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chocolate

If there is one thing we love about Christmas – apart from the boozing, snoozing and chilling, it is the excuse to binge on chocolate totally guilt-free. 

While most people enjoy chocolate on a regular basis, we all know a person who is truly obsessed it. Real connoisseur or simple cacao enthusiast, the chocolate lover in your life will be over the moon if you get them one of these presents!  

1. A chocolate fondue kit

Chocolate fondue set, Debenhams, 25 euros

2. A hot chocolate kit

Cocoa Creations, Whittards of Chelsea, 25 euros

3. Some sweet soaps

Box of Chocolate Soaps, Uncommon Goods, 24.23 euros

4. A chocolate workshop

1 Day Chocolate course, The Baking academy of Ireland, 150 euros

5. A dangerous game

Chocolate Russian Roulette Game, Debenhams, 11 euros

6. A membership to a chocolate tasting club

Bean and Goose Tasting Club Membership, from 20 euros

7. A hot chocolate room spray

Chocolate Fragrance Room Spray, by Sensory Decisions, 11.30 euros

8. The ultimate Parisian chocolatier gift box

Hatbox by Nastry, La Maison du Chocolat, 132 euros

9. A book with the best chocolate recipes ever 

'I Want Chocolate!' by Trish Deseine, 15 euros

10. A fun notebook

Chocolate notebook, Amazon, 5 euros

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As children most of us longed for the day that we flew the nest so that we could finally fulfil our dream of eating ice-cream for breakfast (and every other meal for that matter).

Of course, once that day actually came we realised that a diet comprising entirely of sugar and milk wasn't exactly the best idea – but hey, Nutella on toast provided a happy medium.

And while we might feel a little bad about starting out day on a chocolate high, all traces of guilt are usually gone by lunchtime – and rightly so.

According to foodbusinessnew.net, eating chocolate at breakfast time could actually be good thing.

Speaking about the benefits, Liz Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group said: “Simply put, engaging with food is a conduit to engaging with the world.”

“There was a study that recently came out from Syracuse University re-touting the benefits of dark chocolate, specifically on cognitive function — abstract reasoning, memory, focus.”

“The thought was eating chocolate prepares you more for your workday, so what better part to incorporate dark chocolate into your meal than breakfast?”

“The thought was eating chocolate prepares you more for your workday, so what better day part to incorporate dark chocolate into your meal than breakfast?”

And get this – not only is dessert for breakfast not nearly as bad as for us as we were led to believe, but it could actually support weight loss when eaten in conjunction with a balanced diet.

Someone pass us the Coco Pops!

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Don't have room for dinner and dessert? Why not combine the two?

Pastry chefs at Tella Balls Dessert, a Sydney café known for its glorious Nutella-filled creations, have just conjured up the ultimate lasagne-style dish.

Having originally found their niche in indulgent milkshakes, café owners, Aki Daikos and Simon Kappotos, say they enjoy exploring their culinary skills.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Aki said: “We love putting a spin on food and getting experimental in the kitchen, so we thought, why not create a savoury dish, sweet using Nutella.”

Unlike a traditional Italian lasagne, you won't find any pasta or tomatoes in this sweet dish.

Made up of layers of rich chocolate mousse and fresh cream, this decadent tower is served on top of a chocolate biscuit base and paired with lashings of tasty Nutella.

And the paste-esque dishes don't stop there.

'Pastaella' is a fettuccine-inspired style crepe served with milk and white chocolate sauce, and finished with a dollop of the house-made vanilla bean gelato.

“It’s all about great taste. Chocolate and Nutella are food for the soul,” Aki said.

Never a truer word said, Aki. So, who's up for a trip down under?

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Ladies, listen up!

To celebrate the launch of the new Green & Black's Velvet Edition range, the luxurious chocolate makers have teamed up with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin to bring the people of Ireland the ultimate tasting experience.

Pairing two of this year's hottest foodie trends, visitors are invited to enjoy the rich flavours of Green & Black's dark chocolate alongside a selection of cocktails created by a mixologist with Dalcassian Wines & Spirits.

Indulge your senses in the sumptuous flavour combinations of Sea Salt, Salted Caramel and 70 per cent Cocoa while learning a few tips and tricks on how to create the perfect gin cocktail.

Speaking about the events, Mary Moran, Brand Manager for Green & Black’s Ireland said “We are really excited to launch our Green & Black’s Velvet Edition pairing events and think that Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is the perfect partner to help bring them to life.”

