Friday, 14 October 2011

Chocolate Heaven

Chocolate Week!

Did you know that this week is National Chocolate Week? No, we didn't either, but now that we do know, we'll be celebrating in the best way - by trying out lots and lots of lovely CHOCOLATE!

We like to think that we know a thing or two about chocolate here at the Oakeley Arms, after  achieving many collective decades of consumption, testing and critiquing.....

But what we didn't know a lot about is the history of chocolate, so after some chocolatey inspiration and a bit of research, read on for what we know now!

The lovely stuff has been consumed by humans for over 4,000 years, but originally it was drank rather than made into a food, and in fact, the chocolate we know today would have been nothing like the bitter "cocoa water" that the Mayans and Aztecs would have quaffed.

Cocoa Bean (by Glorgana, Flickr)

When the cacao pod was brought to Britain in the 17th century it was taxed so highly, that only the very rich could afford the fatty, bitter drink that was said to revitalise, refresh and invigorate. It wasn't until the 18th century that a revolutionary process was discovered that separated the cocoa butter from the powder, so creating the first varieties of solid chocolate.

It didn't take long for industry giants to get involved in the chocolate making process, and by the end of the nineteenth century, the British chocolate industry, and indeed the global market was pretty much controlled by the well known chocolate men, George Cadbury, Joseph Rowntree and Joseph Storrs-Fry.

They would have been very proud to know that today, the chocolate industry in the UK is worth a whopping £3.5 billion a year (with the Oakeley Arms contributing just over half of that, haha, just joking, although it does seem that way sometimes!)

But our absolute favourite chocolate here at the Oakeley Arms has to be anything by our local chocolatier Cathryn Cariad Chocolate. Based just up the road, Cathryn makes some of the best chocolates and sweet things we have ever tasted.

They are all home-made and some are so delicious they have been awarded Great Taste Gold Awards. You can find the full range on the website or you can catch Cathryn at the Porthmadog Local Produce Market on the last Saturday of every month (9:30am - 2pm). Mmmmmm, we'll meet you there!!

You can read more about National Chocolate Week and all the chocolatey-events here

Are you a choc-a-holic? What's your favourite chocolate? Or do you have a favourite chocolate recipe? Let us know by commenting below!

by Ambrozjo

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