to cooking, from picnicking to including at the end of a dinner party – chocolate offers the ultimate, versatile addition to any occasion. A Brief History Of Chocolate’s Introduction To The Wider World. Made from the beans produced by cacao, a tree mostly found in South America, the plant was refined to create ‘cocoa butter’. This edible vegetable fat was then turned into a drinking substance and enjoyed by the native populations of the region for hundreds of years. At the dawn of globalisation in the 15th century, this ‘New World’ was ripe for discovery. The Spanish explorer, Hernan Cortes, first tried a drink made with cocoa that he described in his journals in 1519 as ‘a divine drink that fights fatigue’. He would go on to bring back the substance, along with the tools used to refine the making process of the drink and presented it to the Spanish Royal Court. It’s generally accepted that cocoa experienced its first wave of popularity in Europe in 1550 – with July 7th being the most agreed-upon date. In Britain, the first ‘chocolate drinking house’ was opened in London in 1657. In terms of the modern solid chocolate that many of us identify with, this method of consuming cocoa didn’t come about until 1847 – almost 300 years after chocolate’s introduction into European society. Joseph Fry, an English confectionary manufacturer, who by mixing cocoa powder with sugar, created a paste that could be moulded into a ‘chocolate bar’ for easy consumption. His factory went on to mass-produce the result, which instantly became popular. Today of course, chocolate is a major snacking food and promotes an industry that is able to produce a vast range of different types, colours and flavourings of chocolate. From milk to dark chocolate, white chocolate to caramel; no matter a person’s palate, chocolate can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone! Chocolate Is Actually Good For You (In Moderation). Mainly due to the inclusion of varying amounts and types of sugar, modern chocolates are generally seen as ‘unhealthy’ by received wisdom. Like all foods are, it is indeed unhealthy when we have too much of it but in moderation, chocolate actually benefits our health and wellbeing. Here are the reasons why: • A Good Heart – Chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of strokes (by thinning the blood) and even having an inflammatory effect. According to health experts, this is due to a high concentration of a chemical called flavonoids (found in plants), which contribute to the widening and the relaxing of blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. • Protects Arteries – Flavonoids are also a contributor in preventing the harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from oxidising which leads to the furring up of arteries around the body. Nearly half of the makeup of Flavonoids is an element known as stearic acid that stands in the way of LDL from rising and instead, makes room for an increase of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) – good cholesterol – to form. • Brings Cheer – Ever heard anyone say ‘eat chocolate’ when you may have been unhappy? Thanks to the individual smells, textures and of course, the tastes, of chocolates, they can stimulate parts of the brain that make us feel good. An amino acid, known as tryptophan, is present within chocolate and stimulates the production of serotonin – a natural anti-depressant. • Healthy Brains – On a similar theme, chocolate also contains chemicals that have been known to help to keep our brains ticking over healthy. Epicatechin (which is found in the natural cocoa plants that chocolate is produced from) protects the brain from formations of proteins and plagues that have been heavily linked with Alzheimer’s disease. • Coughing Suppresser – Another chemical contained in chocolate is theobromine which has been observed as being capable of suppressing coughing by infiltrating the vagus nerve. This part of our body carries messages from our central nervous system and into the brain; the chemical works to calm the area of our throats that produces the coughing process before it can travel to tell the brain what to do. So for the next time you may be feeling a little blue or are having trouble with a cough – ensure you have some chocolate handy! Succulent Chocolate, From Our Online Deli Store. The vast majority of the products that we retail in our online deli store are often produced by hand in small batches which ensure that each item is bestowed with love and the sufficient care and attention that all fine foods need. Please browse our range of snacking chocolates and hamper packs for further information. If you would like more information on our range of chocolates or any other products in our online deli shop, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. You can call us on 01256 809671 or you can send us an e-mail enquiry by visiting our contact page

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