“The flavours in the new Green & Black’s range are complimented perfectly by the delicious bespoke cocktails that have been specially created for the events and we can’t wait for everyone to try them.”

The first event will take place at Zozimus bar, Dublin, on Thursday September 28 and tickets are available at eventbrite.ie.

This is a completely free event, though advanced booking is recommenced as spaces are limited.

Not in Dublin? Not to worry, there are three more events taking place across the country in the following weeks:

Gin and chocolate – what's not to love?

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If like us, you're a chocolate lover who's partial to the odd tipple, then oh boy, have we got news for you.

Lidl are about to launch a brand new 'Best of Ireland' range next week, which is set to include one of the most delicious treats we've ever laid eyes on – introducing, the gin and tonic chocolate bar.

The Skelligs chocolate bar will come in three mouth-watering flavours including, Irish Honey, Irish Sea Salt and Gin and Tonic, and honestly, we can't wait to get out hands on all three.

Skelligs, the family run, Kerry-based company with some kind of sixth sense when it comes to flavour combinations, had this to say about their latest creation:

"The fresh lively flavours of this sophisticated tipple are recreated by adding crushed juniper berries and lime zest to our rich dark chocolate. Perfectly acceptable at any time of day.”

We couldn't agree more. 

The range will hit Lidl stores across the country on September 11, costing just €1.99, but be quick – these will surely fly off the shelves.  

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Consider yourself a bit of a chocolate connoisseur? 

Well, it's time to forget everything you thought you knew, because scientists have just discovered a fourth type of chocolate. 

That's right, Swiss chocolatiers, Barry Callebaut, have just invented a totally new taste sensation – and it's unlike anything we've seen before.

With its pink hue and berry-like flavour, this Ruby chocolate is the first new chocolate discovery since white chocolate was introduced to the market in the 1930s.

What's more, Ruby's unique flavour and colouring are completely natural with Barry Callebaut revealing it uses the ruby cocoa bean to give the chocolate its “berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness.”

“Ruby chocolate is very different and clever stuff. It’s refreshing and has a light, creamy texture,” chocolate expert and editor of industry bible Kennedy’s Confection Angus Kennedy told The Sun.

“It tastes so light and fruity you don't really realise you're gobbling up one chocolate the other, so it means consumers will be able to eat more of it than other types of conventional chocolate.”

“Whether this a good or bad thing depends on your point of view,” he added.

Ruby chocolate has been almost a decade on the making and appears the pink stuff is going to be targeted at millenials, with the confectionery company insisting quirky yet authentic nature will attract younger generations.

“It’s natural, it’s colourful, it’s hedonistic, there’s an indulgence aspect to it, but it keeps the authenticity of chocolate,” Barry Callebaut CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique told Bloomberg.

“It has a nice balance that speaks a lot to millennials.”

We have a feeling we'll be seeing this stuff all over our Instagram feed very soon.

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OK, we don't mean to alarm anyone, but Nestle's new range of Walnut Whips are missing one major ingredient.

The confectionery company sparked outrage today as it announced the beloved chocolate treat has lost its signature topping.

The new-look product, simply called 'Whip', is available in three flavours; Delicate Vanilla, Delicious Caramel and Delightful Mint.

Needless to say, people are not happy:

However, all is not lost. 

Fans will be glad to know that this is not the end of the Walnut Whip as we know it.

The beloved treat will still be available, alongside the three new flavours.

According to The Irish Times, Alison Clinton, the brand manager of chocolate classics at Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: “These new products will offer consumers more choice, enabling them to share their favourite products with their family and friends.”

A spokeswoman for Nestlé told the BBC: "Walnut Whip remains on sale alongside our new vanilla, caramel and mint versions.

"This means there is something for consumers wanting to try something new, as well as for long-standing fans of our century-old walnut product."

Crisis averted.

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Whether you suffer from cramps, bloating and/or irritability, the days leading up to your period are no walk in the park, and for many women, chocolate is the go-to remedy when it comes to alleviating those dreaded PMS symptoms.

But, as it turns out, those cravings could all be in your head – or rather put there by clever advertising and cultural exposure.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University at Albany, which looked at the PMS symptoms of 275 women in different parts of the world, those born outside the US were 50 per cent less likely to experience menstrual chocolate craving, compared to women born to US-born parents.

The results found that almost half of all American women surveyed experienced chocolate cravings around the time their period was due, however, this figure fell to just 17 per cent for first -generation immigrants living in the US.

It seems that women who display the strongest cravings for chocolate were more likely to be 'westernised' than those who did not.

