Every day’s a feast day, these days, and there aren’t enough days in the year to accommodate all the celebrations to mark some edible product or other. In case you missed it, 7 July was World Chocolate Day.
On this most sacred of food fest days, everyone across the globe was urged to consume as much chocolate as humanly possible. Many were happy to oblige.
It turns out that 7 July marks 467 years since chocolate was introduced to the world. Clearly, it’s time to exploit this product further. And indeed, someone has done just that.
Thanks to the dedication of Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone, you can now snort the dark stuff, rather than just eat it like a normal person. Mr Persoone has created a device called the Coco Loko, which has a trigger mechanism to facilitate the snorting of powdered chocolate, or more precisely, cocoa. All you have to do is point, press a lever, and cocoa powder shoots up your hooter.
You may well snort, but apparently this Coco Loko business has turned into a craze, one that has been sweeping across Europe. Who knew! Turns out, EU clubs are full of people who have eschewed their usual stimulant of choice and turned to powdered raw cocoa to achieve that elusive high. Why did it take 467 years?
The whole point of snorting is to get a rush of endorphins and a widening of blood vessels, thanks to a chemical called epicatechin, found abundantly in cocoa. Widened blood vessels means more oxygen, and a superpower that enables you to dance until dawn. Apparently. AYCE suspects that it might be much nicer just to sit quietly in a corner with a jumbo-sized bar of high-cocoa chocolate, but perhaps that’s too simple and non-lucrative.
The shooter costs £30, and has become a successful international export. Naturally, Mr Persoone insists the practice is safe. Naturally, the medics are saying it might not be, because it has never been tested. They have expressed ‘concerns.’ The US Food and Drug Administration has called for an investigation. But then, the FDA also said that it didn’t know if it had the authority to regulate snortable chocolate. “This suspect product has no clear health value,” said someone from the US Senate, with no clear idea of what any of it is about.
After all that chocolate has been gorged and snorted, it’s time to deal with the fallout.
Theresa May has been told, by the chairman of the campaign group Action on Sugar, Professor Graham MacGregor, that she must tackle obesity ‘without delay’. AYCE presumes that this is nothing personal, and that the Prof is referring to the parlous state of the nation’s waistline.
Anyway, Mrs May started well (you could say) by trimming her predecessor David Cameron’s obesity plan from 37 pages to 13. Good start, Theresa. She then cut all mention of tackling childhood obesity from the Queen’s speech. That’s quite a bit of weight removed already, without actually doing anything.
At least there is one area of health where real progress has been made. Cancer Research has just published some good news – the number of people smoking in Britain has fallen by 1.9 million since the smoking ban was introduced in England in 2007. Most surprising of all is that the age group with the biggest drop is 16-24 year olds, down from 26% in 2007 to 17% in 2016.
Part of this successful outcome is the fact that smoking is no longer considered cool. Instead, it looks more like what it actually is, a sign of weakness. Once, adolescents congregated in shopping precincts, and smoking openly was the equivalent of giving the finger to anyone who disapproved.
This seismic shift in perception could be applied to sugar and sugary products, major causes of obesity and chronic disease. AYCE hates to be a killjoy, but feels it incumbent upon itself to point out that the Bake Off is now a national treasure, and that’s precisely the problem. We celebrate sugar, and cooking with vast quantities of it. Imagine the Smoke-Off, where we get all dewy-eyed watching tobacco rolling competitions, and encourage families to smoke together to strengthen bonds.
It might help reduce obesity, mind. Don’t tell Theresa.