Researchers suggest that popular culture could contribute to this pattern as it encourages women to use PMS and pregnancy as a socially and personally acceptable excuse to consume 'taboo' foods.

"PMS chocolate cravings are just one example of this process," said nutritionist Georgios Tzenichristos, according to Metro.co.uk,  "which also serve to highlight our own cultural norms and myths in relation to food, cravings and body image."

But, while we may not be able to use the 'hormone' excuse anymore, we're not sure we're ready to say goodbye to those monthly chocolate binges just yet. 

We won't tell if you don't. 

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Okay, we all want to be healthy and make smart choices when it comes to what we consume, but everyone deserves a treat. 

However, if you're an icecream addict like we are, putting down the spoon and stepping away from the tub can sometimes be harder than expected. 

With only three ingredients, no added sugar or dairy, this vegan ice-cream is the answer to your prayers. 

As if that wasn't enough, it only takes five minutes to make. 

Known as 'nicecream' in the vegan community, this frozen treat is almost too good to be true. 

You're welcome.

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 30g cacao powder
  • 100g dark chocolate chips

Method

1. Place frozen bananas and cacao powder in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles ice-cream.

2. Add the chocolate chips, combine with a spatula, then place in a container and freeze again (or eat straight away).

 

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We've pretty much proved that chocolate makes us happy… but what about smarter?

When we were kids, our mammies would have shot a piece of chocolate away from our grubby little hands and replaced it with a banana… but it turns out that chocolate could be just thing the to give our brains a major boost.

 Chocolate pieces on aluminum foil

According to scientists at the University of L'Aquila in Italy, cocoa has "the potential to counteract cognitive decline and sustain cognitive abilities."

The study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, says that flavanols are really good for our brains, and they're found by the bucket-load in cocoa.

The authors of the study, Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara, found that those who consumed cocoa flavanols had improved memory, and were better able to focus and process visual information.

Chocolate Ice Cream in Sweet Cone

To further that, those who consumed chocolate regularly (which is anything from every five days to three months) had improved attention spans, better verbal fluency and were able to process information at a faster rate.

Not that we needed a reason to eat more chocolate, but let's just saw we won't feel as guilty munching on a Cadbury's Dairy Milk at lunch time.

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Mars Chocolate have recalled a number of popular products across the UK and Ireland due to the possible presence of Salmonella.

The company issued the precautionary recall after it discovered that some of the ingredients used to make it's chocolate bars may have been contaminated.

The following products are effected in Ireland:

Galaxy Counters: Product code: AW99G; Batch codes: 720B1SLO00, 720C1SLO00; Best before date: 13.05.2018

Maltesers Teasers: Product code: AX46E; Batch codes: 7720C1SLO00,720D2SLO00; Best before date: 13.05.2018

A spokesperson for the confectionery company said, “Through our routine testing, we have detected the potential presence of Salmonella from the ingredients used to make our chocolate.”

“As a precaution, we are voluntarily recalling certain GALAXY® Smooth Milk Chocolate bars, GALAXY® MINSTRELS® and GALAXY® COUNTERS® and TEASERS® bars.”

“We are working closely with the relevant food safety authorities and our customers to ensure that the affected products are no longer available for purchase.”

“If you have one of the products listed above, you should not eat it. Please keep the product and contact our Consumer Care team to arrange return and reimbursement.”

Consumers who may have purchased these products are urged to get in touch with customer care at 1890 812 315 or on www.mars.ie/contact.

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Chocolate makes our hearts happy.

Seriously, having a bad day? Chocolate. Stressed out at work? Chocolate. Going through a bad break-up? Chocolate.

So, that's why we're SO delighted to find out that it's actually good for us.

Now, we know that at this stage a lot of studies are claiming that basically every food in the world is good for us, but we're definitely on board with the chocolate findings.

chocolate, cookies, cooking

A new study published in the British Medical Journal: Heart claims that eating chocolate in moderation can have a positive effect on lessening the risk of Atrial Fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia condition.

Currently, 8.8 million people in the EU suffer from it.

So, how does chocolate help the situation? Well, we all know that dark chocolate is good for us, so the question arises with other chocolate goods, such as milk chocolate, white chocolate and everything in between.

Brown Chocolate Cupcake

Tests carried out at the Danish Diet, Cancer and Healthy Study say that cocoa products contain a high contents of flavanols, which are basically antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits.

Studies found that those who consume two to six servings of chocolate a week were at a lower risk of developing Artial Fibrillation.

So, there you have it. Eat more chocolate.

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